Eps 499: Making the world safe for all kids with Ed Center

Episode 499

My guest today is our returning friend, Ed Center.  

I kick off our conversation asking Ed what Pride month means to him, and he shares his thoughts: we want to celebrate our families, the history of our community, and acknowledge that we weren’t always able to have these rights & privileges.  It’s a celebration of family.  I ask what we can do to get out of our bubble, and Ed shares simple, do-able ideas around how to talk to your kids and how to grow as a better advocate, while giving yourself grace.  We dig into how not letting discomfort or not knowing the exactly right thing to do can stop us from helping others and why we have to lean into that discomfort.  

Guest Description 

Ed Center is back on to talk more about PRIDE and our kids and parenting as a gay dad. Ed is amazing – he spent time with me earlier this year, episode 451 – from power struggles to connection, and earlier this month as we dug into some listener questions with Jaimie Kelton. To remind you,  Ed is a queer brown dad who coaches parents, educators, and kid-raisers toward greater connection, calm, and joy. He focuses on the needs of families of color, helping people to tap into cultural wisdom while interrupting intergenerational pain.

Community is everything!

Join our community Facebook groups:

Takeaways from the show

  • Pride month is an opportunity to share with our kids that they live in a family with a different arrangement than other families
  • There are many family-friendly Pride events 
  • How do you talk to your kids?  What’s your default language around family, class, race?  
  • Pushing assumptions and changing your language to expand your and your kids’ perspectives
  • We have to stand up for all kids, not just our kids 
  • Pride month challenge: Find and reach out to or donate to small LGBTQIA+ communities & resources in a red state 
  • Be nice and stay grounded in love

What does joyful courage mean to you

Joyful courage means that we move in the direction of understanding that our kids are on a journey to fully express who they are, right?  We have planted a seed, literally or metaphorically (metaphorically in my case), and we tend that, but the flower is going to grow into its fullest expression of its own self.  That’s what parenting a queer kid is, that’s what supporting someone else’s queer kid or family is.  Also, for my own kids, I will say I’m going through a period with my thirteen year old where they are expressing their full selves in ways, and this has nothing to do with sexuality, that are very challenging to me.  They trigger me, they are hard, and to remind myself that it is my job to hold values and a moral compass and also to celebrate and support this flower to thrive in the way that the goddess manifested for them to thrive in the world.  Holding those pieces, that’s what joyful courage means to me.



Joyful Courage Episode 223: Decolonizing Parenting With Yolanda Williams

Joyful Courage Episode 451: From Power Struggles to Connection with Ed Center 

Joyful Courage Episode 495: Showing up for our LGBTQIA+ kids with Ed Center and Jaimie Kelton

The Village Well 

Village Well Parenting on Instagram

Ed on TikTok 

The Queer Family Podcast

Subscribe to the Podcast

We are here for you

Join the email list

Join our email list! Joyful Courage is so much more than a podcast! Joyful Courage is the adolescent brand here at Sproutable. We bring support and community to parents of tweens and teens. Not a parent of a teen or tween? No worries, click on the button to sign up to the email list specifically cultivated for you: Preschool, school-aged, nannies, and teachers. We are here for everyone who loves and cares for children.

I'm in!

Classes & coaching

I know that you love listening every week AND I want to encourage you to dig deeper into the learning with me, INVEST in your parenting journey. Casey O'Roarty, the Joyful Courage podcast host, offers classes and private coaching. See our current offerings.


families, kids, friend, queer, parents, people, pride, kid, support, thinking, great, recognise, mom, move, teens, conversation, years, realise, lean, folks
Ed Center, Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:02
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together. While parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people. And when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already, I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead at Sprout double. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is an interview and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:24
All right. Hi, listeners. Welcome back to the pod. I'm so excited to let you know that our friend Edie is back on Ed centre is back in the house. So fun. And we're gonna talk more about pride in our kids and parenting and Ed's experience of being a gay dad. And he spent time with me earlier this year. Just to remind you all if you're just showing up, Episode 451. We talked about power struggles and moving into connection. And then it just a few weeks ago, we dug in to some listener questions with our now mutual friends. He she was a friend of yours. And now I'm really excited to be connected with Jamie Kelton. And just to remind all of you at as a queer brown dad who coaches parents, educators and Kid razors towards greater connection calm and joy. He focuses on the needs of families of colour, helping people to tap into cultural wisdom while interrupting intergenerational pain. Hi, Ed. Welcome back.

