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Friday, February 6, 2009

2 Year Old Thoughts on Obama

Tonight Anders sat cradled in the nook of Dan's arm, watching college wrestling half-heartedly with his daddy.  I say half-heartedly because in his hands he held two little cars from our massive car collection.  He was busy knocking them into each other and adopting voices for each in turn. As we listened to his innocent car conversation, we heard him mention Obama a few times.  So I asked him, "Who is Obama, Anders?"  He held up one of the cars with a grimace.  I asked him, "Is Obama bad or good?"  His solemn, decided, and astute 2-year-old response was, "Obama he's...he's is scary."


Barbara said...

"Out of the mouths of Babes"...

napnotes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jare, She-She and Efin said...

I think that is awesome and adorable. I know you and Dan are teaching them everything that is good in life. Obama is scary!

emi said...

liz! this story cracks me up!

i hate to be blunt with anyone who likes/loves Obama, but I cannot respect a man who offers foreign aid to other countries to perform abortions. i can't respect a man who purposefully plays both sides of the marriage argument in order to get votes. i can't respect a man that plans on signing an act which would override all state laws/restrictions on abortion.

Obama is not a good man in my eyes. I think this becomes more obvious as his administration develops. He just nominated a porn lawyer for the number two position deputy attorney general.

i think, frankly, you are really rude to criticize liz on her blog. the story is meant to be funny. is it okay for liz and her husband to have concerns about the president, to discuss their view with their children?

and where did race come in? (seriously?)

is it okay for liz to have serious concernes about her leaders?

Kari said...

I have to say I agree with Lisa, although I do find the story a bit humorous. Except I think that republicans are scary lol

Liz said...

Wow, Lisa, where in this story is there any mention of minorities? Am I supposed to love Obama simply because he's Black or even just because he's our president?

I respect the office he holds, but not his "socialistic" policies and aspirations. I do not believe he's had enough "civic leadership" experience to be the president and his skin color makes no difference to me when it comes to running a country.

Yes, I am afraid of Obama and his ridiculous, so-called stimulus bill, and his attack on marriage with his vow to repeal the DOMA, and his attack on life with his vow to sign the FOCA into existence, and his encouragement (whether by omission or commission) of this Messiah/deliverer/prophet imagery and adoration, and his obsession with pomp and circumstance and flowery (and empty) orations to the worshiping masses. I will always teach my children that no kind of economic or health care stability is worth the abandonment of morals and values, life and family (or even possible, for that matter). And I will always teach them to look for humility in leadership, not prideful displays of popularity.

So, I guess I have taught Anders to be afraid of Obama, and, frankly, I'm eager to continue to teach my children to discern between good and bad politicians. I think it goes without saying where I think Obama falls.

Yes, I am a good parent, and yes, I do teach my children to love and respect people despite their differences. But, boy, loving and respecting does not, in my opinion, negate scrutiny and discernment. And when you infer that I am a bad/misguided parent simply because a little story I post on my personal, family blog disagrees with your political persuasion, and when you condescend to suggest how I "ought" to be teaching my children based on your idea of "good" character education...I get a tad defensive.

Yes, I read what you wrote about all this on your blog. And I am sorry that you felt giving unsolicited parenting advice was worth "risking a friendship." I love debating politics with people...sometimes. But I absolutely think it inappropriate and unfortunate to question someone's parental approach to teaching their children about politics simply because you disagree with their political leanings.

P.S. I've never asked myself "I wonder what Lisa feels about this?" I know how you feel about some social and most political views (I do read your blog, you know). What I would have preferred never hearing is that you feel me an incompetent or misguided parent for my approach to children's political education. No wait, not just children's, but my children's political education. So while I'm glad that you felt you were "courageously standing as a witness" for your views, I will bluntly suggest that your courage would be better spent, as you stated, "witnessing of God," rather than calling friends' parental approaches disturbing.

It has been said that there are certain subjects that just shouldn't be broached among close friends and family. I suggest that we add parental attitudes and techniques to our list of social views and political views. I write my thoughts and stories for them to be remembered by our family for years to come, if you would like to debate politics with me, feel free to visit my political blog and hash it out with me there...just so long as you do not bring my parental skills into question there, too.

