An Open Letter to City Moms Blog Network
Dear City Moms Blog Network, Last night as I laid in bed, scrolling through Facebook, the Fort Worth Moms Blog post entitled "Please Don’t Call Classmates 'Friends'" came up in my feed. I clicked the link and as I read the words on my screen, I became shocked and angered as I continued down the post.
The author, Heidi, a woman who works in ed tech and writes recipes and other such on the Fort Worth Moms Blog, took her opinion piece from an ranting post on a teacher's use of the word "friends" to a message of support for bias, segregation, and prejudice. It was the initial parenting lesson for "you can't sit with us."
While the piece starts by slamming teachers who call their students "friends" based on the premise of choosing healthy friendships, it continues by condoning the disassociation and separation of classmates based on socio-economic and cultural differences. The words "be kind" were muted by the parental call to teach elementary school children to judge others and to make friends with "the right kind".
"One of the more challenging parts of being a parent, I find, is teaching your children the right kind of people with whom to interact."
I was not only appalled at the mere fact the Fort Worth Mom's Blog would post such a piece, but saddened that this attitude was supported by the publishers.
"School places a bunch of children together, each with their own personalities, strengths, and struggles. They come from different homes, different financial situations, and different cultures. They are a group of children similar in age only. While in an ideal world these groups of children would get along and become good friends, that’s just not how it works."
Today, in our country, racism, prejudice, and bias are ever present. We are not born prejudiced; it is a learned behavior. A behavior that Heidi and the Fort Worth Moms Blog clearly support teaching. To suggest children cannot naturally get along if they come from different backgrounds is ridiculous. It is a social construct (Sociology 101), one that YOU are constructing, and one that can be destroyed through diversity and inclusion education. I highly suggest you take steps to educate yourself before your next judgemental post.
Two weeks ago, an 8-year-old little boy was hung by other kids because he was of a "different culture."
In June, 12-year-old Mallory Grossman committed suicide because other kids said she wasn't "the right kind" and bullied her.
Today, a sister city of the Cities Mom Blog publishes an opinion piece with the intent to have other moms across our community rally around her thoughts shaming teachers for teaching inclusion, kindness, and tolerance.
What Heidi and the Fort Worth Moms Blog don't understand is that while you don't have to be friends with everyone, your teacher does. Your teacher has to be a friend and advocate for +/- 25 children despite their behavior, race, socio-economic status, or cultural background. She or he understands that each child's home is not the same and some are fighting battles that no child should have to endure, such as an abusive home or a sick parent. Your teacher has to handle the emotions and experiences of each individual child in her class with love and acceptance.
Your teacher has to teach a diverse class equally, without bias for seven or more hours and day, five days a week. Not only are teachers responsible for reading, writing, and arithmetic, they are teaching appropriate social behavior - a construct you really only learn by doing, and a lesson that never ends. They will purposely put your child with the person they least get along with so they learn how to work together and overcome differences. For seven hours or more, your teacher has to be an example to her entire class of how to be a friend, how to be kind to others, and most importantly, how to lead.
If by calling the entire class "friend" so each child feels included despite their race, socio-economic status, or cultural background, then you should be supportive of that and not condemn their efforts. By teaching your child to be a friend to all, not just the "right kind", they are teaching another child what it means to have a friend, and will possibly make a great difference in both children's lives.
Schools across our nation have begun installing Buddy Benches for when a child doesn't have a friend to play with in hopes that someone will be their friend. This wouldn't be necessary if parents didn't teach their children to make friends with "the right kind."
Today's employers are looking for team players. Your children, from now until they graduate from college, will be learning teamwork and how to work with others. Lessons and curriculum are based around this demand by the workforce, starting as early as kindergarten and continuing through college and doctoral programs. All that is the responsibility of teachers; one would hope that parents would help them out.
I would ask the City Moms Blog and Fort Worth Moms Blog review and edit posts such as these in the future. With a platform as large as the City Mom Blogs Network has, it is your responsibility to have a voice for all and speak out against parenting techniques that encourage bullying, biases, and prejudice.
And Heidi, maybe you wouldn't be so socially anxious (as you blogged about here) if you stopped judging others, not be concerned with choosing "the right kind" of friends, and learned how to be friends with everyone.