COSMO – Building an UN-woke Children’s Library

If 2020 has taught me anything, its that the best way to ensure I raise happy, healthy, independent, resilient children is to commit to homeschooling.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this commitment, which I won’t be going into detail here. I recognize it as an all-consuming task; in order to be successful, it will require years of preparation. However, the greatest (and obvious) advantage to homeschooling is the control I’ll have over the information and ideas my children are exposed to. Most importantly, I will set the time they’re exposed.

My word choice is specific here—I say “exposed” because it is not my intention to hide information and ideas, only limit the age and developmental stage at which my children are introduced. For example, grade school is not an appropriate time to introduce children to gender politics/theory. Children aren’t mature enough to decide what to eat for dinner, let alone make life changing decisions about sex and “gender identity.” Here’s an example of what leftist activist organization Advocates for Youth would like to teach your children.

I will not sacrifice my children’s mental and physical wellbeing so that a bunch of virtue signaling adults can feel good about themselves.

Which leads to the title of the article. You’ll note that I’m not building an “anti-woke” children’s library, but specifically and “un-woke” one. Yes, there is a difference, in the same way one creates an “anti-racist” baby and a baby. “Anti-” bans all nuance. It’s like saying “end of discussion” before the conversation has even started.

This is unhelpful, especially for children in this day and age. Why? Well, like communism, like fascism, wokeness isn’t going away. It will never go away.

Like the foolish humanitarian progressive of post-civil war America, like the pro-soviet libs of Russell Kirk’s days—oppressive, moralizing, totalitarian busy-bodies never go away. The idea merely slumbers, rests, regains its strength in order to rise from its coffin, starving and more virulent than before. We cannot stop it; we can only inoculate ourselves and our children from it.

In order to do that, a conservative family must be willing to tackle difficult topics, including ones we vehemently disagree with. Children are going to be exposed to certain idea throughout their lifetime and they must be equipped to handle the difficult, often contradictory concepts of modern Marxist thought.

Marxism has undermined so much of our society in part due to conservative’s unwillingness to bring down even the most ridiculous aspects of postmodern Marxist thought. The concept of multiple genders has seized so much control of culture that “non-binary/non-gender specified” is an option on a driver’s license would shock people of the 80s and 90s and probably the early ‘00s. Why? Because the idea of multiple genders is, on it’s face, absurd. It goes against what can be gleaned from pure, common, Aristotelian-like observation. But humans don’t naturally operate by Aristotelian observation. Of course we fell behind in the debate, we thought the answer was too obvious to bother debating.

This is dangerous thinking.

Now, Marxist gender politics permeates our schools and infects our children, who have no natural defense against it.

If you’re truly interested in preserving liberty, or even just winning back tiny segments of what’s been taken—then there’s some hard work ahead. It starts in the nursery.

Lenin gives us the most visceral reminder: “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

I’m not like Lenin. I’m not going to write a programme, I’m not going to make you do anything; I have no desire to tell you what you must do. I merely set out the issue as I see it, call it by its name, and offer you how I intend to deal with it in my own house.

Every good endeavor has a guiding principle or mission statement. While my children’s library started out far more organically than this piece would suggest, once I sat down to think about what I was doing, some thoughts became apparent to me.

I will not avoid difficult topics to spare my feelings or comfort.

I grew up in California and part of the school curriculum is learning about the beautiful Spanish Catholic Missions that dot along the El Camino Real up from San Diego through to wine country. These Missions are an important part of my cultural heritage as a native Californian. I’m not ashamed of them and I will never be ashamed of them. This doesn’t mean that I’m going ignore or refuse to discuss the detrimental effect the mission system had on Indian populations. The same goes for the American Colonial era. History is the good and the bad. I’m also not going to ignore the positive effect that Western Civilization has had on the world.

Children will experience a vast array of hardships and emotions. They should be introduced to these ideas within the safety of literature. As I will not spare my own feelings or comfort; I will not coddle theirs.

I love the Babar series of children’s books. The art is adorable and the stories are fun. I went on a hunt to find as many of the books as I could and came upon a review written by a well-meaning woman who was horrified that Babar’s mother is shot by a hunter. It upset her children, and that upset her.

The assumption is that they had a very uncomfortable conversation about life and death and gun violence and probably animal cruelty. She then ditched the book.

While I don’t relish having to explain to my kids what happen to Bambi’s mother much the same way I don’t look forward to talking about Babar’s mom because its painful and heartbreaking and any child would see their own mother in that situation—it should be done. Better to begin a discussion now, with fictional characters, then with a beloved family member.

Reading should be a family activity; I and my husband should also enjoy the books.

One of my favorite childhood activities was choosing a book and reading it out loud as a family. I continue this tradition by reading together in my current relationship. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Hobbit for his children, and it’s easy-to-follow prose, humorous songs, and episodic format make it ideal family reading.

Reading together strengthens bonds and lets readers bounce ideas and thoughts off of each other, letting everyone have a chance to understand a piece of literature on a deeper level. Reading should be fun; everyone should get a chance to enjoy it.

All topics should be welcomed.

I’m not expecting that my children will be interested in everything, so I want my library to provide a wide range of topics to give them options. Not just fiction and non-fiction, but poetry, essays, ghost stories. Although as a child, I hated Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but the option was open to me because we had such a rich family library.

Cancelled doesn’t automatically assign merit.

I don’t like Dr. Suess. I don’t like cancel culture. I’ll buy a Dr. Suess book if my kid’s ask. But ultimately, I don’t believe Dr. Suess will provide any enrichment or interest.