Ed Center 02:27
Thank you. When you said coaches parents towards greater connection calm and joy. I was thinking I had none of those this weekend. Oh, like it was a classic shit show. Yeah, well with spouse ship in lush it all the stuff and like, yeah, okay, reminder, starts with calm, right. That's what I'm in control of. Right? And then we can move towards the connection and the joy, peace.

Casey O'Roarty 03:00
I like to think of it as a compass. Like, that's the direction, right. And I was just talking in my membership community about contrast and how like, the shit show the negative experiences the anger are such powerful indicators of like, Oh, I am out of alignment, right? Like I am in a different direction than the compass that I have pointed towards connection, common joy. So what do I need? What would help me move back in that direction? But I yeah, I like thinking about that as indicators of misalignment. Thank you, Abraham Hicks. Yeah.

Ed Center 03:36
And I want to hold the concept of compass and out of alignment as we move into our conversation today about queer parents.

Casey O'Roarty 03:48
Yeah, whatever. Yeah. Great. Great. So as this show is coming out, we are wrapping up the end of June, the end of Pride Month, and I would love to hear from you. What does pride mean to you? How are you connected to this month and the message? And do you guys have ritual around it? Does it feel I was thinking when I was writing this outline like, is this the holiday season for the queer community? What does it look like in your house?

Ed Center 04:21
Yeah, it is in many cases. So first, before I jump into my experience, I really want to thank and commend you. I know that you are taking pride month seriously in terms of putting together important content and different perspectives for your listeners. And I know you don't just think about this in June or preparing for June, but that you went all in this month. It really matters. And so I see you as a stand up ally, as well as friend and so thank you for jumping in into the query with both feet as we hear this podcast as we Close out. So what does Pride Month mean to me and my family? So I will say that for us as two queer dads, right, it intersects with a bunch of things. Pride Month, Father's Day, and the start of the summer, which is, as every parent knows, like, both glorious and Hell, yeah. Makes it like, Oh, we're going to do this together, we're going to do this together. And what do you mean, like that camp didn't come through. And they're right. So we experience all of that. I will also see that in our house, Father's Day is pretty low key, you would think it's like a national, you know, a huge thing in our family. But one of the disadvantages of not having a mom in our family is there's no one driving the agenda and the preparation. Great. So both my husband and I ended up saying like, Oh, what do you want to do for Father's Day? I kind of want to go to this yoga retreat. Okay, great. I'd like to play pickleball. So like, maybe we end up with some dinner. Yeah. And we do get lots of texts and messages from our friends, which is really, really lovely. But for pride, I will say a couple things. That one, it's an opportunity to visit belies that with our kids, that they are living in a family that has a little bit of a different arrangement than other families do. Because for the most part, my kids moves through life in a very similar way to all of their other friends, right? They go to the same school, they go to the same after school programmes, I'm on text messages with other parents, like when do we need to sign up for this soccer experience? Are you putting your kid into summer camp, right. And so it's very similar to the other folks that we move through the world with, except they have two dads. And we are very blessed that that is not particularly interesting to our kids or their friends or their friend's parents. Right. And so this is a chance to say, it wasn't like this just 15 years ago, right? It definitely wasn't like this 50 years ago. And so we're going to raise up our rainbow flags as a way to say, we want to celebrate our family. And also, this is the history of our community. And we weren't always able to have these rights and privileges. Or if we did, we had to hide it. Right. And so teaching that to our kids in a very scaffolded age appropriate way. And so it's a time to pause and do that. And so we both do that, as well as engage in some of there are so many family friendly pride activities. These days. We went to one family festival and there was a mini parade. I think it went to blocks. And it was led by the tykes on bikes. Awesome, excellent trikes. That's what it was. So toddlers on tricycles. And so it was just a lovely celebration. So that is how we spend pride. And then also on Pride Sunday in San Francisco, we get a babysitter who is a straight ally, friend, and we remind them that is their duty not to go to pride and to stay home with our kids so that we can go out that yes. And so then my husband and I go out we go crazy. Have a couple beers and get home by 430. For a wild

