On the whole, I’m a good person.

Really, I am.

I recycle, I pay it forward, and I practice random acts of kindness. I smile at strangers, hold doors open for people, and even let you merge ahead of me on the highway. I teach my kids — my “Fruit Loops,” as I call them — to say please and thank you and refer to grown ups as “Mrs.” or “Mr.” I’ve put children in time out so fast their heads have spun.


I'm also a responsible citizen. I pay attention to local politics, I vote in the primaries (midterm AND presidential) — I even show up to local zoning board meetings. I believe in civic duty and though I mostly ran for PTA president because I wanted the gavel, I also did it because I believe that as a parent, it’s my job to have a voice on issues like budgets and education.

My point? I’m doing the best I can to be a good human and raise humans who aren’t monsters. And since I've got that under control, I don’t need you or anyone else, to help me decide what my kids learn about sex, religion, and politics. I’m doing a pretty good job on my own, thank you very much.

Recently, Fruit Loop #2 was subjected to inappropriate, egregious discussions related to the underbelly of our society.

During the course of several weeks in Fruit Loop #2’s religion class, her teacher felt it necessary and appropriate to discuss topics that, frankly, even I can’t fully wrap my brain around at the age of 41.

Sex. Condoms. ISIS. Beheadings. Donald Trump coming to “save us all.” Every week, Fruit Loop #2 would come out of class bewildered and scared, with questions that made me want to stop driving us home and hold her. Her hazel eyes asked me if I’d miss her after ISIS beheaded her for standing firm in her belief in God.

Let that sink in: My daughter was told she should be brave if she was going to be beheaded in the name of Christ. No child needs to be told they can become a martyr if ISIS comes knocking.

To say that I was livid is an understatement. I emailed. I complained. I worked with other parents to make sure our children had a safe, kind environment in which to learn and grow. I had a nasty, downright dirty, face-to-face argument with the teacher about spreading hate, fear, and untruths to impressionable children. I was called “low” and “ugly” for speaking up, and I was told that I was doing a disservice to my child by sheltering her from the horrors of the world.

Humans are universal in two ways: Everyone poops and everyone has an opinion.

I get it. We are bombarded with soundbites, email blasts, and memes that make our eyes roll every single day. On the world stage, people who are supposed to be grown-ups are acting like moody 5-year-olds on a playground. It’s insipid and it’s frustrating, to say the least, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deathly afraid for the future.

But I am making a concerted effort to wade through these sociopolitical minefields to truly understand the issues and decide when, how, and to what extent I want to explain them to my children.

What I am NOT doing is shoving my opinions down the throats of other people’s kids and giving them nightmares about men and machetes. And while my husband and I do have spirited debates at the kitchen table, we spend a lot of time helping the Fruit Loops understand the complicated processes that govern our world. We have open discussions and try to answer their questions as best as we can. We’re doing what we can to help our children learn from the mistakes our country is so obviously making right now.

And it's because we’re making that effort that it becomes so frustrating when other adults assume it’s their right or responsibility to teach their opinions to our kids.

Parents, it’s possible to help your kids understand the world without making them afraid of it.

Talk to them. Educate them. Help them understand. Teach them empathy for marginalized people and explain how they can act to make the world a better place. Empower them. Take them with you when you vote and let them pull the lever. Do what you can to give them the tools to become civic-minded adults who focus on solutions rather than hate.

And if you decide to reject all that and scare the wits out of your children instead, that's your business. But don't push your agenda on my kids.

This story originally appeared on Keeper of the Fruit Loops and is reprinted here with permission.

True

It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

Keep Reading Show less

Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas teaches you how to pee.

A pelvic floor doctor from Boston, Massachusetts, has caused a stir by explaining that something we all thought was good for our health can cause real problems. In a video that has more than 5.8 million views on TikTok, Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas says we shouldn’t go pee “just in case.”

How could this be? The moment we all learned to control our bladders we were also taught to pee before going on a car trip, sitting down to watch a movie or playing sports.

The doctor posted the video as a response to TikTok user Sidneyraz, who made a video urging people to go to the bathroom whenever they get the chance. Sidneyraz is known for posting videos about things he didn’t learn until his 30s. "If you think to yourself, 'I don't have to go,' go." SidneyRaz says in the video. It sounds like common sense but evidently, he was totally wrong, just like the rest of humanity.

Keep Reading Show less

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

True

The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

Keep Reading Show less

A burst of creativity and some serendipity changed the course of her life.

"If Found Please Read" author and creator Madison White started her writing career with 50 handwritten journals and a plan to sneak them into book stores across the nation. She saved about $2,000 from her waitressing job and decided to cross the country on a Greyhound bus on her self-proclaimed book tour. What she didn't realize was that her life would change before this adventure ever really started.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

The Emperor of the Seas.

Imagine retiring early and spending the rest of your life on a cruise ship visiting exotic locations, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food. It sounds fantastic, but surely it’s a billionaire’s fantasy, right?

Not according to Angelyn Burk, 53, and her husband Richard. They’re living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $44 a night each. The Burks have called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and have no plans to go back to their lives as landlubbers. Angelyn took her first cruise in 1992 and it changed her goals in life forever.

“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. But a few years back, Angelyn crunched the numbers and realized they could start much sooner than expected.

Keep Reading Show less