I admit it. I probably let my kids watch too much Disney Channel. But last week, I asked them to stop watching “Good Luck, Charlie.”
You may have heard that Disney will be or already has introduced its first gay coulpe on this show. Apparently one of Charlie’s friends will have lesbian parents.
I’m probably going to get slammed for telling them that by those who read no farther. But hear me out. I am Catholic, as is my family. I also happen to have a number of gay friends. I even know a lesbian couple with two adopted sons, one of the partners I met at a high school Catholic youth camp years ago. I love every one of my gay friends for who they are. Each of them is beautiful.
I don’t know how I feel about gay marriage, quite frankly. I’m torn between my belief that marriage is a “life giving” commitment consecrated by God, and my genuine desire to see people I care about be cared about. I think of most of my gay friends as I was when I was single: longing for lasting love in such a way that I too sinned against God by entering sexual relationships that could not be “life giving.” I’ve come to believe I can love and pray for my gay friends with God’s blessing. I may not feel comfortable with gay marriage, but I cannot judge them. I do not walk their path.
Back to Charlie and her friend. I cannot let my 9 and 7 year old daughters watch this. Like with all kids their age there are bound to be an amazing number of questions. Many of which I don’t know I’m able to answer honestly or even accurately. Just recently, I had what I call the first installment of the “sex talk” with them. My husband was a little annoyed I started without him, but my older daughter is fast approaching the day she’ll be screaming for me from the bathroom, so I figured I better prep her sooner rather than later. I brought the other one along on the ride, since the older one would tell her anyway.
I thought I did pretty good, explaining sex as a beautiful gift of love and life. They were both bored and grossed out. The older one was concerned a little. But not much. I’m glad I told them when I did, beacuse we’ve had many “learning moments” of late when it came in handy. Like when I wouldn’t let them watch the Grammys. And when they wanted to know why some people won’t buy Girl Scout Cookies from them. (caveat – parents who know my kids, they pinky promised not to discuss with other kids.)
I know now I didn’t do that great of a job. My younger daughter still seems to think she can lay an egg for her favorite duck stuffed animal. Yes, I found this to be some evidence that she didn’t listen to me that night. As for the other one, she’s still doing things no girl would do in front of a boy, so she’s not getting the physical attraction part just yet, anyhow.
So what does this have to do with “Good Luck, Charlie?” Simple. They’re not ready for this level of maturity. It has nothing to do with being homophobic. It has to do with the fact that they are not exactly clear on the whole sex and how babies are made thing just yet when it comes to heterosexual parents, let alone homosexual ones. They go to Catholic School and engage in extracurricular activities there. In the region of the world we live in, they’re probably not going to run into much of this. The estimate I believe is that 2% of the US population describes itself as homosexual. The entertainment indsutry seems to see that more like 25%. Maybe that’s true among them. Its probably less so among the families of Catholic grade schoolers living around Pittsbugh.
Until that time that I think they’re really grasping the basics of human sexuality and can understand that sometimes life throws us a curve, I think I’ll just keep with what I’m teaching them. All humans are God’s creations, crafted in His image. We owe every one of them our acceptace, respect, care and compassion. I think that lesson, better than the depiction of lesbian moms to people too young to get it, will make them tolerant and open-minded.