Casey O'Roarty 08:49
midlife. Yeah. You know, when I listen to you talk about it. It's a celebration of family like it's a celebration of your family exactly as it is. And I loved that you said that that visibility piece where you get to be who you are, you get to be visible and always right. Like that's not just in June. Me. Right? Right. But to have a space and time to be in that celebration seems like it's pretty special.

Ed Center 09:25
I remember, I mean, just 12 or 13 years ago, when we would dress up as a family and take our then one kid to a Pride festival. And people I don't know, maybe 100 People asked to take our picture together or take a picture with us. Some people like saw our family and wept at the idea of how to men and our children don't look like us. Right. So like we're clearly an adopted family. And so it was so moving. And just 10 years later It's not that moving. And I think that's an amazing privilege. Yeah. And pride is a term to remind ourselves. Yeah, you know, and our kids aren't babies, so they're not as cute anymore.

Casey O'Roarty 10:16
It's something about a baby man. Currently. Well, I loved the conversation that we had that included Jamie a couple of weeks ago. And you both shared such incredible insights and personal experiences as we moved through some listener questions. And I think hearing from the two of you, is so important in broadening the perspective of people who aren't a part of the LGBTQIA plus community. I was telling you, before we hit record, I recently had a conversation with Yolanda Williams from New York teen decolonize. And that's coming in might be next week, or might be in a few weeks listeners, I can't remember exactly where on the schedule it is. But don't miss it. Because you'll miss it. Yeah. And she's been on the pod before. But I was struck as I was kind of working on this conversation, you know, where I wanted to take it today. I was thinking, you know, it's the same work for straight sis parents like me, raising kids who identify as straight and sis as it is for white parents also, like me, raising white kids, like we get to care about all kit we meaning those of us in the privilege space privilege, like, I don't know, you know, everything's kind of working out for us, the systems and

Ed Center 11:35
right, you're members of communities that have been traditionally centred. Thank

Casey O'Roarty 11:38
you, thank you for that. We get to care about all the kids and all the families and not just the ones that were a part of. And I really, thank you for acknowledging my work this year, around my intention with really celebrating pride. Part of that is an act of intention. And the other part of it is like, Oh, I got my shit together early enough in the year to make it happen, because so often there's these, you know, opportunities to really focus in on something, but I, you know, it's just, oh, God,

Ed Center 12:13
right. It's me. I should do some pride content, right? Yeah, yeah. Anyway,

Casey O'Roarty 12:17
but it just, it made me realise like, oh, yeah, this is we get to stand for all kids and families to live in a world that is safe for them to be themselves. That's right. And we get to be curious, and we get to listen to the stories and witness the pain and the joy and be in the celebration. And I mean, part of it's like, well, yeah, dup, but it's not how it is. There's so much like we often we people can live inside of a bubble. I think many of us and whatever consists inside of that bubble, right in front of us is where we focus our energy. What are some ideas that you have? Because I'm guessing and I believe that most of my listenership is, you know, straight parents raising street kids, not all of them, and most of them are white, not all of them. So this is my attempt at like pulling people out of their bubbles. What are some other ways to think about this idea of those of us who aren't necessarily experiencing the hard parts of being outside of that centred community? leaning in, right? Mm hmm.

