This is one in a series of guest posts by other bloggers. Read to the end for a longer biographical note on today's guest blogger, Zoie from TouchstoneZ. Zoie tells about parents who made the choice to work through a challenging dilemma consensually as a family.
Guest post by Zoie from TouchstoneZ
Last year the son of friends of mine asked if they would help him create his Halloween costume. Intrigued by the idea that their son wanted to make, instead of buy, a costume, they readily agreed. But, what he wanted to be gave them pause.
He wanted to dress up as a Nazi.
This family normally practices consensual living and allows all members of their family to make their own decisions. This decision was a tough one for them.
So the parents discussed it together first. They decided that they were uncomfortable with their son1 dressing in a Nazi costume because of the potential hatred that would be directed at him, because of the hurt it might cause those affected by the Holocaust, and because of how their family would be viewed.
They thought about the visceral hate directed at Prince Harry of England when a photo was released of him dressed as a Nazi as he attended a private party specifically designed to be inappropriate and tasteless. They wanted to protect their son from threats or harm that wearing the costume might bring.
They thought it would be disrespectful to the memory of the Holocaust victims. This was a line that should not be crossed. There simply was not an appropriate answer for this issue.
They knew their son would be interacting with strangers and neighbors while trick-or-treating as well as with family and friends at a Halloween party. They worried there could be lingering doubts about their son’s character and about their radical parenting style that could outlast Halloween night.
Their next step was to find a way to address all of these concerns and come up with some solutions they could work on together with their son.
I admire these parents because they gave a lot of thought to understanding their own feelings on the decision. They were willing to put aside their strong emotional reactions in order to work through the issues rationally. They rarely deny requests from their children, as they firmly believe that everyone’s needs in the family are important. The parents do not simply hand down decisions. They mediate and compromise to find a result that best meets everyone’s needs.
They sat down with their son and shared their serious concerns. They had also worked out some ideas for compromises about when and where to wear the costume that would meet their needs to protect and support him. They were resigned to supporting whatever decision he made and would work with him, even though it was hard for them. Most of all, they wanted to hear him out.
My kneejerk reaction to this was the same as the parents’, except I would need to do some serious soul searching to let go enough and trust in my son. That is, until I heard the reason their son wanted to dress in a Nazi costume.
He said that he wanted to be the scariest thing he could think of. If people saw him, they would have to confront their own fear and hate. They would not forget.