Our old house was in the Stanton Park neighborhood of DC a few blocks from Union Station and the Capitol building. Stanton Park is a wonderful neighborhood full of staffers and various association and think tank workers. Most days you’ll find dogs and their owners romping about. The playground fills to capacity on warm days. It represents the best of city living, getting out, meeting people, hanging with friends.
The proximity to the Mall and public transportation meant that it was often a staging ground and meeting point for groups ready to march on the greatest public space in the nation. It’s fascinating to watch events like the protestors gathering for the World Bank meetings. The uniformity of the noncomformists is always good for a chuckle.
One day I was out walking the dog with E in the stroller in front of me and I spied large crowds of bland suburban white women and children heading towards buses ringing the park. The various Choose Life and Murder signs were dragging on the ground by the Jesus pre-teens. Two women were talking animatedly while a swarm of 10-12 kids ran ahead, pushing, shoving, and yelling along the sidewalk. A couple of the kids darted into the intersection against the greenlight as the Moms kept chattering away. The car had to brake to avoid them. Finally one of the Moms looked up to yell at the kid to come back. There were kids everywhere.
It struck me how forcefully these parents are interjecting their children into this debate. I’m pro-choice but certainly would encourage families to put children up for adoption if they find themselves unable to care for them. I wondered though how many of these people would preach against my parenting and starting a family. Where will I go on these topics when E comes to me. How do you guide a child to make his own decision but also convey your own moral code? E’s already attended a Pride Fair and various hippie causes so choices have been made. Bottom line is I do want a free thinker. I have family members who fall back on the “It’s their decision.” When it comes to raising their kids. I want it to be their decision but I also want them to know why they’ve made the decision and how they got there. Yeesh, it is much easier to simply tell a kid what he should think.