Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dedicated to Kind Hearts Everywhere

Marsha & Tad Wedding Day
When I was young, my wise mother told me "marry a man with a kind heart."  She continued to say that "as your husband grows older, possibly losing his hair and growing a bit out of shape, just like you" if he has a kind heart, this part of him will never change.  I followed my mother's advice and it has made all the difference in my life.

During the early years of our marriage, Tad & I were not always patient partners and good listeners.  We have gotten better over the years, but we have had to work hard. Communication has been the key.  For those of you who know Tad, talking is not his favorite pastime.  I, on the other hand, can chat for hours, analyzing and discussing a topic at length.  I have learned to talk less and he has learned to talk more.  We even have a special signal when he can't talk or listen one more minute . . . a simple wink means "I am at my limit."  Sometimes, I don't see the wink and then he has to wink and point to his eye.  

Marsha & Tad Christmas 2011
In the end, I have loved this man, because of his wonderful heart.  He has been my rock through transitioning as a mother of a lesbian daughter and then transgender son. And his heart has shared many unforgettable moments with me and both of our sons. Ironically a heart has no gender . . . it just is. So, one day I hope people will support the marriage between two hearts . . . then sexual orientation, gender identity, race or religion wouldn't matter.  This is a world I dream of for all . . . 

The Union of Two Hearts

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teachable Moments

Last week, my educational consulting took me to the mountains of Colorado to observe and make recommendations on a work study program in Allenspark.  Thirty-five high school students came to live for ten day on a ranch .  Each day they worked on the ranch and studied about Colorado history, rode horses, and reflected on how they could leave their mark on the world.
One night I heard from a chaperone that some harassment was going on with two brothers and one student who they thought might be gay. During one of the activities, one of the brothers made an insensitive gay comment.  I turned to the older brother and said gently, "Please don't say things like that.  I have a gay son and it hurts me when you talk like that."  The big, burly student looked down at me and sincerely said, "I am sorry, Marsha."  At the close of the activity, the facilitator praised students for their participation and also challenged them to be more compassionate supporters of their fellow students.
Later that night, the two brothers, who made the gay comment, were seen talking with the student they had been harassing.  They were apologizing for their comments and explaining they meant no harm.  Without direct prompting, these two boys had taken it upon themselves to be more caring and kind.   I returned back to my room after hearing this story, my eyes filled with tears.  Never underestimate the power of your words spoken with love and acceptance. 
Each of us has the ability to change hearts and minds . . . .  . . . .