Much of what I’ve read here, and now reading Sue Monk Kidd’s book (far too late for the book discussion.....) has been raising thoughts for me on how we are to raise our boys in light of the issues many of the women here express.
Can we teach our boys to be more cognizant of gender equality and help guide them from being little boys into the kind of men that better support and validate women?
How do you Moms go about teaching your little guys the proper way to relate to girls and later women?
Some of the little ‘practical’ things which can be heard common in our culture that come to mind
- A boy ought not rough house with a girl
- He ought to open the door for her
- He should treat her with gentleness….different than he treats the guys
My little guy is 5 ½ and I have to admit that all of a sudden I'm wondering about what I say to him. I know that I have said things to the effect of: he should look out for girls, hold the door for them, show ‘care’ for them. Not that he shouldn’t care for all humankind, but I've definitely differentiated as far as girls go.
Is that substantiating girls are weaker, girls are different?? Am I setting him up to be...well, subconsiously thinking of girls as 'less than'?
And how does it relate to, if it does at all, teaching respect for elders…or say, giving up your seat for the elderly......I’d teach him to give his seat up for a girl too…but why? Would I then expect him to give up his seat for every Tom, Dick, and Harry that happens to be seatless? If not, why the elderly? Why girls? Why not guys? What am I saying by differentiating? Anything? Am I taking it too far?
Right now we get stuck for what seems like an eternity while he waits for EVERYONE to come through the door – he loves to hold the door open! Its sweet and beautiful......but I begin to wonder what am I really saying to him – or what am I conveying by what I’m saying…
Should guys ‘look out for’ or ‘care for’ girls?
How does that relate to, or contribute to (if it does), the problems many women here face or the climate of the culture (faith culture included) that we find ourselves in?