A Communist and His Comrades

*Published with permission

Son #2 (S#2) identifies as a communist. I’m not very sure how they/we got to this point, but somehow my wife and I managed to raise a communist. Son #1 is a free spirit who likes to go to mountain climbing gyms while son #3 wants to open a bar someday. Daughter #4 is a shoe fiend — not Manolo’s or Christian Louboutin’s but Nike and Yeezys. Ever the entrepreneur, she buys then resells for a profit.

#1 was 5 years old when #2 was born. As babies, they were diametrically opposed — in everything from weight to personality to behavior. I would often think, well, we have one of each type of personality. What else could there be? Then #3 and #4 were born. I suddenly realized that children’s personality was not opposing sides of a spectrum, but entirely different planes of being. #3 came along and was all fat and sassy with a giant head of curly red hair. He chose not to speak but would aggressively use sign language when he wanted something. #4 came along and she was quiet, sweet, and unimposing. She was just content to be.

#2 was/is the one that devours music. It was interesting to watch him go through his musical phases: Youtube music (In Search of Diamonds and Green Anaconda were favorites); Billy Joel (they saw Billy Joel in concert on New Year’s Eve and got all dressed up “in case they met him”); Gangster Rap from the 90s (RIP Tupac); Kanye (before he went all religious); Punk (Anarchy in the UK!); Underground Sweddish artists (Bladee) and bands that are definitely not mainstream.

I think his political leanings started with the Punk phase — they were into the concept of true anarchy and fascinated with what life would be without any overarching rules. That slowly morphed into socialism and now we have fully landed on Marixist and Leninist communism.

When you think of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin they don’t strike one’s soul as being warm, engaging, and kind people. To me they seem to be cold, hard, calculating, genius thinkers. The difference between S#2 and these historical masterminds, I think, can be summed up in one point: Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin did not attend a Montessori school. I think the following formula proves my point:

Montessori peace education + Marxist/Leninist philosophy = S#2

Son #2 is kind and caring. They are a social justice warrior and an ally. They are concerned for those less fortunate and do what they can to help them. They are not afraid to say fuck you to the people that are doing wrong and to stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves.

I would like to think these attributes come from the way my wife and I parented our kids — our goal has always been to make sure we are raising good adults. But I also firmly believe that his Montessori education contributed to molding his moral compass. They were taught how to share, how to be compassionate, how to think for themself, how to be independent, how to advocate for themself, how to speak in public — all essential skills to being a functioning adult in society.*

S#1 likes to push their buttons and get them revved up by saying some political statement (“Centrism is great!) that he knows is going to raise his hackles and they will launch into a full 3 point sermon as to why his statement is asinine. They are not afraid to stand out and make a statement — joking or not they are always ready to pull out their soapbox.

A punked out, communist Maria Montessori, a combination I never thought was possible. But like I said before, planes of existence.

*Notice I didn’t mention anything about academics. It is my opinion that academics don’t improve a person’s personality, but I digress.

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