Libertarian Lessons From My House to Yours
By: Crystal Byrd
It’s pretty hard to be a political activist and a stay-at-home mom. In fact, with a 15 month-old it’s pretty hard to do much of anything beyond making food, changing diapers, and singing silly songs. For all the other parents out there hoping to raise freedom-loving, free-thinking, individuals, here are a few of the libertarian lessons our house is learning. (I’m not completely oblivious to the current popular culture of the United States, so I’ve also included a few nuggets for the grown-ups who still think they know what’s best for the rest of us.)
1) Sharing is Voluntary
Let’s be real, sharing sucks sometimes. I don’t want to share my dessert, my car, or my time in the bathroom. I want my baby to grasp that some things are MINE and some things are HERS. If a situation calls for sharing, and that sharing is her own choice, by all means, let the sharing and Kumbaya’s commence. Let the little humans learn that sharing is awesome for themselves. Let them realize that sharing can help make friends, it can make the world a nicer place, and even solve problems. Let them learn that not sharing can be rewarding and lonely. In the end though, you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. If someone forces you to share against your will- that’s called stealing. #Taxationistheft
2) Being “nice” is subjective.
Every time I hear a parent say “play nice” I want to throat punch them. What does that even mean?! You don’t have to play well with others, but friends are a big help when you want to build a fort. Let’s forget about playing nice, and focus on honest and respectful. If you’re honest in a respectful way, you won’t get called Grumpy Cat or Captain Dickhead. Toddlers will learn without your intervention that making friends is to their benefit and they will learn to be nice enough to keep their friends around, or they won’t. Honestly, my toddler knows that if she kisses me when she’s in trouble, I’ll stop being angry. I can’t help it and she knows I’m powerless against her kisses. They know, people. They know…
3) Question authority with discretion.
Parenting is so much easier when the good, little humans do what you tell them…that’s not sarcasm, it’s truth. It’s also dangerous. In our house it’s a vital life skill to learn when disobedience is appropriate and when it’s not. Something we as parents are still exploring and learning. Do what is right. Instead of blindly doing as you’re told or what you were taught, know your own moral code and follow it. In the end, I need her to be okay not “fitting in,” so that she can handle the flak of standing up for someone who needs help. She has to be able to stand tall when the ridicule or bullying comes. I want her to know that authority exists, and we submit to that authority for good reasons. I also want her to know that there comes a time when a good person refuses to submit. I want her to be ready to stand alone with her integrity.
4) Your choices make your life.
Toddlers are just beginning to grasp their ability to manipulate their environment and current situation. We don’t need to help our kids ALL the time. Some things should be hard to do. Maybe let’s wait for the kids to ask before diving in and “helping” them do everything. Let the little tyrant eat without your help, let them pick their own clothes, or get really crazy and let them pick yours. In the adult world, you don’t get what you get and don’t throw a fit. You get what you work for. You are responsible for the state of your life in all its glory or misery. In tiny human speak, don’t settle for the red crayon if you want blue. Find a friend who wants red and trade. Let them learn that there are consequences to their choices while they can do so in a safe and protected environment. The last thing the rest of society wants is your precious tweenager, (who doesn’t grasp the concept of natural consequences), out on the road- or worse yet, dating my daughter.
5) Good ideas don’t require force.
Violence is no way to get what you want. Unfortunately, there comes a time in every toddler’s life when words just don’t get the point across, and you may have to punch a fool. Make sure your reason has meaning and is worth fighting for. As a parent I need to be careful about how and why I apply “force” in my daughter’s life if I want her to grow into an adult that respects other people’s beliefs, property, and rights.
6) Mind your own business.
You are the boss of you and you are not the boss of anyone else. Just because you feel strongly about how a game of peek-a-boo should be played doesn’t mean you get run every game of peek-a-boo according to your rules. Toddlers seem to get this better than adults. So listen up big kids, you’re not the boss of any other human’s social life, religious beliefs, or opinions. It doesn’t matter how wrong you think it is that people love dairy, gluten, and marijuana. If momma is eating cupcakes and ice cream for dinner, and smoking a bowl for dessert…it’s none of your beeswax, and that’s okay. Mind your own business and let other people be about theirs.
NEWSFLASH: You don’t need their approval- and they don’t need yours.