The Happy Neighbors | Giftie Etcetera: The Happy Neighbors

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Happy Neighbors

My sister has an openly gay couple that have moved next door to her. One guy is an interior decorator and one is a gardener, so their lawn is beautiful and they work on it all the time. Her kids have taken to going over and visiting. At first, my sister constantly fussed at the kids for disturbing the neighbors, but they pointed out that they love kids, are unlikely to have their own, and that Kali and Hunter actually love digging in the dirt and planting flowers, so they are welcome anytime. Now they go over there for a little while most afternoons.

Hunter told me that the men live together, "without a wife or mom or anything." (Imagine big, shocked...but not judgmental because he's too young to realize how to judge...eyes.)

I like the way my sister is handling the situation, to some extent. She is letting the kids play, and honestly answering their questions about the gay couple as the questions arise. We call the guys the "happy couple," because we don't want Hunter to pick up the word "gay" and use it as an insult instead of a simple description. At least he probably hasn't heard the word "happy" used as a derogatory word, so I get the idea and play along.

But I think that as Ander starts to talk and understand about married people, I will go further. Is it really enough that my sister is teaching the kids tolerance? Probably for her, it is, but I want to go further and teach Ander to respect such relationships. It's important that Ander understand that these guys are committed, just as Mommy and Daddy are, and that society doesn't let them marry, and that Mommy at least thinks that is wrong. It's important that if he hears the word gay used in a derogatory way, he learns to stand up and defend people who aren't there to defend themselves. It's important that he go beyond mere tolerance to acceptance and respect.

So that's what I learned this week from the happy couple.

Etcetera.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It's important that Ander understand that these guys are committed, just as Mommy and Daddy are, and that society doesn't let them marry, and that Mommy at least thinks that is wrong. It's important that if he hears the word gay used in a derogatory way, he learns to stand up and defend people who aren't there to defend themselves. It's important that he go beyond mere tolerance to acceptance and respect."

Amen to that!!!

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

Wow, I sound so smart when I am quoted. ;)

Stacie said...

I have an opinion (imagine that). I understand what you are saying about teaching tolerance and such, but I also think that H and K are too young to comprehend what you are trying to say. It is almost the equivalent of trying to sit a child down and tell them about sex. The thing about "that age that they are" is when you turn them on to what is perceived as a "mean" word, they are highly likely to use it inappropriately and at inappropriate times. So, I like Wendy's approach. Brendan understands what gay means, but I would NEVER try to explain it to Destiny...I guess it really all depends on the kid.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

And when Brendan comes out of the closet, he's moving in with Nanny, right? ;)

Stacie said...

See, I was gonna say that....but I knew you would pick up on the thought without me having to! hahaahaha