Fatherhood Friday: Your Children Are Watching You

Last weekend a lot of people celebrated Halloween. There were oodles of parties and all flavor of costume on display in Orange County.

I did not partake in the celebrations. I spend the weekend with my family who was visiting from San Diego. Though a few friends of mine were throwing festivals of debauchery on Friday and Saturday night, I chose, instead, to spend my time with my wife and two kids. This is not a choice I regret, nor was it a difficult one to make. I love my family and, in my current situation, I rarely see them.

There were moments in the course of the weekend when I was able to witness others getting their freedom on. In this, our lovely country, people are free to dress and act as they like. My eyes bore witness to some pretty hilarious outfits, both in real life and on Facebook. On Sunday my Facebook wall was full of images from friends who exercised their right to make decisions, for better or worse.

The most disheartening thing I witnessed was at a cafe in Tustin. I was editing a script I had recently finished when two women and two children entered the premises. They ordered four blended iced beverages and sat in the lobby where they discussed their plans for the day.

Before I continue, I need to say that I think sexy is awesome. I have no problem with men or women dressing in a manner what attracts the opposite sex. Committed or single, everyone likes to feel good about themselves. If you want to dress like a Playboy Bunny or a warrior from the movie 300, more power to you. In this particular instance, both women were dressed as “sexy” versions of animals–I think. One resembled a wolf and the other a penguin. Well, actually they were really just wearing bikini-like tops with small shorts, grey and black respectively, with a bit of animal face paint that marked the true nature of their costume.

Sexy wolf. Sexy penguin.

The children? Both boys, around the age of five or six, were dressed like pirates. They looked adorable.

I noticed the women as they entered, thought to myself, “Good for them.” The truth is that they looked great. I mean that. As sexy costumes go, these two nailed it.

I went back to my work. My attention was not pulled back to them until a few minutes later when one of the boys exclaimed, “Yeah, my mom is the best slut.”

I paused, glanced over nonchalantly towards the children, and listened in as the conversation between the two children continued at a relatively high volume. I don’t often hear children refer to their parents’ as sluts. I was intrigued. Sue me.

“No, my mommy looks better because you can see her boobs.”

“My mom has boobs.”



At this point the women noticed their sons’ exclamations, giggled, and pulled them over, shushing them through laughter. They picked up their things and made their way out of the coffee shop to wherever they were going. On their way out, one of them mumbled something about needing to pick up some beer.

I don’t know many women who enjoy being called a slut. The list is short. Most find it offensive. Sure, the word is tossed around with casual conversation, but in most situations, the women I know would prefer not to be called a slut. And all of the mothers I know would not appreciate their children calling them a slut.

Every Halloween there are jokes made about “slutty” costumes–versions of characters and creatures, for men and women alike, that leave little to the imagination and allow people to show off their body parts, again, for better or worse. Again, I have no problem with this. If people want to dress like that I say more power to them. America!

What does cause a bit of concern to simmer in the cockles of my heart is the idea that children are being taught this word to describe their parents.  I choose to believe that this is an isolated incident. I’m sure these children heard the word around their home and are using it to address their mothers’ costumes, not their sexual proclivity (I think/hope).

I want to be perfectly clear: I am not casting any aspersions on the wolf or the penguin. I do not know them, nor their situation. For all I know they are the best mothers in the world. I choose to believe that they are excellent and I wish them the best. Kudos to them both for their costume selection–they obviously work hard to look the way they do and they should be able to celebrate that when possible.

I am pointing out that the children are listening. The youth of today are watching us, parents. They are picking up our language and mimicking our actions. We are training the next generation of adults and we can decide, right now, what we want them to be.

So, I guess the question is, do we want our youth to argue over which mother is the best slut, or not?

03 FatherhoodFridays







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