My daughter's teacher brought her political agenda to the classroom. Here's what I did.

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.

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family