“Don’t wait too long Donny, your dad is a fickle man; he could change his mind at any moment.
“I know Mom, believe me, I know.”
It took a few days for Donny to pack for the cold cold weather he would have to endure, to find someone to care for his very needy dogs (five Dobermans), and mostly to muster up the courage to visit the old man in his old house, with his old-school set-in-his ways conservative viewpoints.
He had come out to the world years ago, but facing his father with the truth of who he was had proven more difficult for Donny; impossible really as he could think of no one more conservative or more judgmental than his father.
But last week the unexpected call had come, translated into a herky jerky message on his phone that had said something about how time had taught his dad a few hard lessons, had opened up a few locked doors; the cryptic words only becoming clear when Donny finally walked into his Dad’s frozen cabin to see him cuddled up on the couch with someone who could only be described, by the looks of things, as a boyfriend.
“Stand up straight!” “Straighten up!” “Stay in line!” “You’re out of line!” “Toe the line!” “Make a straight line.” “Line up single file.” “Don’t cross the line!” Criminy, these poor little dominoes, trying their best to act right…to be right, all based on what we tell them: What we think they should think. What we think they should do. What we think is important. What we think about God, gods, religions, churches, other people, the food they eat, the clothes they wear. How we think they should keep their rooms, how lucky we think they are, how grateful we think they should be, how much and what kinds of foods we think they should eat. As if that’s not enough we tell them how to bathe, how and when and where they can and can touch various parts of their bodies (noses, lips, their nether regions). And because there is always more: how to sneeze into the crooks of their little elbows, how to wipe, and how not to get hurt. These viewpoints we impart are natural, unavoidable, even. And even when we get it wrong, it is with pretty good intentions: we want our kids to go out into the world prepared, not pampered. We are meant to be their guidance counselors, not their buddies (that can come later). But what about when we impart opinions to them as fact…like teaching a child that homosexuality is sinful, unacceptable, shameful? And what about when these viewpoints lead to a death, a suicide? That’s when toeing the line and being “straight” is not in the best interest of a child. That’s when the near-perfectly aligned dominoes need to fall, each one hitting the next and the next and the next until the hatred and judgement is eradicated. I pray my little dominoes will live to see and be a part of this long overdue revolution!