Kari, how nice for me to discover, while I am writing my response to Lisa, that I have not just one, but two "close" friends who question my parental skills/motives. Lovely. That feels so nice.

Brooklet said...

I think politics can be discussed amongst friends, if it is done respectfully and with an acceptance that it is okay for two friends to have differing political views. From what I know of Liz is that a friend with a differing political belief is still a friend. I don't think disagreeing with her would jeopardize a friendship- But what I personally do think would jeopardize a friendship is if that person did it disrespectfully, condescendingly and judgementally. What was the point in that?

napnotes said...

Maybe there aren't so much good & bad people as there are good & bad choices. Sometimes the distinction between the doer & the deed (sin & sinner?)has to be pointed out for our little ones. President Hinckley was a master at this. Taking this stance allows us to neither back down from our positions, nor for our love of our brothers & sisters. It's what makes the gospel possible for us as humans.

I'm with you as far as some of Obama's choices are concerned. He is setting himself up to make some potentially very poor choices, but it also seems that being in office for less than a month, he is starting to see already how much more complex things are (i.e., Guantanamo) & that the system of checks & balances is squarely in place (i.e., House Republicans not giving him a single vote on the stimulus pkg). I love that about our system of government. Just as my husband was happy to see Clinton go & a new administration come in, I've looked forward to a changing of the guard, if for no other reason, that to let us look at what we really value again as individual Americans. I am ready to say that our current President has already made some poor choices, but I'm not ready to seal his fate & final judgement as a bad person.

As for my blog post, you may have noticed that I removed it after a few short hours because I realized that it was a gut response to a larger, personal conversation I had with my sister. We decided that sometimes it's woth risking a surface-level friendship & testing the waters with your true & fully honest self in order to have a deeper friendship. I'm always grateful for the friends who are willing to tell me that I look fat in that dress or who question my worldview by sending me information & opinions that I've not adequately considered (thank you). Heck, I married my dearest friend because he is wholly open with me & helps me grow by a personal system of checks & balances. I stepped out on that limb with you in hopes of sacrificing one sort of friendship for another, but perhaps it is best at this point to just agree to disagree.

That you are good parents is said with the utmost sincerity. I admire your dedication & goodness as a wife & mother. Make no mistake about that.

I'm sensitive on the racial stuff because of my family makeup--cousins & siblings who are minorities. Some of my college research was also done in the area of verbal & nonverbal communication about racial attitudes, & so if the only black man that frequently visits my home is labeled as scary & bad, what happens when my children see or meet another black man? My husband is quick to check my point of view though by reminding me that we should not have to tip toe around this new administration & their choices based on racial fears. So, round & round & back to bad choices versus bad people & taking a leap of faith to do a sound check on a friendship.

I love you Liz & respect you & your family. I will, however, refrain from any further comments for now.

P.S. Kari is a wonderful person & friend. Don't give up on the both of us so easily.

Liz said...

Okay Lisa,

First, I want to thank you for taking the high road by avoiding a confrontational or defensive echo to my commentary. Your initial comment came at a really, really bad time after a very, very bad week and, well, I couldn't have kept the steam in if I'd wanted to at the moment I read what you wrote.

Additionally, I spend so much time debating the merits of various opinions on my Pearl Diver blog that when I come "home", so-to-speak, to criticism, I feel a natural urge to drive it away, eradicate it. Hence the reason I invited you to my political blog - I'm used to criticism there. :0) And, I suppose it goes without saying that it was especially hurtful coming from a friend. In fact, your comment felt particularly UNfriendly.

To be honest - opinions aside, debates about good and bad aside - I cannot imagine what kind of a deeper friendship you believed would be possible when launched from one-sided criticism? And I still haven't figured out how you arrived at your disgust for my parenting techniques after reading one little story involving a two-year-old. You weren't there when it occurred and in reading your comment over and over again, it felt as though you jumped at the chance to misconstrue the experience and cast it in a negative light. It's not as if I'm going to confuse the babe and forestall any chance of a coherent response by couching my spontaneous question in some Lisa-approved, politically-correct, spiritually-enhancing vocabulary that the poor little guy would have had no chance of understanding. This whole story happened in a matter of seconds!

