Friday, 18 January 2013

Church Pastor Poses With Granddaughter In A Bathtub.

So... a grampa took a bubble bath with his four-year-old granddaughter. And her mother took a photo. And the photo was posted via Instagram. And oh by the way, the grampa happens to be a senior pastor at a mega-church in Chicago. And now everyone is freaking out over the photo.

Bishop Larry Trotter says his family was visiting him. He was taking a bubble bath when his four-year-old granddaughter asked if she could join him. Why not? Trotter claims he and the granddaughter were both wearing swimming trunks and that the girl's mother was present through the five minutes the girl was in the tub. But the photo has brought a furious storm of criticism to Trotter and his family. And I can see why!

I kind of sympathize with Trotter up to a point. I'm sure at the time, in his mind, this was all perfectly innocent. I don't buy that bit about both of them wearing swimming trunks -- that smells like baloney. But I doubt he was having creepy, pedophile thoughts about his granddaughter.

Still, I wouldn't be okay with this if I were the girl's mother. I think it's okay for parents bathe with their babies. I've done it. But I stopped once my son was toddler age -- well, more because it was just too splashy by then than because I thought it was inappropriate. But I think for everyone there's sort of an age where this starts to feel weird. Remember how freaked out people were when they found out Gwyneth Paltrow bathes with her school-age kids?

Then there's the generational difference. It's one thing to be body-positive and free around your own kids. But add another generation and... I don't know, I have no justification except that again, it just feels weird to me. Grandparents bathing a baby, changing its diaper, helping toddlers get dressed, all seem fine. The idea of bathing with grandparents, though, just makes me cringe a little.

And then there's the gender issue. I think it's fine for kids to find out that our bodies all look different. But you have to watch your kids closely for when they start showing their own sense of modesty. Some kids never have any -- other kids want privacy at an early age. I think this photo would be less disturbing if the girl were with her grandmother (as long as the grandmother's chest was fully submerged), or if it were with Trotter and a grandson. But there's just too many taboos thrown together here: Gender, generation, age. I mean, pick one or two out of three and it's not quite so bad. Don't you think?

Of course, in another culture in another country people would be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Obviously it was a bad idea to 1. take the photo and 2. post it on Instagram. (Trotter said someone else posted it on his account.) I hope Trotter's career survives this scandal! I think people need to give him a break. But a few lines were definitely crossed here.

Do you think it's inappropriate for kids to take baths with their grandparents?

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