"Watch how he acts around his momma ..." they whisper in the ears of their daughters. "Marry someone that acts like your daddy does ..." Parents with worried eyes look after their daughters every single day. Daughters that will run down the street with one earbud in and one out for fear of someone coming up behind them. Daughters that will walk to their cars with keys in hand and their heads on a swivel. Daughters that have a buddy system, an emergency contact, and an emergency exit figured out on first dates.
I am someone's daughter.
And yesterday, while I was working in my neighbor's lawn, a minivan drove by. Hubcaps missing. Squeaking down the street with a dent in the door. It was silver. And I know that because the man driving down my street hollered out his half opened window, "Slut, get back in the kitchen!"
My neighbor, sitting on her steps, mourning the fresh loss of her own momma, gasped. "What is WRONG with people?" she yelled out to me. She was holding the pallbearer list she had just copied at the mortuary.
I stared at the van as it got farther and farther away, shaking my head.
I don't know what is wrong with people. I just don't know.
Gosh, we gotta raise our kids better, you know? Let's raise them in a way that this kinda thing just doesn't happen. Right? Let's talk about how that doesn't get to happen anymore.
The Brother and I were having a conversation a long, long time ago and I told him I was worried about sending kids out into this space. And he shrugged at me as he often does, and he told me that we need to raise 'em up in the Lord. Loving Jesus. Clinging. And he's right. Faith in God. Faith in each other. We can do better.
We need to raise our boys better. Let's raise them up so mommas don't have to whisper in their daughter's ears World Survival Tips. Let's raise them up so words like slut, bitch, and that dreaded c-word aren't a part of their vocabulary.
Glennon Doyle Melton wrote about this the other day. I felt myself cheering along with her. A man called her the dreaded c-word on her Facebook page and she responded. There is no line, you know? You call a random woman on the street a slut, or a woman you don't know on the internet a c-word -- you don't get a line. You come home to your house and you put your feet up on your worn recliner and you ask your wife to bring you ice tea, and really? You think she's a slut, too. Your daughter playing with her toys on the floor while your wife makes you dinner? She's a slut, too. Right? You don't get to draw a line. Once you think a random girl on the street that you've never seen and don't know is a slut? Then you think all of us are. And that is a hard, hard truth to hold. Glennon says that when we know better, we do better. Perhaps one day, Van Man will learn to be better.
I'm no expert at parenting. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly three-year-olds eat from day to day, and how to stop worrying about my little boy being around water. And I can't even guarantee that he won't shout things out windows of cars as he's driving by people. I will guarantee you that he will have a heart of compassion, he will know Jesus, and he will understand that I will rock the ever-living Jesus right on out of him if someone ever tells me that he's calling women derogatory names.
Because my momma and daddy whispered in my ear, I will whisper in his.
Love your neighbor.
There is just really no other way.
PS - Slut is just so basic. If you're going to be the guy that screams at women on the street? Try a multi-syllabic word, okay? Also? I don't even get in the kitchen for myself, let alone men in minivans ... because #standards.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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