I was speaking to a cashier at the local grocery store recently and she said she was very tired. She shared that she had a two year old little girl and also worked full time. She quickly added that she was married and had a great support system. It was what she said next that caught my attention. She described her little girl as salty-sweet. She explained that her daughter was very feisty and strong-willed (aka ‘salty’) and also a sweetie, but the previous night had refused to go to bed, hence the fatigue.
It was a chance encounter that left me thinking of the old nursery rhyme…
What are little boys made of? What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails, And puppy-dogs' tails; That's what little boys are made of. What are little girls made of? What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, And everything nice; That's what little girls are made of. This is a very old and out-dated rhyme but some still lean toward that type of thinking today. Some little girls are pushed into a role of domesticity or implied frailty while it doesn't fit and boys are can be steered toward the masculine he-man jobs that may also be undesirable. The key comes down to capability. A girl should learn to change a tire, jump start a car, or use an axe. Just as a boy should learn to cook for himself, grocery shop, book an uber, or seek out the answers to any questions. Both are capable and that capability will make each strong in their own right, in their personal environments, learning and gleaning knowledge from wherever they find it. Their capabilities are not tied to their gender, sexual orientation, or how they identify. The idea that little girls are sweet and nice is such a crock and the idea that boys are made full of adventure and mischief is also a misnomer. Nevertheless the conversation with the cashier left it ringing in my mind. A few days later while on vacay, I tripped upon this magnet in a little store in Comox, B.C. I took a picture (below) because it really resonated with me and now regret not buying it. The sentiment is one that I think is more realistic for parents dealing with little girls who have a strong will and drive to experience everything around them. This same sentiment can also be applied to boys. Don't quash their softer side by trying to force them into a box of what you may think a boy should be. Maybe he doesn't like frogs and would prefer to read a book--there's nothing wrong with that. Let him find his way with the at home support required to make him a capable grown adult who will contribute to society in his/her/their own way. Both boys and girls must be allowed to be who they are while still in the safety zone of the nest. It's about building that self esteem and confidence so neither a son nor daughter ever has to rely on other people to show them love and/or acceptance. Children shouldn't be worried about friends, future spouses, or skewed societal views. They can and should prepare for life through education* and their own capabilities. Thats so much more exciting than being tamed into an expectation that doesn't fit the original. sidebar: *education in this context is all combined experiences whether through books, school, parents, walking, talking, breathing, and being. It's the sum of all that is that unique individual.
The grocery store is obviously a place of inspiration (or exasperation) for my Auntie writing. Here’s another post that you should read regarding the way to talk to girls. I wrote it after an older woman called a young girl pudgy–oh man oh man I was ticked off. Read: It’s Clear Some Still Need Rules of Engagement When Talking With Young Girls!
Love your Daughter. Love your Son....But leave them "wild" and let them learn and grow in a natural environment that allows them to explore and be who they truly are. Please know that wild doesn't mean that you let a kid run wild or not provide guidance or discipline ... it's more about letting the true spirit of the child shine through.
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