Ed Center 13:32
I have a couple ideas on that. Okay, great. So at the simplest level, when you are talking to your kids, about families, other kids, whatever it is, notice how you default to mom, dad, nuclear family, heterosexuality, probably middle class, snus, whiteness, right. And those things come out really easily and naturally, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it's important to check it, right. And so as parenting educators, right, you and I talk to parents, and we might say things like, so one thing that you can do to hold your own time is that your kids can wake up whenever they want, but they can't come downstairs until seven o'clock. Right? There's a huge assumption right there about the size of your house, the number of people in it, the ability of your kids to contain the outbreak, all of those things. And so I tried to check myself a lot on that one would be like a middle class assumption, right and urban assumption, if you will. And so how can we do that? To open up the possibilities of different types of families for our kids, right. And so when kids say like, Oh, I wonder how you know, Natasha, like, Oh, can you call up and talk Just mom. Oh, do we know that Natasha has a mom? Right? Like, do we know it's a mom and dad? Or could it be two months? Could it be two dads? Might she live with her grandparents? Right? Just like pushing the assumptions to expand your kid's mind? And you will find yourself expanding your own in the process, right like that. Yeah, that yeah, that is one. The other thing is, if you know, queer folks, either queer parents, or queer kids in your life, show up in a supportive way for their family. And often that doesn't look any different than it does to show up for any other person, but like, make sure that they are invited to your cookout, right? And make sure that we get texts on Mother's Day, from people saying, like, You are the most amazing mothers in a no mom family, or whatever it is, we see the work you're doing, we celebrate you too, right? Yes, those types of things like matter, because that is a holiday that can feel very exclusive, especially to my kids. And so it's a way that we're pulled in that really matters. And then also noticing, when there may be a situation that is making queer families feel uncomfortable. And there's a lot of that going on right now in terms of policies, procedure, right, legislation, etc. And so sometimes it's nice to just reach out and say, like, Hey, I'm reading this shit about trans folks. And they wonder how it lands on your heart. And I just want you to know that I'm here for you. Right? And I just want you to know that I see this is effed up, too. Right? That's definitely I love

Casey O'Roarty 16:40
that. Yes, yes, yes.

Ed Center 16:43
And then embracing opportunities to be allies, right? That if your nephew, niece, your kid's friend, like comes out, or shows attributes that they may be queer sometime in the future, right? Keep inviting them make space for them. Yeah, right. I recently coached a parent who has a daughter who is very masculine presenting, and she's 11 years old. And the mom was saying that she identifies as female, but she was assigned at birth. And she knows about non binary, and she knows about trans folks. And that may be a path in the future. But right now, she's female, right? She's also an excellent tennis player. And she's playing the youth tennis tour in Florida. And lately, she's gotten a lot of pushback from other parents, never the kids or players, right. But from the parents like, is that a boy? She'd be playing here? What's going on? Why does my daughter have to play right, like tonnes of stuff. And so what this mom has found is that if she emails the tournament directors ahead of time, right to give them a heads up that they get a lot more support. But my other question is, where are all the other families? Right? Because you're hearing from some of these families very negative stuff, right? And you're not going to change their hearts and minds, right, but you need protection from the tournament. But what about the other families there who are kind of seeing this? Yeah, right. Those families? Well, I want to invite them to do is step up and say, Hey, we see this going on. And we want you to know, we're going to support you, however you can. Yeah. Or if you see some sort of interaction, saying, Hey, do you want me to step in and support because I don't feel like you need to hold this all the time, on your own, and I got your back. And whatever your beliefs are, you're being an a hole. All of that. So like being willing to show up for people that really matters as well. So those are some things that I think can be very, very helpful. Yeah, to just like, let families know that they're loved and appreciated and cared for. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 18:55
Well, and that last bit reminded me of, you know, all the conversations we have about bullying with kids and being a bystander versus, you know, standing alongside their friends and saying, No, this isn't okay. Like the adults get to do the same thing. Yes, yeah. And model that and just, yeah, not for the sake of modelling. But because that's the right thing to do. Right. Yeah.