The art is cute and surreal, rhymes are fun, but I’m not interested in feeding money into the estate of a man who so vehemently hated conservatives and supported a “permanent internationalist foreign policy posture after WWII, and for the re-education of people worldwide into the ideals of American democracy.”

His colorful, kooky world is just hiding what he believed—a single, uniform culture built around American democracy. We’ve been paying the wages of his propaganda ever since.

Classics, classics, classics!

This year I’ve undertaken the resolution to read one classic a month. I’ve revisited some books I read while in high school and enjoyed some new ones. It’s been a great way for me to rekindle my love of novels, which has been flagging of late, due to my increased interest in non-fiction, and that contemporary fiction is fairly stagnant.

Reading book like The Beautiful and Damned, Dracula, Wuthering Heights, and the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge has taught me that difficult, (sometimes) even tedious reading is good for the soul.

I haven’t loved every classic I’ve read, but in reading them I understand why they endure even in a time when our schools are increasingly trying to expunge them from their curriculum and replace them with unchallenging, crude, but diverse/inclusive contemporary teenfic trash.

Buy used.

I try to by all my books used now-a-days. I have a local used bookstore that helps me keep my money out of the hands of major chain stores and massive corporations. Another reason to buy used is that books can be expensive and you can’t always know you’re going to like something or approve of it. Two to five dollars on a used book is easy to swing, even easier to throw in the Salvation Army pile if you don’t care for it.

Read and evaluate the books you intend to give to your children.

None of this matters if you’re not being attentive to the information your children imbibe. Most importantly, when questions arise, you need to be able to answer them.

Think of it this way: if a teacher assigns To Kill A Mocking Bird while also reading it for the first time, they’re not teaching, they’re learning. You don’t need to be an expert; you just need to be familiar. One caveat, don’t rely on the words of other parents: they aren’t raising your kids, you are.

Art is important too!

The oft repeated quote of Andrew Breitbart goes like this: politics is downstream from culture. Its repeated so often because it so damnable true and highlights the one place conservatives consistently fail.

Part of the problem is the American Protestant insistence on “clean” art and the American leftist insistence on hedonistic shock. Both of these views misconstrue the purpose of art—which should tell us one thing, the truth.

Spencer Klavan does an excellent job of explaining why we must be surrounded by truth and beauty. You can find art in a gallery just as much as you can find it in a picture book or a poem.

Why I’m choosing to avoid Children’s Bible stories.

Nothing robs music of its power quite like hearing a curse obnoxiously bleeped out. The same principle applies to difficult texts like the Bible.

As I travel my own spiritual journey, I find that there are some intense misunderstandings built around the gentle, watered-down versions of the famous Bible stories and heroes. The choice I want to make treats the Bible like any other work literature, to be discussed at church, to be discussed at home, to be appreciated as art, regardless of the difficultly that might entail.

Of course, I want my children to believe what I believe.

Everyone wants their children to believe what they believe. There is nothing wrong with admitting that. I want my children to live their best, most joyful selves. I know leftism doesn’t lead to that.

That’s why I’ve decided to include the Rush Revere series of books, why I’ll introduce them to the ideas of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates early as I can.

That’s why I want them to read the Founders in their own words, and why I’ve bought dozens of different versions of the Arthurian myths, the complete Grimm’s Fairytales, and the Young Folk’s Shelf of Books.

I don’t want my girls to suffer the confusion of transgenderism brought about by the desire to fit in and feel unique and valued. I don’t want them to feel oppressed by their father, brothers, boyfriends, and husbands because feminism sells them a vast historical conspiracy is holding them down and the only way to break free is to devalue their femininity. I don’t want them to believe that they must have lofty aspirations in order to be respected by society.

I don’t want my boys to feel as if their existence hold backs their sisters or harms their girlfriends and wives. I want them to love and value themselves as men and women, to be confident in their natural observation of self—there are two sexes, boys are boys and cannot be girls, and girls are girls and cannot be boys, men cannot get pregnant, but that it’s okay to be confused because I’ll love them anyway.

I want them to respect and enjoy firearms—to know they have the natural right to defend themselves, to hunt if they want and fight if they must.

I want them to know that for all her faults, Western Civilization has helped more people than she has ever hurt. They can be proud of their lucky membership and they can add to its rich tapestry if they like.

Most of all, I want them to be ruggedly independent and respect other’s right to be independent too. I want them to know, deep in their hearts, they don’t need the government’s spurious meddling guised as help, they don’t need a moralistic busy-body to teach them acceptable virtue. All they need is family, will, and tenacity.      

~~~~

The more I build my un-woke children’s library, the more excited I become at the prospect of motherhood. It’s been fun and self-revealing to rediscover old childhood favorites like The Stinky Cheeseman and Cinderella Skelton.

There’s no telling if my kids will know or appreciate my collection, hell, they may not even like reading as much as I do—but at the end of the day, what matters is that I want to raise August Children and this is a good place to start.

Here are some books I’ve added my children’s library:

Saint George and the Dragon Redwall

Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter I Wonder Why…

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great The Chronicles of Prydain

History Lives  Dinosaur Dinner (with a Slice of Alligator Pie)

My Brother Sam is Dead Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Swiss Family Robinson Sarah, Plain and Tall

Stellaluna Robert Louis Stevenson’s Poetry

Jack London Knight Crusader

The Ravenmaster’s Secret In Their Own Words…

   

Published by Anastasia Cosmo

Contributor to Cultural Revue, Conservative, amateur medievalist and historian, aspiring wife and mother. Follow me on Parler @AnastasiaCosmo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: