The Washington Post recently ran an article, originally published in the magazine Rethinking Schools, titled “The new way today’s 4-year-old students talk about love and marriage.” In the article, teacher J. Jennings discusses the questions and disagreements that arise when her preschool students talk about love and marriage. Disturbingly, Jennings feels the need to correct those preschoolers with a natural understanding of marriage, indoctrinating them into the politically correct delusions that their preschool consciences deny. As terrifying as such an exercise of bald power is, however, even more disturbing are the examples of preschoolers – only four years old – who have already been so indoctrinated by the culture of death that they challenge the natural morality expressed by their peers and turn to the teacher’s power rather than argument to win the debate.
Jennings describes one such episode:
One day, Rory approached me during playtime, visibly shaken. “Those kids are telling me that girls can’t marry girls and they can!”
“Well, let’s go and talk with them about it,” I responded.
When we reached the two girls, I told them that Rory was worried about the conversation they were having and asked what they were talking about. I learned that, just as Rory reported, the two girls had been discussing marriage and how girls couldn’t marry girls….They all looked to me to clarify this point of contention…. I generally feel that when talking about marriage, most children mean adults loving one another, so I went that route.
“Two girls can be in love with each other,” I responded.
“Yeah!” agreed Rory, vindicated by his teacher’s affirmation of this point.
I continued: “And girls can love boys. And boys can love boys.” The three children mulled this over.
“Like my mom and dad love each other,” one of them answered.
“Right,” I said…. The other two children were willing to accept this and incorporate the new information into their understanding of the boundaries of love and marriage.
The problem extends beyond Jennings’ indoctrinating the children with her ideas. She deceptively sidestepped the question of the original argument – whether girls can marry girls – and substituted a red herring – girls can love girls, boys can love boys, girls can love boys. In addition to teaching the children a demonstrable falsehood about same-sex marriage, the teacher further confuses the children by equating adult love and marriage.
Jennings clearly sees her role as larger than teaching the children how to think; she is excited to teach them what to think: “As an educator (and a person), I value conversation as a way to build understanding and transform perspectives….As teachers, through careful listening, we can identify the issues that kids in our classroom are grappling with. And, through conversation, we can model nonjudgmental behavior and challenge binary thinking.”
Although Jennings often frames her style as “helping them understand a different point of view exists,” “setting up conversations,” and “modelling non-judgmental thinking,” she authoritatively interjects into her students’ conversations establishing what is right and wrong. She does this despite her “work to help children understand that just because someone thinks something different from you, it’s not a reason to be mean or dominate the conversation, but a chance to expand on what you know.” Perhaps she should take a turn listening to the wisdom of four-year-olds.
Even more troubling is the confusion our society creates in young children and the dependency on social authority created when rational argument ceases to determine what is or is not a good or true idea. Jennings discusses the confusion felt by children taught by their parents that same-sex couples can be married and be a family when they encounter other children who, standing on right reason and common sense, call the silly bluff. These children do not need to run to the teacher to confirm their ideas, they intuitively sense them to be true. The confused child misled by the various adults in his life can only run to the teacher to protect his indefensible ideas by force.
It is only natural that such confused children will turn into confused adults. It should also be expected that they will continue to use authority to suppress arguments they find distasteful but which they cannot defeat through rational argument. This indoctrination will prove a significant challenge to both religious liberty and to free and rational thought.
“O brave new world that has such people in’t!”