Ed Center 19:21
Look at the opportunity. You have to teach a lesson to your own kids, to the kids and families around you. Right? Like, this is how you do and you're allowed to fumble and stumble your way through it. Right? Because you're probably in your fight flight at that moment. And you don't quite know what

Casey O'Roarty 19:40
to say. Right? Right. Right,

Ed Center 19:42
but stepping up and saying, Hey, this feels funky. Yeah. Do you family who feels like you might be verbally attacked? Like what do you need?

Casey O'Roarty 19:53
Yeah. And that's the world we want to live in. Right is the one where we're standing up for each other. I'm thinking back to that. conversation I had at the start of the month with my business partner about her journey with her non binary child. And, you know, I leaned in and I asked, you know, what are your fears and worries? And she was so great. I think I shared this with you on one of our calls. She just said, I don't have any because I am holding a vision of a world that loves and accepts and has space for my kid. And yes, there are pockets. We both live in pockets that are very proactively supportive of the queer community. And there are people with so much power right now who have so much fear and misunderstanding spewing hate and making, like you said, laws that are harmful. I mean, yes, to the in the moment, stepping up and stepping. And what else can we do about that? Yeah, that isn't resorting to violence. Right, right.

Ed Center 20:52
So you mentioned Jamie, our friend who is on the last podcast with us. Yeah, she is the host of the queer family podcast. And she is very involved in moving civil rights issues forward during this crucial juncture. So I would say listen to her podcast, follow her on Instagram, because she has great sources for things to do. I would also say for Pride Month, find a local community in a red state that needs support around advocacy and legislation and donate to them. Right. And so like Google, Alabama, LGBT, q plus a plus civil rights use, right and find out what the local organisations are, because honestly, the big national umbrella organisations Human Rights Campaign, it's out there funded, they're fine. Right? Go find the little local organisations that are like holding on support for, you know, black trans folks in Mississippi, and throw some financial love their way. Yeah. And if you really want to get even more mobilised, send them an email, I sent you a check. What other kind of support can I give you? No, I

Casey O'Roarty 22:13
love that. I love that thing. You do, too. And I did

Ed Center 22:15
it last year, and I forgot about it, I'm gonna make it. I'm

Casey O'Roarty 22:21
looking for my post it like we'll text each other. Yes, definitely. Yeah, yes, yes, yes. And I love how simple that is. Like, it's a simple move. And, you know, and even if you can't send financial support, shooting that email and saying, What do you need? What else could support look like? Again, it doesn't take much. And it makes a difference, it makes a difference. And, you know, we had a whole other plan for this conversation. And then when I sat down to write it, I was like, actually, I want to go somewhere else. And I'm so glad that we're here. And talking about social activism, and thinking about Alana and this vision of the future where everybody gets to belong, and who live in their fullest expression. And you know, how important it is. And again, kind of themed around what Yolanda and I were talking about, but more in the context of brace, loud voices in action. What do you think holds people back from making moves from being active? Yeah.

Ed Center 23:21
So one, like, we're all busy, right? And by definition, your listeners are busy people. Yeah. So that is part of it. And I think so often, our activism gets focused on the things that are near and dear to us and impact our own kids and families. Yeah. Right. And this is a place where I will really push critically with love on folks in our bubbles, right. And so coastal democratic voting folks, often resource hoard in the sense of we are focusing our volunteerism, our time, our money, our effort, our attention on the things that impact our own kids. And so how do we broaden that, to think of doing that work so that it supports kids of colour? Kids with disabilities, kids with, right? So as simple as thinking about a birthday party for kids at a one of those inflatable bounce places? Yeah. Right. Like for kids who might be autistic, or who might have physical disabilities? Like how can they interact with a space that's loud and different and requires physicality? I think we should be asking ourselves those questions about how to be as inclusive as possible for many families. I will say for example, I organise the first grade soccer team at my My son's school. And I knew that it would be the middle class families who were mostly Asian and White, who would jump on the opportunity as soon as it was emailed out, right. And so I was very intentional about reaching out to certain families first, and also creating a three tiered pricing so that there is a regular a scholarship and a sponsor level, so that we could pull different families in and it was still hard. Right, it was still hard, but thinking more broadly, about how to be inclusive, I think, is part of the deep work that we do.

