The other day the national news reported that a private school in New York City presented an 18-page list of words that are no longer acceptable in their school. Of course, there were also replacement words included in the listing. Among the no longer acceptable words were gender-specific words like MOTHER, FATHER, SON, DAUGHTER, GRANDFATHER, GRANDMOTHER, HUSBAND, AND WIFE. They are to be replaced by words like Adults, Folks, Older Folks, and Mature People.
I was immediately offended. The question is what am I willing to do about it? As an older adult, I am a representative of half of the words no longer acceptable and I’m proud to have achieved that status. The trip to achieving these titles has been long and sometimes difficult. And I believe the world should know and recognize the effort necessary to reach these milestones. Unfortunately, I, like millions of other people in this country, do not have a loud voice or have a position that allows me to be heard on a large platform. Most of the time that was ok with me but not this time.
I remember when we first got married. We were presented to those that attended the wedding as Mr. and Mrs. Phil-in LaBlank. Then after a while, we began to have children. As they went to school, we were introduced as Junior LaBank’s parents. Over the years Junior followed the same path and now we are more than just parents. We are Grandparents and soon maybe Great Grandparents. The titles seem to me to be reasonably respectful and rewarding.
I will not likely ever be politically correct despite what those in power or the younger generation say. They seem not to understand that our number one goal in life was to grow up to be better parents than my father and mother. That included much more making more money than they did. It means having a nicer home. But it also means treating our children differently. Grandma always said, “you catch more flies with honey than you do with a stick.” To us, that translated into achieving family discipline using love first. And we were determined to give it a try.
The real objective was to marry and have children. Marriage was, and is, defined as a man and woman. We also understood that the Bible and attending church plays a significant role in family development. These were important elements in setting the tone for our lives.
What is more important for us today is that we earned the right to be called a husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, man, and woman. These are not arbitrary titles. They are the rights gained over time through effort, dedication, and time with a commitment to our family. These titles can’t just be brushed aside because some unknowing individuals or small groups of individuals think such titles are offensive.
The problem is theirs not ours.
The message they seem to be sending is that our values do not matter. They’re wrong! And it’s past the time to point that out. The good news is that in this country they have the right to send the message. The better news is we have the equal right to accept or reject that message. And I, for one, find the message unacceptable.
One lone voice is not enough. It will take a choir. A choir that is willing to repeat the message again and again. I am proud to have these titles and am prepared to yell from the mountain top to show that pride……..ARE YOU?