I grew up in a family without a father figure. My dad passed away when I was young. My mom worked at the office during the day. My oldest brother, only three years my senior, was essentially the dad in my life then. Of course, I had other dads too. They came in the forms of my uncles. My aunts were sometimes my mom, when I went to their homes to stay, during my school holidays or to wait after school.
So, I did not come from a one father, one mother, family upbringing. However, in my mind, for years, the picture in my head of a family, my definition of a family, was, a father, a mother, and two children, as prescribed and subscribed by our government, our schools, and our society then.
I remember being teased and yes, bullied, by friends for not having a father. Who could blame them? They did not know any better. Our government, our schools, and our society did not educate them any better.
And I always felt like I did not belong and out to place, in school or out of school. And I attributed everything that I was or was not, to the fact that I was a misfit. And one day, subconsciously, I assigned myself the label, that of a misfit and it became a determinant to many of the processes, events, and outcomes, that occurred in my life.
I think about the children today, who do come from “alternative” family types and which, do not “reflect society’s norm” of what a family should be. How much of an outcast they may think that they are and feel. The teasing and bullying they may receive as a result of peers who are not exposed to ideas of diverse family units. How damaging all these can be to a child’s developing self-concept; self-recognition, self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-definition. How the effects can impact in such detrimental ways in their adult lives. And because our government, our schools, and our society refuse to educate them any better, even today.
Now, the National Library Board, the one establishment that is supposed to furnish free resources with potential to extend knowledge, promote critical thinking, open minds, present different and alternative views and ideas, has decided that it would join our government, our schools, and our society, in limiting our children’s vast potential to learn about diversity, inclusivity, empathy, anti-bullying, and so much more, by deciding that it would censure any books in the children’s section which, do not reflect our society’s discriminatory and parochial definition of a family.
And hence, continues the trend of an exclusive and intolerant society and hurtful and hurt children.