We Need to Stop Allowing Political Correctness to Steal Our Hope and Joy
We Need to Stop Allowing Political Correctness to Steal Our Hope and Joy
I’ve written about my family, and my journey through domestic violence to have my oldest son, find my wonderful husband, and to have my two other children. I sometimes think that in those struggles I forget to write about the joy God put into my heart that I refused to allow the hardships or people to steal from me. Joy is something I try to pass on to my children, but it is hard to do that on the days when my daughter (who is potty training) has accident after accident, my middle child (a son who is very, very flighty, but oh so very sweet) doesn’t seem to hear anything I say, and my oldest son (an 8 year old who thinks he is a man who doesn’t need his mommy) mouths off to me forcing me to punish him because I simply won’t tolerate a disrespectful child. Even on those day, I try to instill in them a little bit of the joy that God has given to me.
A few weeks ago the teachers sent home a letter instructing parents that in lieu of sending gifts for teachers we were to donate to a charity they had selected. I know the particular charity they chose this year does do good work. However, I was still upset because I immediately felt that these educators were unknowingly robbing the kids of the blessings of giving. Kids don’t care about their parents coldly, quickly writing a check to what is a faceless charity to them. They enjoy hunting down or making the perfect gift or card for their teachers. As I told my children about the letter, I could see the lights going out in their eyes because we had spent weeks talking about the perfect gifts.Sure, these individuals responsible for decision making considered the less fortunate when they settled on the donation-in-lieu-of-gift idea. However, were they considering the children they are tasked with educating every day? Are we so focused on “the less fortunate” or “great charities” that we don’t notice the sad looks on the faces surrounding us? Have we become so consumed with helping those we deem worthy that we have forgotten about the joy of those who are blessed, average, or above average? I hope not, but this letter has truly made me doubt that.
In that moment of watching the clear disappointment on the small faces of my children from yet another stupid mandate passed down by the schools, I was reminded of a story I heard from an older lady who taught Bible study in one of the small towns surrounding Camp Lejeune, my husband’s last duty station before separating from the Marine Corps. I was a young Marine wife, and I was telling Miss Dolly about a dinner party I had had when she interrupted me to tell me that I had robbed the other women who came to my home of their blessing. I didn’t know what she meant so she told me that when people do things for us it doesn’t just bless us. It blesses them, and it helps them to keep their own joy and pass it on to others.
As I stood there watching my children suffer, I realized that I truly didn’t care so much about the chosen charity, but I do care about teaching my children about blessings and joy. I wasn’t about to allow yet another silly, politically correct, fairness driven idea to rob my children of their blessing of giving. The next day, I went into the school and had a conversation with the principal.
She assured me that she agreed with me, and she shared with me that students were still permitted to bring gifts. She also shared with me that a few years ago the teachers had been forced to vote on a rule that wouldn’t have permitted them to accept any gifts from students or parents – meaning that when a child brought in even a card the teachers would be unable to take it and would have to send it back home with the student.
Can you imagine the look on that child’s face? How utterly disappointed and destroyed that little boy or girl would have been? Thankfully, teachers had enough sense to tell the person who brought the idea up (someone worried about other students who were financially unable to send a gift in feeling badly) to take a hike, and voted the idea down.
I know that we worry about that child who can’t buy a gift for their teacher because their parents just don’t have the money feeling badly while watching the other kids bringing gifts. I was that child, though, and I remember making cards for teachers. My second grade teacher accepted my Christmas card that year with so much grace. I remember her smiling when she read my misspelled words and looked at my horrible drawings because she knew my card was all I could give, and it touched her. I’m sure the teacups and gift cards were so much more impressive, but my card mattered, too, and her kindness and loving attitude towards it has never left me. That was over 20 years ago, and I still remember her hugging and thanking me just like she hugged and thanked all of the students who had brought pretty gifts in. On that day she taught me so much about grace, joy, and being a blessing to someone else.
If you look around you I’m sure you will see at least one miserable American this Christmas season. American children are increasingly unhappy, and know nothing about joy and blessing others around them. We live in a nation that is incredibly blessed, and yet we are still so unjoyful. Why is that? I would like to assert that we have ruined everything for our children by giving them all that they want and teaching them nothing about doing without or giving back.Americans are wealthier, more blessed, and more secure now than we ever have been. So, if this is the case, why are so many Americans – including American children – so unhappy? I know we use ‘happy’ and ‘joy’ interchangeably, and I know they aren’t the same thing, but Americans are missing both, and some would wonder why when we are so blessed. Our children suffer from the same unhappiness as our adults. Could it be these silly policies that are supposed to be designed to improve our lives are truly making us unhappier?
That is why this year my family donated to charities that mattered to us, and we also gave gifts to my kids’ teachers. In fact, we made a gift for almost every teacher they come in contact with: classroom teachers, specials teachers, principal, and office administrators. We made monetary donations to the Red Kettle, we made infinity scarves, sugar scrubs, and Christmas ornaments. I stood back and let my children donate their time and money, and I watched them become far more excited about the gifts they were giving than the ones they would be receiving, and do you know what has happened? That joy that I was so worried about being stolen by the politically correct whiners and the cruel world has only increased.
I am in no way discouraging giving. I am merely asking Americans to stop falling for the emotional cry that often disguises political correctness. I am asking you to not allow another generation of American children to be turned into indoctrinated robots who, although they have been told to be gracious and considerate their whole lives, are selfish, inconsiderate, miserable jerks who have no joy. I’m asking you to donate your money to the charities that you support, teach your children to be generous instead of allowing a government entity to do it for you, and to give the gifts even when political correctness demands you do differently. Simply put: I’m asking you not to rob your children of their joy or of their blessings.
I’m asking you to ensure that you are instilling a truly joyful heart in your children. Don’t allow the world, the politically correct ninnies, or the crazed terrorists banging at the door to discourage you or steal your joy, and don’t give up hope. We should never stop fighting for a joy-filled future for our children. President Reagan spoke frequently about a shining city upon a hill, but we can’t be that tall, proud city, that beacon of hope to all who dream of America and freedom from tyranny and oppression, if we allow our joy to be stolen from us.