[Comondrum: Conundrum on a Monday]

When I was younger my mom told me there were three things you never talked about with others:

  1. Politics
  2. Abortion
  3. Your salary

I’m not sure whether this advice was to avoid confrontation, to avoid being categorized as something (namely a liberal) or if it was just the more womanly way to behave (though, knowing my mother, I can’t imagine that had anything to do with it) but regardless, as you probably already know, I didn’t heed her advice very well.

This thought randomly crossed my mind yesterday and I found myself racking my brain trying to come up with a modern day equivalent. What, if anything, would I tell my boys not to talk about with others? What topics, if any, should be off limits? We’re raising our kids in a such a transparent and brutally open society that it’s hard for me to imagine.

I spent a lot of my youth not speaking up and a lot of my young adulthood struggling to share because I was afraid someone might find my experiences or beliefs offensive or uncomfortable OR, worse yet, try to diminish my feelings. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life thinking about what I should have said, talking myself into speaking up and wondering if I should have once I finally did. Those days are in the past now but — because of that — when it comes to teaching the boys I’ve really only ever thought in terms of the things I want to be sure they’re confident, strong and comfortable enough to say:

When you’re being bullied, say something.
When you see someone else being bullied, say something.
When you’re feeling off or alone, say something.
When someone treats you differently for things you can’t control, say something.
When you see someone be treated differently because of things they can’t control, say something.
When you see an adult abuse their power, say something.
When you have a gut feeling that someone is being mistreated, say something.
When you have a gut feeling that someone is struggling, say something.
When you need me, say something.
When you need a hug, say something.
When you’re worried, say something.
When you’re scared, say something.
When you’re lost, say something.
When you don’t know what to do or where to go, say something.
When someone speaks poorly of someone you love, say something.
When you encounter hatred and bigotry whether towards you or someone else, say something.
When you feel pressured to act or behave in a way you don’t feel is true to you, say something.
When you passionately feel like a change needs to be made, say something.

This list goes on and on. But when it comes to things I don’t want them to say, I only have a generic list that could very well be titled Don’t be an Asshole. I mean, doesn’t every parent? 

So, I’m wondering (comondering?), in today’s day and age, what topics — if any — are off limits?