Loving your children

While I lived at home with my parents, I had much opportunity to witness how my sister treated her children.  She always encourages them in any interest that they have.  Her oldest wanted to play violin, so she found a violin for him and set him up with lessons.  Her youngest wanted to raise some chickens, so she bought some chicks and my dad helped her kids build a coop for the chickens.  She always does what she can to help her children accomplish things that they are interested in.

As I mentioned briefly before, my mom did the same thing with me.  When I was a boy and expressed interest in learning how to crochet, she taught me without hesitation.  She taught me how to sew, iron, and cook.  And, as I recall, it was almost always because I asked her to teach me.  She taught all of us children how to cook, because we each took turns cooking for the family.  But, I know for sure she didn't teach everyone how to crochet (in fact, I don't think she taught anyone except me).

I've been following this blog called Raising my Rainbow for some time now.  The author is a mother with two boys, the younger of which is effeminate. His name is CJ.  He likes girl toys, he asks to have his birthday cakes decorated with Disney princesses, and he even celebrated his 4th birthday with the princesses at Ariel's Grotto in Disneyland.

I admire this woman so much for what she is doing.  So many people try to make their children fit into a mold as they're raising them.  So many parents try to force their boys into the male stereotype and girls into the female stereotype.  (It's not just parents, either.  Friends and other students at school can be very harsh against a "girly" boy.  But that's another topic for another day.)  What's sad is that people such as Dr. Phil and Dean Byrd try to encourage parents to force their children into these narrow gender molds that we have.  Well, I have news for them--some people like tomatoes and some don't.  You don't have to be a boy to like tomatoes and a girl to like mushrooms.  So, why do we insist that only girls can like dolls and only boys can like GI Joes?

I've read stories about boys who were taught that their interest in "girly" things was bad and their parents even instituted a reward/punishment system to encourage him to fit the stereotypical male norm instead.  It is psychologically damaging to the child.  Telling them that the things they find interesting are wrong and that they should find other things to be interesting is not healthy.  So, when someone like Dr. Phil gives advice to that effect, I definitely find that to be disgusting.  Please, whatever you do, don't try to control what your child likes.  Don't try to tell them what they should be playing with or who their heroes should be.  Let them express themselves.  Let them have their own interests.  Love them for who they are.  Don't try to use love as a reason to change them into something they don't want to be.