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Beyond Fundamentalism: My Kids Know Stuff I Don't

By Incongruous Circumspection ~

I know. Shocking.

Actually, it's not really that big a deal. As a child of a fundamentalist and crazy Mama, my brain told me she knew everything about me because she wielded such heavy-handed power and control. If I was fifty states away from her, I would still feel as if her watchful eye was hovering above me, waiting for me to screw up, just to give her the chance to bring that boar-bristle, hardwood brush down on my head (thankfully cushioned by my wavy and thick locks).

But she never did. I kicked my own arse by telling her about all my infractions when I would get home. She didn't even have to ask. I just did it. It felt cleansing. Like admitting all your impure thoughts about ice cream during lent, to a priest.

So, naturally, I thought that all parents of all children kept track of everything their kids did and learned. I know now that most of those fundamentalist parents lived in a state of denial, while their kids hid as much as they could from them. I was just an idiot outlier.

I began thinking about this while listening to my six kids and a few neighbor kids, sitting in the dining room, eating gourmet sandwiches that cost me too much, discussing what Star Wars characters they would be after lunch.

I never saw Star Wars, except for the first old one in 10th grade. I liked it a bit, but only because my 10th grade English teacher was so freaking hot. She had mid-back length blonde hair, perfect skin, tightly wrapped around her beautifully shaped cheek bones, the bluest eyes I ever laid my own on, hands that were as delicate as a floating snowflake around Christmas, and a voice that sang like a swallow on a sunny day. After graduating from her class and failing to capture her heart so she would leave her new husband for me, I lost interest in the series.

I saw the first one again a few months ago and laughed at it the whole way through. They tried so hard to take themselves seriously and failed so miserably at it. The special effects are atrocious and the story line, completely unbelievable. I got up from the couch and threw the remote at the television, a bad taste in my mouth.

I'd been duped. Grown men wept when new Star Wars movies came out. They would get on their knees in my office and implore me with Shakespearean prose, begging me to reconsider my interests and succumb to the inevitable fact that Star Wars was the best thing known to mankind.

All lies.

Frederic (8) made sure that the boys were the good Star characters and the girls were the bad guys. Apparently Laura (9) cut a deal, Fred allowing her to be Chewbacca who is or isn't good - I'm not sure. As they sat there and went through character after character, discussing the decency of each, I became more acutely aware of my ignorance.

But guess what? I'm okay with that. Not because I am completely disinterested in the subject, but simply because I don't want my kids to be me. I want them to be who they are and find the unique person they believe themselves to be. And Star Wars lovers or not, I'm going to stand behind them - even if I have to bail them out of jail a few times on their way there.