“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, Great Speeches
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Attend any social gathering and a few hot button issues exist that you can either avoid or initiate depending on your desire for discussion and conflict. Not surprisingly, two such issues include politics and religion. Throw in parenting strategies with a mixed group of non-parents, new parents and experienced parents and you have a recipe for a very interesting, heart-racing event.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very open-minded home when it came to many issues such as inter-racial marriage, sexual orientation, reproductive rights and even religion (despite being raised catholic). Although all of these issues have evolved in our society, they still remain controversial, and in turn, not as integrated as one would expect by now – or are they?
Being a parent of two teenaged children, one of the big topics in our schools today is LGBTQ. Despite hearing this acronym many times, I actually wasn’t sure what the “Q” represented until now – it stands for “questioning”. So, LGBTQ translates to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning.
When I have talked to my kids, or other teens in my role as a physician, such terms are part the adolescent culture today, however, they are perhaps not so widely accepted otherwise. Fortunately, a lot of readily available information exists to reduce some of the confusion and provide parents a platform to have a discussion, no matter what their family or religious beliefs are. My hope is that if we raise our children to have a strong sense of “self” the rest will fall into place and acceptance of others will just be a part of that.
Admittedly, I have never been one to engross myself in politics but I do try to remain at least superficially abreast of the landscape. Currently, both in Canada and in the United States, the political climate makes it almost impossible not be more in tune and invested.
Here in Canada, at the local level in Alberta were I live, it started with an New Democratic Party (NDP) government after having a Progressive Conservative (PC) government for the previous 44 years! At the national level, a young Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replaced the PC Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
As far as American politics goes, well the late night shows are very grateful for the likes of Donald Trump, but after his recent antics on abortion, I agree with the leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, “Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Horrific and telling.”
On the upside of the seemingly endless abortion discussion, aligning with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Prince Edward Island (PEI) just announced that they will now be offering abortion services. This has been a very contentious issue in the only Canadian province that has never offered this reproductive service.
My husband grew up in PEI and we lived and practiced on the beautiful island for 5 years. The people are wonderful and warm, a common sentiment you will hear about Islanders – an affectionate term for people who are born and raised in PEI. I know they will face challenges ahead on this topic but I trust in the unity and strength of these people.
On a last note, I was discussing abortion services with a colleague, and more specifically, about what people’s perception is regarding the women who seek this service. She very astutely said it is more commonly women with dreams and goals, not the demographic people would imagine. In fact, 60% of these women are in their 20’s and 60% also already have children.
The right to choose is just that and it is refreshing to see the leader of our country being openly supportive on social media:
In life, we can only ever hope that we are moving in the right direction. What do the above mentioned parenting and political topics point to? Progress. The verb progress means, “to move forward or onward in space or time”.
As a primary care physician whose clinical practice focuses on sexual health, I frequently hear about the topics related to these basic human rights in many veins. Ultimately, from my experience, I think the world would be more peaceful if we could just remove certain labels we arbitrarily attach and accept one another for who we are as human beings.
In the end, I believe we are making progress but until such topics are completely integrated into our society we may have to continue to use such attached labels to provide a voice for change and acceptance.
I realize that this post contains topics that inherently incite a response one way or another. Overall, do you think we are making progress as a society for our younger generation?