Friday, January 13, 2017

Year 7: Week 18- Hope And Change In 8th Grade Band

We were having fun. The kids sounded good in 8th grade band I think that they knew that they were making progress. I was able to stay complimentary and we were getting some good work done.

It was time for announcements, so I went into explaining their schedule for their upcoming music festival. After I was done talking through the details, one of the students raised his hand and asked, “Are parents going to come?” I explained that they were invited to come to the performance part of the festival.

“SIGH,” he responded.

“What’s the problem?”

“Well, my moms always come and video record me on their phones and it’s really annoying.”

“Well, don’t worry, I’ll make sure that both of your moms can get up this close [waving my hand in front of his face].”

“I just have too many moms. I WANT A DAD!! [laughing].”

Without missing a beat, the entire class let out some relaxed laughter, interpreting his complaint as the sarcastic whining that it was intended to be. Then another student chimed in, “Why don’t you take one of David’s dads, you can do a switch and then you can both have a mom and a dad!” “That’s perfect!” the first student exclaimed. The class laughed some more and we got back to work.

This is part of the world that we are living in: teenagers in a room joking about same-sex parents. The joke had no homophobia and the laughter was not mean, but supportive and joyous. There was no hint of shame when he talked about his moms, and no sense of shock or surprise from the other students.

The idea of same-sex parents isn’t something they need to learn to tolerate or learn to accept. This is just a normal part of their life. For me this was a joyful moment but it was also mind-blowing. I remember all of the homophobic jokes when I was a teenager and its incredible how much has changed. Yes, not every group of teenagers is like this. There are many who still openly make homophobic jokes, teenagers and adults, but we can find the best of us in our teenagers and that gives me hope.

As a school, I believe that we as faculty members can take some credit for creating this feeling of inclusion and acceptance.  However, our work would be for naught without the values our students learn from their families and the tremendous progress our country has made as a whole.

Hope and change persists.

It can get dark out there, but look to our kids, you will find the light.

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