Of course we disagree on politics, Lisa. I think you knew that that was mutually understood before you chose to "cast your vote" on my story. What I was, and continue to be, mystified about is how you could have ever convinced yourself that it would be a good idea to throw down thinly veiled condemnation and contempt on mine and my husband's parental attitudes under the guise of building a stronger friendship. These children came specifically to Dan and me for a special reason known only to God. We are the best parents for them and they are the best children for us. Here I am trying my darndest to help them to be the best people they can be while still learning to recognize and avoid "bad" and recognize and uphold "good," and you come along with an impertinent, condescending teacher's note and warning about how I should be educating my children...based purely on your limited understanding of them, this particular situation, and our lives in general.

It seems rather disingenuous to be dolling out solemn declarations of everlasting love and respect with one hand and targeted criticisms with the other.

Ah rats! I have not yet mastered my frustration as concerns this whole affair. I'm still upset. As is fairly obvious.

Kari, as for you, missy. It just hurt. That's all. It hurts to be ganged up on when visiting the comment section of your own blog.

napnotes said...

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. May you find the peace you are seeking this week.

Liz said...

Thanks Lisa. I hope I do, too.

Jare, She-She and Efin said...

I love you!

Liz said...

Thank you, Staci.

Daniel said...

Well isn't this great. Practicing democracy right here on the blog. I love this country, the vegetables I'm cooking right now, and Hugo Chavez.

In my opinion, parents teach their children what they believe or don't believe. Lizzie wants to teach her children what to believe in or what to stay away from, what to do or not do, and I imagine that Lisa and every other mother out there teaches her (their) children things she (they) deem to be appropriate. That's what parenting is. And believe me, I know about parenting. :)

I love you guys! Keep the debate and keep the friendship. Both are good.

Liz said...

Daniel, did you know that mediators can make heaps of money? Forget Arabic translation, go into mediation. ;0)

Kari said...

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings Liz, I guess I didn't read Lisa's original comment as an attack against you and your parenting, and I don't think she meant it that way either. I think it's great that you are so firm in your convictions and that you want to teach that to your children, it shouldn't be any other way. I don't want to start into a political debate with you, as we obviously have very different concerns and opinions. So I'm not going to say anymore about it, but just wanted to let you know that I didn't intend to offend you.

Sara said...

Wow, I think "napnotes" must have deleted some of her own original comments, because a lot of this back and forth doesn't make much sense to me. :) However, I think it's cool- bring it all on! (And then I'm sending the whole transcript to CNN to have their "experts" rehash it out, oooh, and then we could invite FoxNews as well, and have a real battle...BBC can moderate, or Daniel- haha). So, being ELizabeth's only sister, I claim expert status on her and her parenting. She's amazing!!!! I never would have gotten married or had kids unless she led the way first, and showed me that it IS possible to be a great mom, a great activist, and a great church member- all at the same time. And I think she's a great friend. (Hey side note, Elizabeth, congrats on having serious backbone and sticking up for yourself! There's my Israeli sister. :) I am loving Obama, and I also love our discussions back and forth about politics. Elizabeth, you never offend me, and I rarely offend you- hahaha. I have told you before how I wanted the scene to change, and not have it ALWAYS all about abortion, gays and religion, but change to a national discussion about how we take care of our elderly, environment and health care, education and wars, and, well, dot dot dot. There are so many other things to worry about and focus on right now! Down to potholes on our highways. And Elizabeth, you've told me that those are important to you, but not as important as the family and the religious things. And I respect your point of view.
Daniel- you crack me up. "And believe me, I know about parenting"- that was funny.
Brook- great comments! You have a way with words, you should be a writer.
Napnotes- I like this part: That you are good parents is said with the utmost sincerity. I admire your dedication & goodness as a wife & mother. Make no mistake about that.
That was nice of you to say.
Okay, now to bed....

napnotes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
napnotes said...

