However, it just so happens that around January 1st of 2013, I officially decided I want to make a point to stop participating in the polarization of America.
To quote Jimmy in one of my favorite movies, That Thing You Do, “I….. I quit. I quit. I quit…”.
In other words, I am choosing to see both Democrats and Republicans as good people.
I am rejecting the belief that “the other side” is completely irrational and/or evil, no matter how extreme or overzealous I am conditioned to believe they are, thanks in part to pseudo news channels like CNN and Fox News.
That goes for whatever “the other side” happens to be, not just political affiliations: pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-gay marriage vs. anti-gay marriage, attachment parenting vs. supporters of the “cry it out” method, gun control reform vs. no gun control reform…
Basically, on all of these controversial issues, the side I am now on is technically… neither. Because I now publicly associate with the third party in favor of removing the “vs.” between the two polarizing sides.
Granted, I still have my personal opinions of how I feel about these polarizing topics, but I am much more interested in attempting to help tone down the collective angst regarding all the controversial issues that divide America.
I am tired of adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
With that being said, I was pretty skeptical a couple of months ago when I was approached by Susan Terkel, one of the authors of the then-upcoming book, The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents.
Knowing that my collection of blog posts on circumcision had put me in the hot seat with dozens of my readers, on several occasions, I had officially decided to retire from ever writing about circumcision again.
Then I received a preview copy of The Circumcision Decision in the mail. After reading it, I decided I actually wanted to participate in promoting the book, as much as possible.
In fact, I was so passionate about this book that the authors asked me to write a blurb for it, which is printed on the very first page, as well as, the back cover of the book:
“With grace, wisdom, and class, The Circumcision Decision impressively presents both sides of the story in such a balanced narrative, that some of us who have already made up our minds beforehand may now find ourselves challenged by the flip side.”
I proudly associate my name with The Circumcision Decision and am pleased to announce it was nominated as a 2012 finalist for the Books For A Better Life Award: Childcare/Parenting.
This book, which is now officially published and available for sale on its website, is the perfect answer to the circumcision controversy and, more importantly, to any soon-to-be parents of a son who are trying to best educate themselves on deciding whether to circumcise their son, or to leave him intact.
My guess is, no matter which side of the circumcision decision a parent lands, reading this book will simply give them the courage, confidence, and closure on how they honestly personally feel about circumcision to begin with.
Back then, you were a 3 month-old fetus who I best understood through a black-and-white sonogram. You’ve come a long way, kid.
But so have I. I learned how to become a dad.
Like Elvis Costello in 1983, everyday I write the book. We figure this out together, in real time.
Along the way, there have been things I’ve said on The Dadabase, that looking back now, I wouldn’t say; nor are they still accurate depictions of how I see things.
There were times I was so zealous about representing myself as a confident dad with a consistent parenting plan, that it probably came across as bravado, not confidence.
And I do regret my former tone in regards to controversial topics like abortion, circumcision, the cry-it-out method, and even politics in general. I see now how I was only adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
That’s not me anymore. Everyday, I’m becoming more like Jack Johnson. And everyday, you’re becoming more like Jack the boy… not the baby.
On Thanksgiving day, Mommy and I were pulling you around the neighborhood for an afternoon wagon ride, per your request.
We pulled around the corner to find two new grandpas getting out of their trucks, so proud to go inside and see their 8-day-old grandson. The two of them had traveled from out of town to see him.
“Oh, 8 days old? That’s the day he would be circumcised according to Jewish tradition. But I guess he was probably circumcised after just a couple of days while he was still in the hospital, right?”
It didn’t end there. I went on about your circumcision and probably how I don’t remember my own.
Then, finally, I shut up.
I reminded myself to just let those two new grandpas glory in their new grandson.
All I had to do was just smile and say some encouraging comment like, “Just imagine, in two years, you’ll be pulling your grandson around the neighborhood in a Radio Flyer wagon.”
Normally, I wouldn’t have had circumcision on my brain. But I had just finished a book called The Circumcision Decision. And evidently, my filter wasn’t working.
