Culture war: Homefront — conversations with my daughter

A cornerstone of Ancient Greek thought was that the family was the root of its culture and provided the very foundation of the city-state. This revolutionary line of thought continued all the way through the writings of the great Pope John Paul II.

Time has not been able to destroy this philosophy, and neither has its greatest enemy — the state. While building its vision of a cradle-to-the-grave society, the government’s hands have been busy tearing the family apart with welfare programs, family courts, and other dreaded machinations.

To uphold the tradition of the family in the face of such enemies is a commitment, so when my daughter asks a question, it’s like seeing the Bat Light reach into the sky.

For instance, just days ago, she looked at me during dinner and simply asked “ Dad … is the Corona Virus over.”

Armed with the longing to reconnect with her classmates and teachers, her eyes peered through mine. In that moment, statistics and information I recently read jumped to the forefront of my mind.

I was presented with two options: 1 … Give her the official answer being fed to us by the state. 2 … Basically yes, it has passed, but we are being put on virtual house arrest over a fake model.

The middle ground won: “Well, sweetheart, there’s no reason to be afraid because you are virtually in no danger of getting this, and so much of it is concentrated in New York and New Jersey. We could probably get back to our lives any time, but right now our government is telling us we can not.”

A scowl bent her brow as she formulated these words: “Can’t we just go back to school then?”

My lips pursed as part of an effort to keep tears from welling up in my eyes … because our little anarchist was getting the point.

“Soon enough sweetheart … when enough of us become informed and tired of staying home, we will get back on track.”

Thankfully, the questioning stopped there, because I didn’t want to take this into the territory of rebellion!

Most of the time, the questions are sweet, but still remarkably insightful. Our most recent conversation started with a question much more consistent with the mission of her Catholic school: “Dad … what’s a soul?”

My mouth opened, ready to release a strain of knowledge, but all that escaped was an empty breath that snuck from my throat. No worries … I simply looked in the Cathechism of the Catholic for the official definition: “The spiritual principle of human beings. The soul is the subject of human consciousness and freedom.”

Confusion twisted her face, so quickly, I summarized. “It’s the spiritual part of us. It’s what God gave us to help us know right from wrong.”

Not completely satisfied with my own response, I continued to research. And with every word I read, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how this little girl is helping me become a better person. What a gift she is!

For now, I’ll focus on answering her other pressing concerns:

  • How did Steven Spielberg make the dinosaurs walk in Jurassic Park?
  • How exactly does the Spider-Verse work?
  • Why do wolves travel in packs?
  • Why does plugging your nose work when you don’t want to taste something?
  • What is voting? (THAT was interesting.)
  • And for the love of all that is holy WHY DID HER TERRIER EAT A NEST OF BABY RABBITS?!

Regardless of the question, every single opportunity to pass on what I’ve learned is moment for her to grow. Part of our responsibility as parents is to tell them the truth, but not what to think. We have open them up to knowledge while still protecting their instinct to think creatively.

So, to all of her future teachers … be ready for some outside-the-box questions. I just know there is a history teacher out there who will hear how George Washington was not the first president of the United States.

Published by Vince Taddei

The best jobs in the world are being a husband and father. When not spending time with my family, I coach the Speech and Debate team at Cardinal Mooney High School, where I also do public relations and marketing work. The rare free moments in my life are spent reading, and scribbling notes about stories I want to write. My first novel, Tempest Effect, is available on Amazon.

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