It's that time of year when folks are supposed to look forward to thinner waists and fatter wallets. Then we try to make that happen by changing some behavior or reinforcing another.
Here's my suggestion to any parent out there. Be open to whatever your child is. It's as simple as that.
I know that parents always want their kids to be little carbon copies of themselves. That's one of the reasons we reuse names and put "Junior" after.
Here's the thing: just because they look similar on the outside doesn't mean they are the same on the inside. Specifically, I mean (horror) they might be gay. This is "horror" for straight parents, you understand.
The stories are legion of parents "shocked" at their child "coming out". Well, they may be surprised if they really had no outward indications, but "shocked"?
I remember that the mom of the college freshman at Rutgers who killed himself after being "outed" by his roommate said she was stunned to find that he felt she had not accepted him after he told her he was gay. Now she has to deal with the memory of how she handled that. You never want to be in that position.
Be careful. Kids always have to know that there is one (or two) place in the world they can always go to for support and help no matter what. That is Mom and/or Dad.
I have a friend who was trying to "inoculate" his son (and mine) against being gay by making locker room comments about women's bodies as he was driving these then 11-year-olds to games. Very, very foolish.
Let's just say that his son had been gay. How could that boy have come to his Dad and expect support? He wouldn't. He couldn't.
That is not keeping them safe from an orientation that is different from yours. It is a selfish attempt to intimidate them into a life that is a lie.
As it turned out, neither boy is gay, but they could have been.
Parents should understand that and speak and act accordingly. In other words, no trashing gay people to your kid.
No "inoculations" with slimy locker room comments. I don't care what your personal beliefs are. You have no right to build a wall that your kid cannot climb.
So, here's the resolution: I will always be open to my kids, in word and action. I will make sure they know that I love them no matter what. Then I will give them a hug and wait for them to come to me with anything.
(Copyright 2011 KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)