Talk With Your Kids; You May Be Surprised What They Absorb

Posted on 24/07/2016

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So, something happened the other day that literally stopped me in my tracks. First because I was like “Holy fuck, I’ve gotta be careful what I say to my kids. Then it was because “My son is all kinds of awesome”. My eldest boy, John is in year 6, the last year of primary, or grade school. I’ve always been very open about the types of things I discuss with him, and I’ve always let him know he can come to me with any kind of question. As a result, even though he can be a painfully annoying little shit, I’m still kind of proud of the young man he’s growing into. The other day he came to me with two pieces of cardboard and asked me to read it. He also handed me a sheet of paper.

It was a speech he had written. Normally I help him with these, but this was the first one he has done completely on his own. In fact we didn’t even know he was writing it. It’s for a public speaking thing at school, and it’s voluntary. The sheet of paper contained a set of criteria and list of topics to choose from, including the Holy Spirt, should kids watch PG movies in class, being nice to people and this, “All you Have To do Is Push The Button”.

I read the sheet of paper first and asked him which topic he chose. He told me and I was all like “what the fuck, how the hell are you going to come up with something to fit this?” 

“Read the cardboard dad. I already did. I just haven’t cut the cards out yet.” Yes, he actually typed it up in Word into text boxes so he could cut them out into palm cards.

So, if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to reproduce his speech here. It’s a bit religious, but he goes to a catholic school, so it’s to be expected.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PUSH THE BUTTON

by

John. Dimech – O’Connell

Push the button, pushing buttons, you push my buttons. These are all different ways of saying the same thing. But what is it we are trying to say when we say it ? Most people would say that it means annoying somebody, I mean really, really annoying them. To upset them or make them angry. In fact, the MacMillan dictionary defines the phrase as follows: “To deliberately say something in order to make someone angry or upset.”

However, the Cambridge dictionary defines it this way: ” To do exactly what is necessary to get the result you want.” It’s a remarkably similar definition to that of “activism” which the Cambridge dictionary defines as: “The use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one.”

This is the definition I would like to focus on today, specifically in relation to social justice and activism.

The world today has become accustomed to the status quo, because, well, that’s the way things have always been. When we want things we don’t already have, we get stuck in a cycle of saying: “It’s too hard, somebody else will do it, I’m just one person, what can I do ?”

Just ask yourselves though, where would we be as a society and world community if everybody gave in to this sense of apathy ?

What if the brave women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who fought for the right of women to vote for the governments that represented them had decided it was too hard and instead stayed home, cleaned the house and had babies ? It’s hard to imagine isn’t it ? Instead, these women, called suffragettes, took part in protests, got arrested, went on hunger strikes and were force fed. All for something they believed in. Because they did these things, women can vote, run for office, and as a result, lead governments around the world.

What if Martin Luther King Jr and people like him thought it would be too much work to fight for civil rights ? If they had decided they were okay with not being allowed to drink from the same bubblers as white people, that it was perfectly fine that they had to give up their seat on a bus to a white person, that it was right and proper that their kids had to go to school seperate from white kids ? They decided it was not okay and fought hard for these rights. They too were arrested and jailed. In some cases, they were killed by those fighting equally hard against change. Now the U.S. has an African American president many say is one of the best and most effective Presidents in decades.

What if Jesus had come to the conclusion that he would ignore his Father in heaven, and just stay an ordinary carpenter in an out of the way spot in the middle of nowhere ? The world today would be different, very different. But Jesus fought the fight he had been sent here for. To challenge wrong ideas, to make the world a better place and our lives happier and to bring people to God. He too fought in his way. He too suffered and He too was killed.

Fighting for social justice is always hard, it’s never fun. We’d rather put up with things as they are because it’s easier and more convenient. But I challenge you, if there’s something you think needs to change to make the world a better place, fight for it. All you have to do is push the button.Go ahead, push somebody’s, anybody’s buttons. I DARE YOU !

So what I really want to say is this. Talk to your kids about anything and everything. Don’t shy away from tough questions. Our kids listen to us. One day, like an eleven year old Aussie boy, your kid may be able to write a speech using information they remember from talking with you.

Oh, before I go, bubblers are what we call water fountains here in Australia.

See you the other side folks.

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