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“Ask a Priest: Should I Let My 4-Year-Old Read a Pro-Gay Book?”
Q: My 4-year-old son is in a preschool, and recently I found out they read a book called My Two Dads (or something like that). It doesn’t sit well with me that they read this, but my wife doesn’t think it’s an issue since one would see that in the world. We like the school, the teachers are very good, and we’ve been there for years. It’s a very “progressive,” liberal part of the country where we live, and so it’s not too much of the surprise that the school would do this. But mostly the school is just about being outdoors and emotional intelligence. They are very loving, kind, and accepting people in many senses, but I’m almost positive that they have many beliefs that differ from the Church. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t have my kids go there just because of the book (otherwise we have no problems). However, all my son’s friends and a lot of our friends are connected to the school. I don’t want to do something wrong or put weird ideas in my son just to make things easier for me. But I do want to consider my wife’s and son’s feelings. Any guidance would be helpful. – T.S.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It is good that you are showing concern about your son’s formation. What you describe seems to indicate that your concerns are well-founded – and that you might want to consider doing something about it. Sooner than later.
You mention that you think the school has many beliefs that differ from the Catholic faith. Yet, you say that “the teachers are very good.” If they are teaching things that go against the faith, one wonders in what sense are they “very good” for your son.
Moreover, it is interesting that your main focus is on the book. Your observations about the school would indicate that the Two Dads book is only the tip of the iceberg of the moral thinking that guides the place.
Whether you want to expose your son to this kind of thinking is something you need to reconsider very, very seriously. Parents will someday have to answer before God for the moral education of their children.
At the very least you might consider explaining to the little one why this two-dads stuff isn’t good. One wonders, though, whether a 4-year-old can distinguish between what you tell him and what he imbibes at school.
Being in a “progressive” part of the country means that you will have to be on constant guard against non-Christian and anti-Christian ideas. Allowing a 4-year-old to be exposed to pro-homosexual literature might not make your task any easier down the line.
You might want to consider something radical, such as looking for another school or even resorting to homeschooling.
The ultimate criterion here should be the spiritual health of your family and not just their “feelings.”
And the idea that it’s OK for a 4-year-old to be exposed to the Two Dads book “since one would see that in the world” is a pretty weak argument.
There are all kinds of things that one can see in the world – terrorist violence, drug abuse, pornography, prostitution. Would we want to expose 4-year-olds to that, too?
Moreover, the Two Dads thinking can have an especially insidious influence on your son later on as he approaches adolescence and tries to understand and integrate his own sexual identity as a male. Having Two Dads in the memory banks won’t help him. (The school’s emphasis on “emotional intelligence” is another thing that sends up a red flag, but that’s a separate issue.)
Perhaps this is a moment when the spiritual leader of the family is called to show a bit of tough love. For the sake of all the souls at home.
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