A few weeks ago, I reposted Andrea Gibson’s question, indeed a vital question in Feminism, “What will you teach your son?” Well, I’m not wholly sure that I want children of my own, and even if I have children, how I am I to know if I will have a son? In lieu of kids of my own, though, I do my best to be a great uncle to my sister’s three girls and one boy.
This week, though, I was given a whole new world of responsibility. When my dear friend Stacie told me she was pregnant many months ago, she and her partner came to me and said, “Jamie, we wanted to ask you to be the Godfather, but we’re not sure where you stand with God . . . so . . . will you be our kid’s Fairy Godmother?” How else could I answer than with a resounding “YES!”
After agreeing, I stopped to think . . . this is an incredible amount of responsibility! It is my responsibility to ensure this child’s growth in all things Magic, Maternal, and Magestic, particularly in ways in which the parents are unable.
Well, this week my responsibility began as Jettison (Jett) Wesley Ray Craven was born.
So, on this, the week of his birth, I want to dedicate my blog to Andrea’s question in the form of a letter to my Fairy Godson.
July 19, 2011
Welcome to our world! I know you’re probably wondering why on Earth your loving parents would bring you into this crazy world, and not just because you’re on sensory overload and can’t stop pooping. This is a world of opposites. While filled with so much love, there is so much hate. While filled with so much joy, you will undoubtedly experience an incredible amount of sorrow. While you may be blessed to have all of your needs cared for, there are many more who are not so lucky.
In all of this, there are a few things I want you to know, so I decided to put together a list of little take aways for you on this day of your birth. These are just a few of the lessons I have learned about being a man, a white man, and since you’re new to this being a white man business, I thought I would share them with you. Don’t worry . . . if you forget any of these little nuggets of wisdom, I will be sure to remind you.
- I love you. Men don’t tell each other that often enough. Knowing your parents, you’re going to have a tremendous amount of love to unleash on this world. Never hold it back, no matter what anyone tells you about how men should express their emotions.
- Dancing is awesome. No matter how uncool you think you look, dance more. It’s worth it. Whether it’s salsa, hip hop, or just crazy white people dancing, do it every chance you get.
- You’re a man. With that comes great responsibility. Never forsake that responsibility.
- The most important part of being a man (a real man) is being gentle and never being quick to anger. Your name is Jettison, for we must learn to jettison our anger like cargo from a heavily-laden ship. Being a man means finding peaceful and healthy ways to deal with our anger.
- Men always ask. Never assume that you are entitled to anything (whether it’s your cousin’s cookie or to a kiss from a little girl or boy). Always ask!
- Being naked is awesome. You should probably spend as much time naked as you can without getting in trouble with your teachers or with the police.
- Wear whatever clothes make you happy. If you want to wear pink shoes and tight short shorts like your dad, ignore the people who tell him that he’s a “fag.” They live in a tiny, sad little box. You don’t have to, though. If you want to wear a dress, rock that dress with confidence. If you want to wear baggy pants and cock your hat to the side, more power to you.
- It might take you a little while to figure this one out, but remember: Sex is awesome. After all, that’s why you’re here! In the words of your dad, “Every one of us is literally a walking orgasm! Think about it!” There are ways to make sex more awesome though. It is best when it is part of a loving, committed relationship. It is also best when you ask (remember number 5?)! When in doubt, ask for permission. If you want some tips on making asking sexy (once you’re old enough to start experimenting with this stuff), let me know. Oh, and be safe. If you need condoms, I’m your man.
- You can come to me for anything. Sometimes it is hard to talk to mom and dad about everything, no matter how awesome they are. That’s why I’m here!
- You’re white. Race is a complicated concept that you’re going to learn a lot about as you grow up. For better or for worse, that means that you’ve got a certain set of privileges that come with a really crazy and pretty messed up history of white people in this country. It’s our responsibility as white folks to work to make sure that those privileges don’t exist much longer so that everyone can have the same privileges, regardless of what their skin looks like. It’s your responsibility to be a super sweet anti-racist dude!
- As you get older, you can love and have sex with whomever you like (no matter what anyone tells you). If you like girls, awesome. I like girls, and so does your dad (which is why you’re here)! If you like boys, awesome. I sometimes like boys too! The point is that you should never feel bad about who you like or who you love.