Casey O'Roarty 25:38
Yeah. And, you know, it's, I think it's so interesting is once you start seeing, and it probably will, I'm sure is a different journey for me than it's been for you. But as my eyes have opened to the level of like, individualism and centering of, you know, our little bubble, once my eyes are open to that, I see it everywhere, like I was on Instagram, and there was a funny meme. And it just was something like, you know, the wrath of a mom whose kids need them to stand up for them, we ride at dawn or something like, it was so great, but I wanted to screenshot it, and like cross out my kids and put in all kids, right? Like, it was screaming out at me, like, I'm gonna stand for my kid, which on one hand, like, of course, please stand for your kid. And like this messaging around, the most important thing we can do is tend to what's right in front of us when what's right in front of us is so unique, especially when you're somebody straight, says white, middle class person like me, it misses so much of what the world actually needs. The world doesn't necessarily need my kids to be at the top of the ladder. The world needs everybody to have access to the top of the ladder. Right? Yeah, correct.

Ed Center 27:02
And supports to get there. Yeah.

Ed Center 27:10
So there was I haven't heard it so much lately. But 510 years ago, there was kind of this conversion narrative, if you will, of Republican politicians who were pretty strong in their anti LGBTQ i A plus vitriol, and then somebody close to them would come out as queer, a child, a nephew or a niece or something. And then they would shift their talking points and shift their emphasis saying, I realised now that my son, for example, is gay. And I want to create a world that feels safer and more inclusive for him. And so I recognise how I had been wrong. Yeah. And then they would get applause. And And my point was, it has to be your own son, right? You to recognise this. Right? Right, you couldn't see that somebody else's child was being targeted. Right. And right now, it really is being targeted. And you couldn't figure out how to step up in support for somebody else's kid who is a little different from your kid maybe, and a little uncomfortable for you. And that meant that you were pushing policies to make this person's life insufferable. Like that is that drives me crazy. And so to open up to a place where we can think about how we love our own children, and how we want to create those possibilities for everybody to have safety, security, belonging and the right to blossom in a way that they want to define for themselves, right. That's what we all want. Yeah. And we want it for our own kids. And we should want it for other kids as well. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 29:07
So listeners, if you're feeling uncomfortable right now, I'm glad about that, because you should we get to feel uncomfortable when the light starts to shine in a new way. That highlights where we've been inactive where we've been a part and played a part in this broader narrative of not letting there be enough space for everyone. And so if you're mad at me, that's okay. But really, I invite you to look in around the any emotions that are coming up for you as you listen, because it's there's a deep well of self awareness and reflection and possibility and learning that you get to do you know, as you explore and be with whatever is coming up for you as you listen to these conversations and my hope and my guess is the mature Already the people that are listening are like, Oh, wow, maybe I haven't thought about it that way. And now I feel like I have a broader perspective, that's my hope in the listenership. And you know, there might also be some other feelings. But this is where motivation to learn more and to act is born right in this, like, Oh, I'm waking up to something I didn't realise before. And now, now I have new eyes to see out of, what are your thoughts around that?

Ed Center 30:29
I will say lean into the discomfort, because that's where growth is always. Yeah, right. There's no growth without engaging that edge. And then the other thing I would say is give yourself grace and say, like, oh, shit, I really did screw that up last time. I'm gonna acknowledge it now and do better this time. Right. And so a quick example, in a different field. I was doing a presentation for parents, and it was in person. And I had my slides up, and I said, I'm not going to read the objectives, just go ahead and read them for yourself, right? There was a blind man in my room, and they knew it ahead of time. And they did that. And this person didn't say anything. And then leader, I caught myself and I was like, I just want to recognise my Oh, shit moment and say that publicly, and also commit to doing better for the rest of the training and for here into the future. Right. So it doesn't have to be like, a whole sorrow saga.