Thanks for your comments Kari and Sara. I haven't deleted ANY of my comments. As the two of you have indicated, they just were read in a different way than I intended them to be taken. Since voicing a difference of opinion that was somehow taken as an insult about parenting (which it NEVER was intended to be), I've been busy trying to clarify my respectful difference of opinion (a simple idea that there is a difference between bad people and bad choices and the acknowledgement that the Agles are good parents) and dodging stones. I have though, Sara, thought about deleting all of my comments. I'm just not used to this much anger among "friends." Oh, and please don't get get CNN involved. I'm kinda tired ;)

napnotes said...

LOL! I only realized while in the shower that I wrote that I'd not deleted any comments, but the comment above had been deleted. Any lurkers must be chuckling at that as much as I am. I simply cut and pasted my comments into a new box so I could add the bit about not calling CNN or FOX. As much as it would be nice to meet some of the talking heads, we are sick around here and the bags under my eyes wouldn't look so great in HD.

Liz said...

I am not angry; I am upset. Anger would suggest a lack of control and I am perfectly in control of my faculties at the moment. Honestly, though, I still do not understand how this...

"this story is more disturbing than cute to me. Children simply mirror the attitudes they are taught from those around them"

...would be translated by the main "person in proximity" as a mere difference of opinion and non-insulting? What you are basically saying is that you find the attitudes I convey to my children to be disturbing. That's not just a difference of opinion, that calls into question my character, my parenting.

And I still do not understand how this...

"I'd just make sure he doesn't develop that attitude toward all civic leaders and minorities."

...would be translated by a mother to be anything other than a condescending, unsolicited warning against continuing to instill those "disturbing" attitudes in her children.

Your vote of confidence concerning our "good parenting" fell extremely flat following the "disturbances" you chose first to patronizingly descry. Please forgive me if I doubt your "utmost sincerity" when it follows so closely on the heels of criticism.

Your introduction of the "good and bad choices as opposed to good and bad people," had no presence in your first comment and felt like an attempted deflection of conversation of the issues over which I am upset. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have no problem with differences of opinion, but when your opinion sees fit to call my parental attitudes passed onto my children into question, then I (obviously) get a bit testy. As would any normal mother, I think.

Perhaps there are those reading this thread who are scratching their heads wondering what in the world Liz is going on about; those who think I am overreacting. So maybe I can help illustrate, through examples, why I am reacting so passionately. These are all made up, mind you. I merely want to show why I feel beleaguered.

Sara, you know "I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I don't know what else to say. I respect our differences, but to be honest, [Ari's obsession with eating] is more disturbing than cute to me. Children simply mirror the attitudes they are taught from those around them (via both verbal and nonverbal communication). So, if that is the attitude you were hoping to instill in him, congrats. I'd just make sure he doesn't develop that attitude toward all [self-soothing activities]. And knowing what good parents you both are, I know he will be taught [balanced consumption]."

See? Not really my place to say something like that. Nor am I really sharing my opinion as much as subtly suggesting my opinion is superior and really ought to be followed in order to avoid that pesky "disturbing" label.

Next up? Kari, "I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I don't know what else to say. I respect our differences, but to be honest, [Parker's...um (racking my brain here)...bossy nature (totally made up, remember)] is more disturbing than cute to me. Children simply mirror the attitudes they are taught from those around them (via both verbal and nonverbal communication). So, if that is the attitude you were hoping to instill in him, congrats. I'd just make sure he doesn't develop that attitude toward all [demographic cohorts]. And knowing what good parents you both are, I know he will be taught [good socialization skills]."

Again, not really a friendly thing to point out. Not really my place, as a friend, to bring it up (unless, of course, it's affecting my child, which I don't think Anders' declaration concerning Obama is affecting any of your children).

And last. Lisa, "I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I don't know what else to say. I respect our differences, but to be honest, [Emily's constant touchy feely-ness] is more disturbing than cute to me. Children simply mirror the attitudes they are taught from those around them (via both verbal and nonverbal communication). So, if that is the attitude you were hoping to instill in [her], congrats. I'd just make sure [she] doesn't develop that attitude toward all [people, strangers and non-strangers alike]. And knowing what good parents you both are, I know [she] will be taught [boundaries and personal space]."

