Our children are so very precious to us
From the day they are born, our deepest concern is their welfare and safety. We work hard to feed them and put a roof over their head, planning for their future even while they lay in diapers unable to speak.
What college will they attend? Will he be a doctor? Will she be a nurse? As we look at our child cradled in our arms we can’t help but to form expectations of what they’ll be, and more importantly, what they’ll be like. Will he be like his father? Will she be like her mother? Our assumptions are that this will be the case. Since we create God in our own image, how can we not create our children in our image as well? Boys will be boys and girls will be girls right?
The Great Assumption
Where gender is concerned it is generally assumed that if a person is born with a penis he will naturally gravitate toward activities that boys engage in, and that girls will do the same.
When a child (especially a boy) doesn’t fit our expectations it’s our t inclination to guide him in the way we think he should go. Our concern is somewhat justified because a boy who is too feminine has a hard road ahead.
Is it wise to force masculine behavior on a boy when it is not natural?
Forcing gender behavior is not mentally healthy because it creates unnecessary limitations on a child’s ability to explore who exactly they are and what role they want to play in their life. Children don’t learn gender-appropriate behaviors only by imitating others they also make choices according to their own ideas of it,
I Know Who I Am
Children grow and evolve at their own rate. If masculinity or femininity is forced upon them before they are ready for it, they may feel we don’t like who they are.
The outcome of this is that they will bury deep that part that we have rejected and show us what we want to see. when subjected to the rational teachings of others the child may bury the true knowledge of who he is deep in his soul where it is safe.
Because of this they never get to evolve past the behaviors that were rejected. This can cause problems later in life. That child may come to distrust their own experience and themselves in general. If a boy is experimenting with femininity it is by far best to let them.
This can be hard for parents. (Especially the father) The man who is secure in his masculinity may view this experimentation as a sign of weakness or homosexuality; however it is more likely that the child is just trying to figure things out, which is normal and healthy.
If allowed to use his imagination to explore the differences between boys and girls, it is very likely that he will grow past it and prefer to be a boy.
Where his view of his father is concerned, it is not correction and teaching that will cause him to want to be like dad. It is his fathers approval that will cause him to love and choose manhood. A father has a great influence over his children, love and acceptance being his most powerful tools. With these, he can show his son what kind of man he should be, and his daughter what kind of man she should look for. The father however, is not the only gender influence.
In our economy moms often have to work outside the home to help make ends meet. The consequence is that children end up spending as much as forty hours per week in childcare.
There are different types of daycare, but the two main types are in home and center based. In home daycare is essentially a business run by a woman from her residence. Center based childcare is run out of a building set up solely for the business and consists of a director, teachers and assistant teachers
In the home based situation the woman running it has little or no supervision on what exactly she teaches the children. Whatever her biases are about gender, they can be transferred to the children without her even realizing it.
In home caregivers need to be careful that what they speak into the life of a child is true and not gender biased. When you tell a boy that pink and purple are for girls, or tell a girl that blue is for boys you are not speaking the truth. What you are speaking is a gender bias that will only serve to rob them of the freedom to express themselves using those colors, possibly for the rest of their life.
Center based childcare facilities are a different situation in that the teachers are a bit more supervised and the days are filled with more structure.
The staff usually consists of about ten to twelve women of differing ages. One would think that in a situation like this, gender bias would not be a problem, but here to, we find that there are strong opinions concerning the subject.
Another issue we come across in center based operations is that clearly order must be kept and the place must remain clean. The need to accomplish this means that teachers must police the activities of little boys so that things don’t get out of hand. This is good and expected for health and safety issues; however there can be unforeseen consequences.
The feminine behavior allegedly consists of having no patience with rough and tumble play, shouting or running around, and in placing restrictive demands on all children in order to keep the playroom quiet and neat at all times. Thus young boys are forced to behave as if they were girls, the assumption holds, and this could be a risk to their identity development.
Wow, who knew that making them behave might influence their gender identity? Kids, can’t live with them, can’t hang them in the closet.
I believe what is most important to consider here is that parents, although they must leave their children at daycare, need to take an active role in what is being taught to them at this level. Of course teachers must keep order, and to some extent children must be subdued, this cannot be helped. Parents however, have the right and frankly the responsibility to lay some ground rules about what their children are taught. Teachers should be made aware that assigning colors to gender is not okay. They should also be directed that channeling a child toward specific gender orientation at play is unacceptable.
Our children are so very precious and fragile. We must safeguard their right to explore gender and allow it to develop freely. When forced unnaturally it can cause confusion and limit their ability to find out who in life they really want to be.