I’m referring to the John Mayer song, “My Stupid Mouth,” where he says, “How could I forget? Mama said, ‘Think before speaking.’ No filter in my head, oh what’s a boy to to do? I guess I’d better find one soon.”
Honestly, it had been a while since I had said something that stupid, making things so awkward that the only way to salvage the situation was to politely walk away and say, “Have a nice day.”
Son, I spent the majority of my childhood saying dumb things out loud, which I instantly regretted. I remember in 5th grade setting a goal of trying to make it one whole year without saying something awkward and embarrassing myself.
Didn’t make it a week.
So much of being successful and influential in life is being able to know what to say to people, but even more important is knowing when just to say nothing at all.
As you grow up, I will be here to help direct you on this. I want you to naturally say less stupid things than I did when I was a kid. I want you to learn from my mistakes.
It’s my wish for you that you won’t be able to relate to John Mayer’s song as much as I do.
“Foreskin fibroblasts are used to grow and cultivate new cells that are then used for a variety of purposes. From the fibroblasts new skin for burn victims can be grown, skin to cover diabetic ulcers, and controversially it is also used to make cosmetic creams and collagens. One foreskin can be used for decades to grow $100,000 worth of fibroblasts.”
The article goes on to specifically name SkinMedica, selling for over $100 for a 63-oz. bottle, which was made famous by Oprah Winfrey.
On Plasmatic.com, a review of SkinMedica confirms the foreskin myth to be true as well.
The question isn’t whether or not foreskins are used to make facial cream. The question is… do you care?
Let’s say you found out whatever brand of facial cream you use is made from foreskins, would that keep you from buying it again?
My guess is no.
The exception might be if you happen to oppose circumcision; in other words, you’re an intactivist. Then it might bother you.
But I predict if you’re okay with circumcision, you’re okay with what your facial cream might be made from.
As for me, a guy who happens to not use facial cream, I support a parent’s right to choose circumcision, especially for those who do so for religious reasons, and I believe in the importance of the separation of church and state, therefore opposing any attempts at passing laws to ban circumcision in our country. (Like in San Francisco last year. Not cool!)
So by default, I’m all for foreskins in facial cream. It’s better than just throwing them away or burning them in an incinerator.
Still to this day, I don’t know what ever happened to mine, back in 1981 when I was circumcised… Though I bet my mom tried to save it in a scrapbook.
If you are a soon-to-be parent of a baby boy who has been trying to figure out whether or not circumcision is right for your son, then the AAP’s statement is good news. Now you can have some closure on this subject.
Circumcision it is. Done.
But if you are an Intactivist, one who actively campaigns against circumcision, then the American Academy of Pediatrics’ revised circumcision stance is bad news:
After all, it means that an organization that most parents would find to be respectable and trustworthy is justifying an unnecessary tradition of genital mutilation.
The AAP’s revised policy takes away the credibility of what Intactivists have been trying to tell us all along.
So much for the neutrality of this article: I’m not an Intactivist, by the way.
Like most parents who have decided to circumcise their son, I am not and have never been passionate about the subject of circumcision.
However, on three different occasions now, I have explained what propelled me to choose circumcision:
When it was all said and done, I had no problem saying this to Intactivists:
“You may be right.” It’s just that ultimately, I don’t care if they’re right. What’s done is done.
It became evident to me that the only way I could find shelter from the tidal wave of violent comments I received in those three Dadvice articles was to A) repent of the sin of circumcising my son, B) start using The Dadabase as a platform to preach Intactivism, and C) make an oath to not circumcise my next son, should I ever have one.
That sort of parenting extremism simply turns me off to their ideas, as valid as some of their points may be.
The vibes I have received from most Intactivists have been saturated in condescension, sarcasm, and prejudice.
I realize that stating my opinion on this today is only throwing gasoline on the fire; further perpetuating the frenemy relationship I have with Intactivist readers. Maybe I’m just curious to see if Intactivists will collectively be clever enough to learn how to be relevant in how they communicate with us unbelievers?
Will Intactivists kill me with their kindness? Will they prove me wrong when I say they are condescending to those of us who do not believe the same way as they do?