family dinner discussion

By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting

Political correctness is a technical term that usually calls an individual to exercise restraint for fear of discriminating against a disadvantaged group within society. Over time, the term has become hijacked to refer to real or perceived discrimination that may not even be the intent of the speaker but is nevertheless inferred. Of course, it is now being taken farther. An innocent comment that may at some point have been considered on the cusp of being politically incorrect is now being deemed as hate speech.

Parents have seen this development and in an effort to raise sensible young men and women have begun to adopt a lot of the political correctness we are currently seeing. Yet is this really such a good idea? Should you be a politically correct parent?

In Some Cases, Being Politically Correct is an Asset

Gender-neutral terms are not a bad idea. While we want little Suzie to understand that she can become anything she would like to be, it flies in the face of logic to add a masculine undertone to any and all professions. Policeman, fireman and mailman are gender-specific terms that frequently serve to describe a job. It would be a better idea to say police officer, firefighter and mail carrier.

In Other Cases, It is Ludicrous

Have you ever heard of a holiday tree? No? Well, neither has anyone else. It is a Christmas tree. There is, however, some wisdom to saying happy holidays when wishing someone seasons” greetings. Since you cannot always know what they celebrate if anything it is courteous to keep it value-free. Yet when it comes to specific holiday trappings, there is no harm in using the name of the actual holiday.

Officials Lead the Way

Quoting the New York Post, Fox News recently alerted folks that New York’s Department of education was tiptoeing around the use of words like dinosaur or birthday, simply because they could offend someone. Fearing the rise of unpleasant emotions, these words are being avoided.

Parents are Picking it Up

Parents are by no means immune. There are now warnings against fat-shaming a child, judging a person’s character or evaluating a situation as positive or negative. Many of the problems arise when parents accept the word shaping that is done by officials and special interest groups. Rather than recognizing that some ideas are simply a little out there (yes, it is a Christmas tree; and yes, it can be a holiday season), the parent scrambles to ride the wave or new political correctness in parenting. The results are confused kids who wouldn’t know how to evaluate a situation if their lives depended on it (and, at some point, it just might).

A Parent’s Guide to Navigating a World That Has Become Politically Correct

There is a distinct line between adopting an anything goes philosophy and being mindful of using offensive terms or acting in a manner that could be discriminatory. Knowing how to toe this line is up to you, the parent.

  • Gender neutrality. While it is commendable to couch professions in gender-neutral terms, your child does need to learn the concept of gender. Boys need to learn what it means to become a man and how to become a gentleman. Girls need instruction on how to become a woman and from there turn into a lady. If you are a Christian parent, there is a very clearly defined concept of gender roles and no, we are not talking about women being doormats and men lording it over them. If you are not a Christian, you will do well to train your children to understand the gender roles that you are comfortable with in your family.
  • Tolerance. There is a common misconception that being a Christian must mean that religion is your way or the highway. This is simply not true. Although Christ called you to evangelize, he did not mention anything about snubbing those who choose to believe differently. In short, respect other people’s choices when it comes to faith. Was it not Francis of Assisi who opined that you should spread the Gospel wherever you go, but only use words when it is necessary?
  • Value judgments. The Bible is clear that you are not to judge other people. After all, only God knows what is in their hearts. At the same time, the Bible does urge you to test everything. Although this seems mutually exclusive, in reality, you simply need to judge actions and outcomes. Help kids to understand that some actions are wrong and some outcomes are undesirable.

Sylvia Cochran

Sylvia is a seasoned freelance writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years, and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money. Sylvia also provides Free Online Christian Parenting Courses at Suite 101
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