My head is still buzzing from all the crazy fun we had at Mule Day! Every Spring in Columbia, Tennessee for the past 170 years, people have been gathering for one of the “largest livestock gatherings in the world.” I can confirm, there were a lot of mules! Thankfully, a sweet new friend explained to us what exactly a mule is (a donkey and a horse bred together….who knew?) Their huge stature, big, perky ears, and ability to pull their weight had our family mesmerized. I definitely recommend the Mule Day Parade! We saw a TON of impressive animals and floats but mostly, it was really special being part of a tradition that is important to a lot of the wonderful people we have met here in our new State. If you’re ever in town for Mule Day don’t miss out! (I only have one tip for you: don’t forget your hats and boots!)
Before Mule Day, all I thought of when I thought of a mule was a few verses from the Psalms:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.Psalm 32: 8-9
We regularly quote this verse to our children in hopes they will learn to self correct instead of having to be corrected. Children are not mules and of course, we as adults need to self correct every bit as much as our children do, but after listening to a few conversations at Mule Day, I have a newfound respect for the way Tennesseans parent their children.
A laissez faire approach to parenting is, in our view, what has created so much of the chaos and confusion in our culture. Parents allowing children to pick their gender might look really kind and open minded, but it is actually very cruel just as it would be cruel for a parent to give their child ice cream for dinner every night, without care or thought to the health of the child.
In Tennessee, because of the dominant idea that family is important, (you can read more about the dominant ideas in red states here: http://redstateramblings.com/is-quality-of-life-better-in-a-red-state/) parents do something really bizarre, they like parent their kids. Not perfectly of course, but they do.
The way the children speak to their authorities is unmistakably different than what we heard during our many travels in California. I would describe Tennessean parenting as assertive. At Mule Day, I heard so many sweet, young parents being assertive. Telling their kids in so many words, “No, we’re not doing that and yes we are doing this.” I saw dads taking a step away to explain thus and such to a child out of sorts. I saw moms and dads communicating about their child’s wellbeing. Because family is important in red states, kids are important and since kids are important, healthy boundaries are set in place to help kids feel secure and to help them flourish. Before today, I had never seen so many kids in a public place expected to respond to their parents in a respectful manner. I didn’t see parents flying off the handle. I saw parents not wasting time being embarrassed by their kids’ behavior, but instead proactively addressing and redirecting. It was so encouraging to discover there is a large sect of our society that still believes in parenting!
Blue states believe that parents have become obsolete. Through technology and woke indoctrination in schools, they believe they can in a real sense, become substitute parents to our children. Thank God, we know, no amount of progressive indoctrination, no Disney movie, no teacher, no iPad app, can replace a parent. Parents are their children’s greatest influence. And we bear that role, not because the government bestowed it to us, but because God Himself gave us our children, not the government.
If you’ve been watching Hollywood and our liberal media hating on Florida’s HB1557, you know parental rights are on the chopping block. Hollywood and woke corporations, are the ones driving the hate because they WANT our children, plain and simple. They believe you and I are very bad for our children. They call us things like racist because we live in the south, homophobic because we attend church and science deniers because we don’t send our kids to school with masks.
Because America has spent the last 50 years despising children, we now have advocates for infanticide and child sex abuse in our universities and, at terrifying rates, in our courts.
We are living in a culture that sexualizes children. What once was considered so obscene most people with a thinking mind and a beating heart would advocate for the death penalty, is now justified by people like Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as deserving of minimal jail time. Why? Child porn is a “highly sensitive issue” according to CNN. It’s “nuanced.” It’s the result of “10 minutes” of poor choices according to Ketanji Brown Jackson, not evidence of an evil heart and a deranged mind.
Things are not looking good for children in America, which is yet another reason I am so thankful to live in a state that values children enough to protect them. And what is so interesting to me is that this “protection” actually is very simple. It starts with an understanding that we exist for children, not them for us. (If you haven’t yet, you must go read Katy Faust and Stacy Manning’s book “Them Before Us”.)
In order to protect children, there must be an acceptance of the fact that since we are parents, there are certain roles and responsibilities we must expect and accept. A scene from a movie I watched with my husband years ago is ingrained in my mind, even though I have no idea what the movie was about. One line stood out to me. An elderly woman was talking to her party life obsessed daughter who was complaining about her baby. She reached a point where she had heard enough and she stood up and told her daughter to “Shut up and be the f’ing Mom!” That’s the attitude our culture desperately needs. We need to stop being ok with adults putting their desires, their hopes, their dreams above the good of their children and we need to be reminded of the fact that children are GIFTS from God given to us for a limited time to steward for Him, not to use for ourselves. We need to start being the f’ing parents. All of that takes a heavy dose of assertiveness and let me tell you, the Tennesseans have it.
If there’s one thing I learned at Mule Day it’s that Tennessee parents know who they are, who their kids are and what is best for them – to not act like a mule.