Casey O'Roarty 31:34
Right. Right. Right. And he didn't have to take care of you. Right? Yeah. Right.

Ed Center 31:38
And the next time, you are in a position where you feel like something uncomfortable is happening, for whatever reason, right? Feel free to like, lean into that edge. Yeah, right. I saw a woman screaming at her kid before school, at my kids school the other day. And it was really uncomfortable. And also like, we get her frustration there. And I was like, I'm gonna lean into the discomfort this time. And I just walked towards, and I said, this seems really frustrating. Do you need any help from me? And she gave me a look that said, mind your own business. And I said, seriously, is there anything that I can do to support you? Because I know this is tough? And she said, No, thank you for asking. And then calm down. Yeah, a little bit, right. And then was able to get her kid to school? It could have gone a different way. But I guess like, I'm gonna do the uncomfortable thing today and see if it helps.

Casey O'Roarty 32:47
Yeah, I think that there's something there, right, because I think we shy away from or the not knowing what to do. So we don't do anything. Yeah. Yeah. We don't have to know what to do. Like you leaned in and you interrupted an energetic, right? And it made a difference. And it without judgement. Like, there was no judgement there. It was just simply you witnessing her inside of her experience and saying like, Hey, do you need something? Differences?

Ed Center 33:17
I was doing the same thing with my kids. But it behind closed doors? Yes. The day before, right. And so that's a big part of the difference. So

Casey O'Roarty 33:26
yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's so good. You know, and I think about this podcast, and I think about my mission in my work, which is to take a stand for the adolescents to take a stand for teenagers through working with their adults and the adults in the world. And really, that includes all the teens, that includes all of the teens. And I invite others into that work. And it's really when we can see all the teens as our teens. And I'm thinking and Yolanda and I talk a little bit about this, but just the state of the world and the things that are happening to children all over the world right now. And, you know, the privilege of like, well, this isn't happening in my neighbourhood. These are my families. I can keep scrolling. I don't have to watch. I don't have to listen. And we do. We have to witness what's happening around the world. And, and even the choice and the willingness to witness I think is an act. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks.

Ed Center 34:30
Adolescents and teens. I know that's your sweet spot. I'd love to focus there a little bit because I do think that as you know, the teenagers are so much about, like an exploring and an expansion and contraction of identity. Yeah, right. Like I'm trying these things on I'm going to settle here for now. Right? I'm going to try these things on and that could be like, am I a skater? Do I like to cook right, my other friends are experimenting with alcohol. and weed, what's my relationship with those things going to be all of that stuff? Right? And one thing that I have noticed it's very easy to fall into in the teenage years. For parents of teenagers or kid razors who have or teen razors. Let's say that we fall into gender binary and heterosexual presumption in our language so often and in our actions, right, so, oh, does your friend have a girlfriend? Right? Yeah, sleepovers, boys sleep over at Boys houses, girls sleep over at girls houses. If there's commingling, then there's a different type of energy. Yeah, on that. I mean, maybe like safety and restrictions, right? Those types of things. Assuming binary gender, right. And so I would see if we can expand our language and possibility, right? Do you have a crush on anyone at school? Yeah, who, right even to be so bold as Oh, are there any girls or boys that you're thinking of asking to the dance? Right? Just opening that possibility to say an even if you have, let's say, a straight boy,

Casey O'Roarty 36:19
I have a story about this. Yeah. Okay.

Ed Center 36:21
Even if you have a straight boy, and like presenting straight is straight. And you say like, is there a boy or girl that you want to invite to the dance? It sends a message that the world is his possibility, and you're gonna support him no matter what. And also, we expect you to be this tolerant and open with people in the world as well. Yeah. And even if you want to go to the dance with your friends, go ahead. That's fine, too. Right. Yeah, a lot is happening a lot more at prompts I'm seeing and I think that's a great trend. Right?