Who knows, maybe these examples won't strike the same chord that Lisa's genuine comment struck with me, exactly because they are made up. But, what it all boils down to is this: we are all doing our best to teach our children to be good and righteous as we see those to be defined. And I don't think any of us would take kindly to the suggestion that our children's education is progressing inadequately or improperly. Especially not from a friend! And especially not based on an innocent, little story involving an innocent, little 2-year-old.

I absolutely concur with Brooke that political opinions can be shared respectfully amongst friends. But when that opinion is conveyed, rather, as a disappointment and a warning aimed more personally at the parental attitudes instilled in one's offspring, well, yes, I become a lioness defending my husband, my family, myself, and our attempts to be the best we can be...our way.

So, still confused. Still hurt. Still upset. And now wondering why, Lisa, instead of answering my questions you are now casting yourself as the misunderstood victim in this conversation rather than the "blunt", must-get-this-out-of-my-system instigator.

P.S. I am not throwing stones. More accurately, I have put up my defensive shield to protect against the stones hurled at me. Please don't forget that you began this and even stated on your blog how much more you appreciate a friend who will tell you that "[you] look fat in that dress." And here I am being honest and you're running away crying "victim!" In truth, the only thing I have thrown at you are, as yet, unanswered questions.

napnotes said...

It is your anger (not controlled as you indicated yourself) that worries me, both on this blog and your political one. If I were in your home, you would never speak to me in such a manner. I no longer feel welcome in your life. I hope you find peace and hope you get to a point in your life where you can meet well-intentioned opposition and not always come out swinging. Heavenly Father loves us both.

Kari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
napnotes said...

I deleted my first comment and am pasting it here with a clear translation, so that there can be no confusion of my intentions:

“I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I don't know what else to say. I respect our differences, but to be honest, this story is more disturbing than cute to me.”

TRANSLATION: You are my friend so I’m trying to be careful as I respectfully disagree as someone who isn’t of the same political party.

“Children simply mirror the attitudes they are taught from those around them (via both verbal and nonverbal communication).”

TRANSLATION: If the parents or caregivers are of one political persuasion, the children will often have the same political leanings.

“So, if that is the attitude you were hoping to instill in him, congrats.”

TRANSLATION: So if you are raising your children to be scared of Obama than you have done your job. And that's okay. You are his parents.

“I'd just make sure he doesn't develop that attitude toward all civic leaders and minorities.”

TRANSLATION: Not all Democrats are bad people even though they may make bad choices and this is our first black president, so kids are trying to figure that all out too. In fact, back to labeling, we both have had very close loved ones who have made very poor choices, but are not absolutely bad people, so maybe it’s not about bad people, but about bad choices.

“And knowing what good parents you both are, I know he will be taught love and respect.”

TRANSLATION: You are good parents! And I love you and we are friends!

emi said...

I feel like this conversation is the ultimate in awkward. I don't really want to contribute to more awkwardness, but I have to say, Kari and Napnotes (who did delete her original comment), you aren't really being awesome here.

There's a lot of condenscending tone, a lot of rudeness, and a shocking amount of refusal to apologize.

Dragging issues that have nothing to do with Liz (ex: minority sensitivity/defensiveness), into her personal blog is not helpful to any friendship.

When you publicly (and wrongly) criticize a friend, straight-up apology usually goes a long way.

If you have real/sincere issues, discuss with the friend in the appropriate time and place, for example, a phone call, or a private email.

Liz said...

Well, since the jury is clearly unanimous in their verdict (though one juror has seen fit to rescind her scathing commentary), let's sum up the findings.

Lisa still claims, contrary to my assurances, that I am angry. And not just here, but, throwing in the kitchen sink, also on my political blog. Okay. Apparently you know me better than I know myself: you know, what I would say in my house and how I feel at any given moment....

