Friday, February 20, 2015

At Risk Child

"At risk child." That was the phrase that hit the hardest in an email that wasn't intended for me. It was my child they were talking about. My brilliant, loving, articulate, bright-eyed, creative, curious, beautiful child. I knew what they meant, and it only made it sting more. She is "at risk" of losing her eternal salvation, everlasting life with God, a perfectly sealed family because of her "wayward" mother. That's a big loss, the ultimate one in the Mormon paradigm. But what if for one moment they could see her potential from the side of the other 99.999%? That "at risk child" has all the benefits of a first world middle-class upbringing. She also has an impressive immune system, an amazing brain, parents who love her deeply, a father with a PhD from Princeton, a mother who is a professional violinist and is authoring a book on the pedagogy of language in rearing children to be lifelong learners and empathic contributors to society. She does not lack any resource available to the likes of The Dalai Lama, Mother Thersea, or Gandhi. By any standard, besides the Mormon one, she is one of the least "at risk" children on this earth. I think also about the things that she is "at risk" of experiencing because of her Mormonism: belief that her value lies primarily in her pre-determined role of mother and wife, which she might never experience; an over-active conscious leading to extreme guilt; blind prejudice; over-emphasis on body image; shame in sexuality; thinking "the world" is evil, etc.. However, I do not think of her as more "at risk" more than any other human who experiences life in its many varieties and expressions. I am going to help her learn all she can about all the bits this life has to offer, and I believe in her soul there is great potential for self-fulfillment, empathy, joy, societal-contribution, and love. I am so proud to be her mom. I don't believe in a God that would reject her.

1 comment:

  1. The only thing your child is "at risk" for is greatness...and possibly being the first female president. She is a dangerous combination of wit and strength.
    It's interesting how comfortable Mormons are pitying everyone outside of their church. It's even more surprising how they can't see just how condescending that truly is. I'm often told how my Mormon relatives are sad for me. It feels more like they are sad AT me, just hurling sadness in my direction. Meanwhile, I'm living a happier, more peaceful life. And yet active Mormons can only feel comfortable with my decisions by using terms like "at risk." Perhaps it makes them more comfortable with their decisions? I'm not sure.
    But I do know that you are a wonderful woman, and your daughter is exceptionally lucky to have you as a role model.