Lessons From Kindergarten We Need To Forget.

Looking back, Kindergarten taught us some fairly toxic lessons.

Boys will be boys.

If someone torments you, it means they like you.

If you stand up to your bully, they’ll respect you and leave you alone.

You must share your toys; not sharing means you’re greedy.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

When you’re small, the consequences of these lessons are also small. But we carry these lessons into adulthood, and the consequences are greater.

Remember when you were a kid? Your friend group consisted of the people in your class or in your neighbourhood. Friendship was defined by proximity. It didn’t matter if you liked them or not. They were you age and they were there. So you played together.

In every group, there was at least one kid that always had to have their own way. If they didn’t, they would have a tantrum, or take their toys and leave or, worst of all, go home and cry to Mummy or teacher that the other kids were being mean, at which point everyone else got scolded for being mean, even though they weren’t. You were forced to play with rotten kid and the next time let them have their way, just to avoid the aggravation. Rotten Kid grew up thinking he was wildly popular, a natural leader and always right.

If you look around the modern political scene, it’s easy to see the ones who were ‘that Kid’ when they were little. They’ve taken these childhood lessons to the worst extreme. And we’re still letting them have their way, because we want to avoid their epic tantrums.

The Evangelical Christian Conservative Alt-Right are loud, annoying, self-righteous, moneyed and powerful. They’ve demanded special treatment on a thousand different issues and played the victim when they don’t get it. And the left has allowed it on many issues, because of those childhood lessons about everyone getting along.

In reality, every time the Christian Right demanded special treatment, whether it was Christian employers not being required to provide Birth Control on employee health plans, or being allowed to refuse service to the LGBTQ+ community, or leading students in prayer during school events, they should have been told to Suck It Up, Sunshine. We live in an increasingly secular society. Your religion is a private thing, don’t force it on the Public.

The consequences of pandering to these selfish assholes are becoming increasingly dire. The Supreme Court has struck down Roe V Wade, setting Women’s Rights back 50 years. 5 of the Justices involved are old white men who will NEVER have to make the decision whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, and will never understand how traumatic that decision is. No woman makes that decision lightly.

3 of the Justices affirmed Roe V Wade, under oath, at their confirmation hearings. They should be prosecuted for perjury.

And it can only get worse from here. If they can take away a woman’s right to her own body, they can take away anything. Trans rights were just barely being established, they will now blow away on the first judicial breeze. Gay Marriage? Protection under Domestic Abuse and Hate Crime laws? Maybe even Civil Rights? Apparently to the Christian Right, nothing is sacred.

So it’s time to address the wrongs taught to us in childhood, and recognise the toxicity of what we teach our children.

‘Boys will be Boys’ Boys are taught that they don’t have to consider how their actions affect others. That they don’t have to learn impulse control. That a certain amount of bad behaviour on their part is expected and excused. That their behaviour is held to a lower standard. Girls are taught that their discomfort, anxiety and fear are not worth consideration. This lays the groundwork for Date Rape, Domestic Abuse, and Workplace Discrimination; the glass ceiling, the wage gap.

‘If someone torments you, It means they like you’. No it doesn’t. It means they are in training to be either an abuser or a stalker. It means they are immature and need to be taught to express emotions in a better way. It means girls are being taught to accept abuse as affection from a very young age.

‘If you stand up to your bully, they’ll respect you and leave you alone’. As children, we know this is the most Fragrant BS imaginable. If you stand up to your bully, they’ll come back with their friends and beat the tar out of you. If you go to a teacher, they’ll either just force you to shake hands and pretend to be friends, or if the Bully gets punished, he’ll still come back and beat the tar out of you. Children know this, as Adults we forget. Children don’t know respect, it’s a big concept that takes a long time to learn. Some never do.

‘Share your toys, not sharing means you’re greedy.’ What we should be teaching kids is they can choose whether or not to share their things, and who to share them with. That other people do not have a right to their possessions, their bodies or their thoughts.

‘Treat people the way you want to be treated.’ This is a tricky one, because I think we have it backwards. People assume other people are like them. Honest people expect honesty. Liars assume everyone else is lying. Thieves assume everyone steals. The trick is not to treat others how you want to treated, but to observe how they treat people. Liars will always accuse others of lying. People treat others how they expect to be treated. It’s a subtle lesson that takes years to learn, but its better that the Alt-Right’s version, which is Do Unto Others Before They Can Do Unto You.

We need to unlearn all these lessons about playing nicely and getting along, because they don’t necessarily work for adults, and the world is worse off for it. We need to learn lessons of standing up for our beliefs; of knowing when to compromise and when to draw a line. And that respecting someone else’s rights and beliefs means they also have to respect yours.

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