Lisa also feels that she is no longer welcome on my blog. While that is not the case, I can validate her feelings as this has been a very intense exchange and I have, myself, felt unwelcome on my own blog since the initial comment.

Lisa also hopes that I can "meet well-intentioned opposition without coming out swinging." I feel this is an unfair synopsis of this discussion as I do not believe that criticism (not opposition) is justified by being "well-intentioned." In addition, I did not come out swinging. I came out defending against the blows that had already been delivered against me and my character.

In a parting shot, Lisa condescends once more by implying that I do not think Heavenly Father loves one of us.

Now Kari, on the other hand....Though she has deleted her comment, it will probably remain with me forever as one of the most memorable, negative comments I have ever received in, well, my life. You see, Kari's verdict is that I "am really losing it." And that I "have been for some time now." And though she has thought this for a while now, "this conversation just confirms it." She is of the school of thought that I have severely overreacted. And she is more than welcome to her opinion, erroneous though it may be.

I shake my head sadly as the two of you declare victory and run. So much for working through issues. And thanks so much for validating my feelings.

For anyone else reading this twisted thread of estrogen gone wild, note that defensiveness met with defensiveness yields...well, nothing good, unless all parties commit to working through the matter until all parties feel equally understood.

If the two of you are amenable, Lisa and Kari, I would be happy if we could continue this discussion via email until we all feel validated and vindicated and friendly again.

Any takers?

P.S. Thanks for the translation, Lisa. I hope that you feel better now.

Liz said...

Oh ha ha, Ems. We suggested the same thing with the whole e-mail thing. Thanks for your comment.

v a n e s s a said...

Wow. All I can say is WOW!

Liz, your ability to keep your cool and defend your family and beliefs without becoming defensive is incredible. How do you do it? I doubt I would have handled myself so well.

Sara said...

Ah, everyone loves you Elizabeth. You're awesome.

Travis and Ashley said...

P W N A G E ! !

In its best form.

With love,

Amber and The Boys said...

Well can I just say that when I read the comment that has been discussed my jaw dropped and I actually read the whole thing to my husband because I was shocked someone would write that! I thought it was a funny story Liz-didn't think of it is political either.

K said...

It is possible for friends to agree to disagree without scarring each other's faces.

Your discussion was interesting. And painful. But it has really made me think about this blog thing, about my roll as blogger and my roll as reader. This is new territory, you realize. A different social situation than has ever existed before in the world. One hopes that we can take advantage of it in love and mutual respect - that it's a new opportunity for us to practice restraint and civility in our intellectual intimacy.

I do hope you all end up loving each other. I really do.

Erika said...

Dear Liz-
I love to read your blog. You are an incredible mother/wife/blogger! I think it is always wonderful to invite political discourse whenever possible. The free marketplace of ideas is essential to democracy.

We need to give our children credit. They are growing up in a time of great racial/cultural diversity. Yes, I know racism still exists. But I also know that our children are so close to Heavenly Father and have the greatest capacity for acceptance of those who differ from them. So let's give Liz some credit. She's not raising little KKK members. I find it so horrid that in this politcal climate one cannot express a differing politcal opinion without fear of being called a racist.

Don't take it personally, you are doing what is best for your children and that is what Heavenly Father asks of you.

audlyn said...

Wow! I'm sure I don't know all the comments and feelings behind them, but I read your blog on Feb. 6th as just a cute moment to remember of what our children say at a young age. I never would have dreamed that friends could read more into it than what it was.
It's okay to remember the wonderful, cute things innocent children say. The comments are innocent too!!!
Love you Liz!

Liz said...

Thanks everybody. It's really nice to have friends and family recognize this story for what it is, a funny, typically off-beat and spontaneous, two-year-old moment.

Erika, thanks for recognizing the absurdity of the racial concerns raised. That particular issue really got my goat. We have lots of Black friends. And we LOVE them and their bright personalities. This is a bit off-topic, but I just love that so many of my Black friends and acquaintances are some of the most friendly, upbeat, happy, optimistic people I know. (Yeah, like I said, off-topic, but there you have my shout-out to beautiful people).