An open letter can go a long way.
Last week, Kimberly Hall, a mother of three boys and an eight-year-old girl, sat down with her family to look through summer pictures on Facebook.
“If you are friends with a Hall boy on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole Hall family,” she said.
She was disturbed by something she saw—teenage girls taking sexy and revealing selfies and sharing them with their social networks.
Kim, the director of women’s ministry of All Saints Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, took to her blog Givenbreath.com to express her disdain for the inappropriate pictures.
Here are excerpts from the post, entitled “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)”:
“That post doesn’t reflect who you are at all! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart. But, we had to cringe and wonder what you were trying to do? Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say?
“And now—big bummer—we have to block your posts…
“I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel…
“…In our house, there are no second chances with pics like that, ladies. We have a zero tolerance policy. I know, so lame. But, if you want to stay friendly with our sons online, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent. If you post a sexy selfie (we all know the kind), or an inappropriate YouTube video—even once—it’s curtains.
“I know that sounds so old-school, but we are hoping to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.”
The open letter has gone viral and has hit mainstream media, earning praise from other parents and criticism from individuals who felt that the post reeked of sexism.
Sexist or not, it cannot be denied that Kim’s decision to speak out has sparked important discussions about the Internet, teenagers and their parents’ right to police their social network activities.
Sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire.
Scott Mackintosh, a self-proclaimed old-fashioned dad who has raised four daughters and three sons, had a problem. He had scheduled a fun night of eating out and playing mini golf with his wife, son and daughter but his daughter refused to change out of her short shorts.
“I’m a firm believer that the way we dress sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. Her mother and I feel the same about the importance of dressing modest,” he said.
Instead of scolding the girl, he decided to “make a statement on how her short shorts maybe aren’t as cute as she thinks.”
Scott cut up an old pair of jeans and turned them into his own short shorts which he paired with a “Best Dad Ever” shirt given him by another daughter.
He went out to dinner with his family and they played mini golf with him still in that outfit. They drew many funny stares and pointing fingers all night.
By the time they stopped for post-mini golf milkshakes, his daughter had had enough. She refused to leave the car.
She posted the incident on her own Tumblr account, including a photo of her father and the caption: “My mom told me to change my ‘slutty’ shorts before we went to dinner. I said no. So my dad cut his jeans to fit in. We went to dinner and then mini golf like this.”
The post now has over 130,000 notes on Tumblr and Scott Mackintosh has bagged TV interviews because of his creative parenting style.
On his wife’s blog, Beckymacksblog.com, he wrote, “There was no ‘Dad I get it’ or ‘Dad you’re the best…thank you for that awesome lesson’… I don’t think my object lesson of ‘modest is hottest’ made the statement I had intended. But…my daughter will always know that her dad loves her and cares about her enough to make a fool out of himself.”
It might have been more effective than he thinks though—he says he hasn’t seen his daughter in short shorts since.
Pay attention to your pets. This story is incredible—a hero dog managed to save a baby from his abusive babysitter.
Benjamin and Hope Jordan, a South Carolina-based couple, hired a babysitter for their baby Finn. Twenty-two-year-old Alexs Khan passed their background check and had been babysitting Finn for months, when Benjamin and Hope noticed that their dog, Killian, who was usually friendly, was acting aggressively toward her.
“We started to notice that our dog was very protective of our son when she would come in the door,” Benjamin told WCSC in an interview.
Bothered by the dog’s actions, they hid an iPhone under the couch to record what went on in their house when they were not around.
The recording proved disturbing, revealing how the babysitter was cursing at their crying son. Then the parents heard slaps and cries of pain from Finn.
Benjamin also told Fox News that he thought he heard the babysitter shaking his son.
The babysitter pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery and will spend from one to three years in prison. She’s also been banned from working with children.
There is beauty in acceptance. For a long time now, people have been reading about Lori Duron’s adventures in raising C.J., a six-year-old boy with a penchant for Barbie, Disney Princesses and wearing girl’s shoes and dresses.
Lori has been chronicling her journey with her “gender-creative” son on her blog RaisingMyRainbow.com. Her memoir, also called Raising My Rainbow, is out and has been getting rave reviews.
But it was her husband Matt who made headlines this past week after he wrote a moving essay—“My son wears dresses; get over it” for The Atlantic.
Matt, a motorcycle-riding and punk music-loving police officer and former football player, is as macho as they come. But, he says, “I may be a “guy’s guy, but that doesn’t mean that my son has to be.”
The piece has been warmly received. And we’re not ashamed to say we’re among the many people who cried while reading it.
Here are excerpts from the essay, which has been liked over 89,000 times on Facebook:
“My son wears dresses. And heels and makeup. It surprises them even more when they learn that I’m cool with it. And at this point, I wouldn’t want him to change.
“To me, loving a child who is different, a target and seen as vulnerable is my role as a father and decent human being. He’s just as special to me and loved by me as my oldest son, whose most prized possession is a pocketknife, who plays football, likes fart jokes, and is starting to notice girls.
“I’m a father. I signed on for the job with no strings attached, no caveats, no conditions. I can name every Disney Princess and her movie of origin. I’ve painted my son’s nails and rushed to remove it when he was afraid that he would get teased for wearing it. I didn’t want to remove it, I wanted to follow him around and stare down anybody who even thought about teasing him.
“I want to love him, not change him. My son skipping and twirling in a dress isn’t a sign that a strong male figure is missing from his life, to me it’s a sign that a strong male figure is fully vested in his life and committed to protecting him and allowing him to grow into the person who he was created to be.”