Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Trying Our Best to Raise Them Right

I'm a mom of two young boys, and I truly feel like I am in my element raising boys. I dress comfortably, wear very little makeup, am infatuated with sports, love camping and the outdoors, abhor frills and the color pink, and have fallen easily into a supporter of construction vehicles, trains, and kung fu. I'll be honest with you: the thought of having a little girl to raise is kind of daunting to me. I truthfully find myself turned off by things "loudly feminine" as my friend Adrienne put it; if I raise a girl, she'll be destined to be a Scout Finch. She'll probably get muddy in the creek, she'll cheer loudly for the Thunder and OSU (NOT in a little cheerleader's outfit if I have anything to say about it!), her hair bows will get dusty in a box because I'll never put those things on her head, and she'll run races and play soccer instead of attending dance classes (acknowledging, once again, if I have anything to say about it). The whole idea just gets me a little antsy to buck the system so much. I'm sure the truth is that there are complexities to raising girls that you don't really have to deal with too much when raising boys, but this of course runs both ways, and I think I sometimes fail to acknowledge that.

Even though we are not raising girls, BJ and I both feel that we are contributing to the feminist cause in the way that we are raising our sons. Silas and George will grow up seeing a father who loves his wife, treats her as an equal at all times, and never refers to himself as the leader in the home. They will be taught throughout the years that girls have every bit as much to contribute as boys, and BJ and I can only hope that what our boys internalize is primarily what they learn from our home and not what they see in other bigoted places. I smile just thinking of my sons as adult men someday, treating their partners as loving equals and advocating for those with quieter voices. I only hope that we're doing it right.

Emma and Amelia Earhart

My friend Heidi HK posted a blog yesterday that positively melted my heart. I read this post and looked at the images of this strong and lovely five-year-old girl named Emma as she emulated some of the world's finest female role models, and I suddenly felt a peace and even (gasp!) excitement at the possibility that my little growing Mowgli could be a girl. I shared the post with BJ and said, "If it's a girl, we're going to be okay. I suddenly feel as though I can do this!" and he responded with, "Very cool. We could do lots of things like that." The idea behind the post entitled "Not Just a Girl," written by photographer Jaime Moore, was that she wanted to do a photo shoot for her daughter Emma's fifth birthday. In researching ideas for this, she came upon ideas for making one's daughter look like princess after princess; Moore was unimpressed and instead chose five historical female role models from the real world, one for each year of her daughter's life, and she designed and executed photographs with her daughter dressed as each of these amazing women.  Beneath the photos she included thoughts from each role model about the nature of women and/or their role in this world.

Emma and Coco Chanel

 I'll link to it again: please read this post! It will take you 30 seconds and, if you're like me, it will bring a smile to your heart and restore your faith in the universe (and perhaps, more importantly, in your own abilities as a teacher to young children).

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