- Though I know it can be boring sometimes, school is fantastic! It’s a place where you can learn as much as you want, and honestly, knowing how smart your parents are, you are going to have so much room in that brain to learn awesome stuff. Use what time you have to learn as much as you possibly can, and share what you learn with those around you. I always am interested to know about the newest thing you’ve learned.
- Alcohol and Drugs are some pretty freaky things. I spent a lot of my life being really scared of them, and that fear is healthy. Keep a healthy fear, but as you’re ready to experiment with those things (if you decide that you ever are), let me know so that we can make sure you’re safe and healthy because they can also be a lot of fun!
- God exists in everything and everywhere. There are so many awesome ways to know God. Experiment a little. Learn as much as you can about how people all over the world come to know God, and build your own personal relationship with Her.
- Your dad wants you to be the most awesome athlete of all time. If, however, you’re the most awesome singer (though not likely knowing your mom’s genes) or even just a really average dancer or actor or chess player or soccer player, that’s okay. Find some things that make you really happy when you do them and do them as much as you can!
- Always be nicer to people than they deserve. That means that if someone deserves you to be REALLY nice to them, you are gonna have to be MEGA nice. If someone’s a jerk to you, don’t be a jerk back. Just smile and keep on rockin’ in the free world.
- Music is one of the most incredible ways that God communicates through us. Get to know as much music as you can in as many different genres as you can.
- Money is stupid. If you have it, cool. Share as much of it as you can so that other people can have some too. If you don’t have it, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to be really happy without money.
- There is a potentially really awesome relationship in every person you meet, no matter how different they may seem from you. If someone looks really different from you or has more or less money or is of a different gender or knows God differently or likes people with different naughty bits than you or is bigger or smaller than you or has different physical or mental abilities than you or is from a different country or just acts a little weird, remember that they might just be your future best friend or the love of your life. Don’t let those differences get in the way. I have to say, I’ve met people from all over the world who have had so many different experiences, but we all speak one language the same: Love.
- Seriously, being naked is amazing. Love your body.
- Fear is healthy. It tells you when to be careful, but a lot of times, it’s good to push past fear to live this life to the fullest. If you ever find yourself not having a new, awesome experience because of fear, interrogate where that fear comes from, and if you still can be healthy after pushing past the fear, push with all your might.
- No matter what anyone tells you, being a vegetarian is actually a really awesome way to live while being good to the earth and to Her creatures. I’ve been a veg-head for a long time, so if you ever want to chow on some seitan and kale, let me know! Oh, and if anyone tells you that you can’t be a veg and an awesome athlete at the same time, tell them to talk to your Fairy Godmother. He’ll set them straight.
- Growth never comes when you’re comfortable. If you ever find yourself too comfortable, it’s time to look around and find ways that you can unsettle yourself so that you can learn something new and so that you can grow into a more amazing human being.
- No matter where you find yourself in politics, engage. Ignorance is never acceptable in this family. And no matter where you find yourself in the political world, always remember to keep people first. People deserve your love and care before anything else (no matter where those people are from).
- Gender is silly. Who ever decided that girls should wear pink and boys should wear blue? Who ever decided that girl friends should hold hands, but boy friends should just punch each other a lot? You should act however makes you happy so long as it is respectful to other people.
- Love is not a passive thing. If you love someone, it means that you are choosing to extend yourself for your own and/or their spiritual growth. Love is active. Love is powerful . . . probably the most powerful force in the world. Ask Harry Potter. He’ll tell you all about it by the end of The Deathly Hallows.
- See the world. See as much of it as you can. Prioritize travel and lived experience over things. You don’t really need that TV, but you do need the experience you’ll have sharing a meal with monks in Tibet or with a Palestinian family and their Israeli allies or with the tailor on that street in Accra, Ghana or that guy you have an amazing conversation with on the bus in Philly or Chicago or rural South Dakota.
- Put the Earth first whenever possible. We kick Her around a lot, but in truth, we’re nothing without Her.
- You will have a tremendous love around you in this life. Never forsake that love, but always look for the ways that you can love someone better or that you can be loved in a way you deserve.
- Be honest. Be radically honest. This will get your far in this life, and there is way too much lying and deception around.
I’m sure that there are countless other things that I will want to tell you, but I think that’s enough for now on this, your first day in this world. Go get some of that boob so that you can grow up strong and healthy.
You are lucky to have such incredible parents, but know that sometimes, they are gonna be wrong. Trust your gut, and look to those of us around you for help.
I love you, little man.
Peace be This Incredible Journey,
Your Fairy Godmother