Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Raised Liberal in a Conservative Home


I was reminded recently about something one of my siblings said.  In many ways, it tells me why I am the way I am and also why I have one child of conservative nature and one of liberal.  I raised them the way I was raised. I know it is easy to make fun of  a liberal education as someone who will never make much money.  But I am in good company because those of the liberal education include minds like Socrates, Plato, Mark Twain, and Einstein. I can live with that.  Keep in mind though that liberal has more than a political meaning.

My sister once said "we were raised liberal in a conservative household."  I suppose that would give me a reason as to why I am, I think, fairly middle of the road.  Liberal in some areas and Conservative in others.  My dad was very conservative, in most areas.  His thoughts of hippies and the whole antiwar movement of the sixties was very clear to me.  My eldest sibling who graduated during that era was also quite clear on her beliefs. We were taught, you see, to stand on our own beliefs.  My dad and she may have disagreed, but it was always based on the respect of knowledge.  None of us would be easily led or should I say misled.

We were taught to find answers and that knowledge was the greatest wealth one could have.  We were taught to respect our elders but that didn't mean we followed them blindly.  Dad had lived on his own too long.  He was self-reliant.  He stood his ground but listened and learned. We were also taught you voted for the best candidate not for one party or the other.  This meant that we had to have knowledge of the candidates, what they believed and what they said.  The party was irrelevant.

He understood the civil rights movement and the dangers of blind racism.  To this day I will never forget when King was shot.  At the time, we were being visited by my great uncle who was a member of the old South.  The shooting came on the news and my uncle announced ...well I won't repeat what he said.  My mother and father were both less than happy about his reaction and for that matter the language he used.  Without ever really discussing it, I knew that it was wrong.  My parents had made that clear.

I am not really sure what the political views of my mother are or really were when growing up.  I know she would not hesitate to discipline us which could involve the use of a ruler.  I suspect though her views are considerably more liberal than my dad's were.  What I do know is again, every thought we built was on a respect for knowledge.

For them money was something that you budgeted.  Wealth was not a goal.  Thought was the goal.  Learning was the goal.  While I never became the dentist my mother wanted (another story), I became, all of us became independent thinkers.  We truly were given a liberal education in a conservative home.