April 24, 2008

Texas tries to ease polygamist kids' culture shock

I found the CNN article Texas tries to ease polygamist kids' culture shock interesting beyond the story of their religious sect. Although living in an unacceptable situation when it came to their mental well-being the article, unintentionally, highlights that their are several inspirational components to how they were raised as good kids.

Apparently these kids didn't watch TV, grew their own veg, raised livestock, only ate fresh healthy foods, were very polite and possibly further along in their education than most kids of their age because they were home schooled. The kids are being fostered throughout Texas and the foster carers have been briefed on how to ensure the youth don't face a culture shock as they are exposed to society beyond their compound.

Child Protective Services agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said, according to the CNN article, "We recognize it's critical that these children not be exposed to mainstream culture too quickly or other things that would hinder their success. We just want to protect them from abuse and neglect. We're not trying to change them."

Children raised on the FLDS compound wear pioneer-style dress and keep their hair pinned up in braids, reflecting their standards of modesty. For the same reason, they have little knowledge of pop culture. They pray twice a day. They tend vegetable gardens and raise dairy cows, and eat fresh food. And they are exceedingly polite, always saying "please" and "thank you."

Pulliam said the temporary foster care facilities have been briefed on the children's needs. "We're not going to have them in tank tops and shorts," she said.

In addition, CPS has sent instructions to the foster homes to feed the youngsters fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, rice and other foods that may have been grown on the 1,700-acre ranch. "They don't eat a lot of processed food and we're not going to encourage that," Pulliam said, but noted that if the children want to eat processed or junk food, no one is going to stop them.

Hays and Pulliam said the children will continue to be home-schooled by the temporary foster-care providers instead of being thrown into big schools, where they could be bullied because of their differences.

If this is a throw-back to the 19th century way of living, as stated in the CNN article, I am interested in the fact that these are good, polite, modest, educated kids. The horror of their oppression is unfortunately the frame for their "goodness" but why not encourage feeding and educating kids in this way? For goodness sake, stop them from trying junk food.