11/10/2011 07:40 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Trying to Explain Hate to My Son

I am one of those people who are enthusiastically enthusiastic. I don't just read a book; I read an eight-book series in under a week. If I start watching a television series, I anxiously wait for the kids to go to bed so I can finish the season as soon as possible. When the last Harry Potter movie came around, my best friend and I made my nieces Hogwarts uniforms to wear opening night. (I have to admit, this wasn't a completely altruistic act; we would totally be wearing them ourselves if we could get away with it.)

So when the Glee movie came around last summer, it was something I knew would make a fun event. My nieces are in their tweens and love Glee, and my sons loved the idea of seeing the Warblers (especially Blaine) on the big screen. Before the movie we were all hanging out at my brother Harold's house. The kids were watching old episodes of Glee to get themselves amped up. My nieces are good kids and know which episodes my boys are and aren't allowed to watch. They had a couple of friends over, and everyone was jumping all around with my boys to the musical numbers and having a great time.

When the part where the two boys kiss came around, my oldest son held up both hands and announced, "This is my favorite part," his eyes glued to the screen. My nieces giggled (they are well aware of his crush and think it is super cute), but one of the other girls looked at my son as if he had grown an extra head.

She turned to my younger niece, "What?"

"Just go with it," my niece said with a nonchalant shrug, and they all went back to dancing.

When it was time to go to the movie, all the kids drove together with my sister-in-law, leaving Harold and me alone in another car. I told him about the girl's reaction to my son's crush, not because I was angry, but because it is not a reaction my son usually gets from kids. Kids accept my son calling Blaine his "boyfriend" a lot easier than adults do.

"Oh, I know who you're talking about," Harold said. "Yeah, her parents are really conservative. She's been raised in an ivory tower: not a lot of diversity and a lot of like minds."

I thought about that for second. While my kids' community does include several different races, cultures and religions, they don't have a lot of exposure to the conservative point of view.

"But you could say my kids are kind of 'tower-raised,' too," I admitted.

"Yeah, but yours is a rainbow tower," Harold stopped himself and then laughed. "That was more appropriate and a lot funnier than I thought it would be."

Earlier that summer we went to Pride. This has been an annual event for us long before any of the boys were born. Our kids love the parade and getting to wave at all our friends who participate. The candy doesn't hurt, either.

While walking through the crowd, my oldest son noticed a protester for the first time. This guy was on his own, shouting Bible verses at a crowd that was generally ignoring him. My son studied him seriously for a moment, then turned to me.

"Mommy, why is he so angry?"

"Well, baby, some people really don't like it when boys marry boys or girls marry girls."

Then he asked his favorite question, the one I knew was coming: "Why?"

And this is where I get stuck, because none of the answers are good:

They think God told them so.

People get a little crazy when they're frightened by things they don't understand.

Some people just need something to hate.

I knew none of those would lead to anything but a lot more questions I don't know how to answer. So, I turned to my 6-year-old son and said, "It's pretty silly, isn't it?" He vehemently nodded, and we continued our way down the sidewalk.

I know he needs to learn about all the hate out there, and I would rather him learn it from us before he gets smacked in the face with it later. But the couple of times it has come up and we've tried to discuss it with him (in a child-appropriate way -- some people think this way, and they are wrong), we hit a brick wall. Our son simply refuses to believe it. The whole idea of people hating someone because of whom they love is something he cannot comprehend, and therefore, we are just plain wrong.

This refusal to believe actually makes me happy and gives me hope for the future. Because the truth is that I like my kids' rainbow tower, and I wish I could live there, too.