My 7-year-old was bragging to certain people that he was reading “The Hunger Games” on the sly.
Of course I was concerned, and I remain hopeful that he only got through a few pages. The adventures of Katniss and Peeta have now been safely moved from our living room to the garage.
But that got me to thinking about other books floating around our house that could possibly pollute a young person’s mind. Anything by Ayn Rand would be top of my list.
Ayn Rand wrote “Atlas Shrugged” and founded the philosophy of Objectivism. She taught that the worst thing a human could do was engage in self-sacrifice.
She was against charity, against helping your neighbor in need, and she probably never donated to a food bank in her life. Rand proudly advocated selfishness. She was also a staunch atheist, and (in my opinion) was against every basic tenant of Christianity.
Oh, yeah, and here’s the kicker: Rand persuaded her husband, Frank O’Connor, and her best friend, Barbara Branden, to be OK with Rand and Barbara’s husband, Nathaniel, engaging in a torrid affair. What a great role model for teenagers, right?
The most famous sentence Rand ever wrote is: “Who is John Galt?”, which is the tagline throughout “Atlas Shrugged.”
Well, I think that the real question is: “Who is John Galt’s mother?” Rand didn’t give a rip about moms. Maybe that’s because motherhood is synonymous with self-sacrifice.
I bet you that John Galt’s mother did a heck of a lot for her son. She knew that John liked his sandwiches cut into triangles, not squares. She picked up his dirty socks from the floor and washed his laundry. She spent countless hours helping John memorize his multiplication tables.
When Mrs. Galt was five minutes late to John’s second-grade vocabulary parade and missed seeing him spell the word “nonconformist,” I bet she felt really bad about that. His pain was her pain. It doesn’t matter that her reason for being late was because she was buying him new pants.
Every mom knows that self-sacrifice begins even before your child is born. Either you hand over your uterus, or you submit to the lawyers, social workers and home inspections that come with adoption.
Try doing any of that without sacrifice. Dads these days give up a heck of a lot too, and don’t think I don’t notice.
Rand never had children of her own. If she had, maybe she would have known what it was like to hold a sweaty little toddler in your arms at midnight while your husband is stripping the bed linens covered in vomit.
“Poor baby,” you’re thinking. “Mommy’s here, and I’ll stay up all night if I have to.”
That part you do out of pure love.
The next day when your 2-year-old feels better and you’re the sleep-deprived wreck? You keep going anyway. That’s called parenting, and there’s nothing objective about it.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.