Casey O'Roarty 36:55
Yeah. Ian's going with his very best friend Isaiah on Saturday. He was also a kid that I kept it really neutral with. And finally, eventually, he was like, Mom, I'm not gay. Okay, I'm gonna have a girlfriend and I'm gonna get married to a woman. Okay. I was like, Okay, I'm just letting you know, like, whatever. It's all good to me. He nobody did finally, it. Same thing with a lot of Congress. He had to come out as straight. Yeah. And a lot of conversations around consent to the point where he's like, Hey, Mom, I'm not gonna rape anyone. Okay, I get it. Okay, sorry. I might have gone a little overboard. But

Ed Center 37:28
yes, but your values are very clear. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Made your values very clear. Yeah. And not just for you, and your family, but also instilling that this is actually how you move through the world. And that is a huge gift. Yeah. And to give that gift in that perspective to a straight white middle class, young man. Yeah, that's a big deal.

Casey O'Roarty 37:57
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I feel the responsibility, as is for sure, for sure. I love talking with you. I can't wait till the next topic that's going to come up. And I'm going to be like, Oh, I gotta call Ed. Let's have another conversation. So there's we covered a lot. Is there anything else you want to make sure to leave listeners with before we close it up?

Ed Center 38:17
Is there anything else I, I would say that as we think about how we show up for our kids who may be queer, our nephews and nieces who may be LGBTQ IA, our friends, children or even strangers? Right, it reminds me of this story. So my very good friend, his mother is awesome. And she's very Catholic and very conservative. And I have some familiarity with that in my own family. And when my friend came out as gay, his mom went to her priest, and told him what was going on and asked for support and prayers. And the priest said, listen, Judy, you be nice. Oh, that's your job here. The priest, you be nice. I know, you. And I know your son. And he's going to be on his journey. And what he needs is his mom to be accepting and nice. And Judy, I guess whom I love. She's incredibly direct person. And so that feedback, like thinking of her sitting with it, yeah, it's delightful to meet but like, that's what it's really about. Right? And so start there, and like, let's develop our advocacy or support our movements, how we move through the world, how we teach our kids like let's just stay grounded in be nice and grounded in love, and we'll be doing the right things. Yes,

Casey O'Roarty 39:56
I love that. So today In the context of advocacy and ally, ship and action, what does joyful courage mean to you? Joyful

Ed Center 40:07
courage means that we move in the direction of understanding that there are kids are on a journey to fully express who they are. Right that we have planted a seed literally or metaphorically, metaphorically, in my case. And we tend to that, but the flower is going to grow into its fullest expression of its own self. Yeah, right. And so that's what parenting a queer kid is. That's what supporting someone else's queer kid or family. And then also for my own kids, I will say that I'm going through a period with my 13 year old, where they are expressing their full selves in ways and this has nothing to do with sexuality that are very challenging to me. Right then trigger me that are hard and to remind myself that it is my job to hold values in a moral compass and also to celebrate and support this flower to thrive in the way that you know, the goddess manifested for them to thrive in the world. Right and so holding those pieces that's what joyful courage.

Casey O'Roarty 41:26
I love it. Love it, remind everyone where they can find you. On

Ed Center 41:30
Instagram at Village well parenting that Tiktok at queer brown dad, and my website is village well parenting.com Sign up for our newsletter. For June we have a really good one on summer and Father's Day, it's about dad's favourite summer ritual, different dads favourite summer rituals to do with their families. Nice, and they're really fun. So check us out there. Thank

Casey O'Roarty 41:57
you for being such a big part of this month with me, Edie? I appreciate you.

Ed Center 42:02
I feel like pride check. Yeah, all the fun with you. Now I could just kick back and enjoy my glass of wine or my Lacroix with lime and you know, call it a day.

Casey O'Roarty 42:14
Yay. All right, I will talk to you soon. Thanks, friend.

Ed Center 42:18
Thank you so much.

Casey O'Roarty 42:26
Thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at bees profitable.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

See more