Capturing Children’s Minds

Can we really afford to teach the next generation that there is nothing distinctive or beneficial about having a mother and a father?

What better way to capture a child’s imagination than with a heart-warming story about cute, fuzzy little animals?

That’s the latest method sexual advocacy groups are using in their efforts to reach the youngest minds in our public school system.

Whether it’s stories about penguins, guinea pigs or even elephants, they’ve figured out how to use fun anecdotes about animals to familiarize children as young as preschool with the idea of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

After all, they know if they can capture the hearts and minds of the next generation, they can permanently change the culture.

Take, for instance, what happened to parents in Alameda, California, where the school board brazenly mandated a homosexual-themed curriculum for elementary kids. It told parents they could not opt their kids out of this teaching — even if it contradicted their most deeply held religious convictions. Or even if they believed their kids were too young to psychologically handle sexual topics.

The curriculum defined family as “a group of people living together and functioning as a single household.” First-graders were to be  introduced to this concept through a storybook called Who’s in a Family? featuring images of same-sex couples interspersed with pictures of animals, including an all-male elephant herd depicted as another type of family. In the second grade, the kids would listen to And Tango Makes Three, a story about two male penguins who supposedly fall in love and hatch a baby chick.

But let’s think carefully about this. Can we really afford to teach the next generation that there is nothing distinctive or particularly beneficial about having a mother and a father? That a family is nothing more than a group of individuals — no more unique than a herd of elephants in the jungle?

Haven’t we already reaped enough of the consequences of cheapening the value of the traditional family and of man-woman marriage in this society?

But the latest news is that we’ve moved beyond penguins to guinea pigs: There’s a new book cropping up in elementary classrooms called “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding.” For kids as young as 4 years old, the book shows two male guinea pigs wearing bow ties, celebrating their “wedding.”

And if you assume this is just a problem in California, think again. The nation’s largest homosexual-advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, has introduced a homosexual-themed curriculum, Welcoming Schools, in elementary classrooms across the land. It radically redefines the meaning of marriage and family. The federal government also lists Welcoming Schools as a resource–and awarded a five-year grant to GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) to target 20 school districts nationwide.

So what’s a parent to do? It’s much easier to be proactive and protect your local schools than it is to get something out once it’s inside the system. So the first thing we can do is learn lessons from events in Alameda and elsewhere in the nation about what red flags to look for:

Lesson 1: Watch out for school programs with innocent-sounding titles like “family diversity,” “safe schools” or “tolerance.”  Many of these programs contain homosexuality components. By categorizing homosexual-themed teaching within a subject like “family diversity” or “social justice,” school officials often try to skirt parental control. They argue that since this teaching is categorized as a social issue — and not labeled as sex education — they no longer have to give parents prior notice and/or the ability to exempt their children from the class. You have the right to ask to see lesson plans. And if you find there’s a problem, don’t be afraid to mobilize other parents to take action.

Lesson 2: Beware of so-called anti-discrimination or anti-bullying laws that spell out special categories like “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” In Alameda, the school board used such provisions to justify these actions. Despite what gay activists claim, your school doesn’t have to politicize the issue in this manner. It’s possible to implement a strong anti-bullying policy that prohibits any harassment against any child for any reason, without adding special categories that bring adult identity politics into the equation and unnecessarily sexualize the school environment.

Lesson 3: Make your voice heard! As a parent and/or taxpaying community citizen, you have more of a vested interest in what happens in your local public schools than special-interest groups do. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Focus on the Family has made it easy for you to do so through TrueTolerance.org.

The site is filled with information from national legal experts, examples of controversial lesson plans that cross the line and fact-based counterpoints to the one-sided messages that sexual advocacy groups frequently give public school officials. Much of this is compiled into professional packets that you can e-mail to your school officials from the “Make Your Voice” section of the True Tolerance site.

The section also provides model parental-rights and anti-bullying policies that have been carefully crafted by national legal experts, which you can email directly to your school officials as an example of positive solutions.

An estimated 90 percent of school-age children are in public schools. If we care about the future of this country, we can’t afford to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in those schools. So let’s speak up — while there’s still time to do something about it.

Written by Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family. This article was originally published in 2010 in CitizenLink.