One of the challenges that mom has given me is to anticipate the lessons our children need and teach them before that time. She points out that in many ways its easier to teach a fourteen year old how to drive than a sixteen year old. If I don’t want my sixteen year old daughter comfortable in a bikini, then it’s wise to teach her why when she’s four. This is why my young daughters don’t wear bikinis: not because they are sensual on a preschooler, but because my daughters won’t always be preschoolers.
This is also why I feel strongly about teaching my children to choose good and wise friends, long before they have the ability to choose their own friends independently of parents. Skateboarding is inherently fine by me, but I’m not going to encourage my son to become a professional skateboarder. Why not? Because the skateboarding culture is godless, drug ridden, and at odds with Christ and His Word. In keeping with my mom’s encouragement to think ahead, I want to ask myself what I want my children to look like when they are adults. How do I want my daughters to behave around young men, and my son around young women?
This brings me to the question of femininity and masculinity.
Here’s an experiment: Make a list of ten activities or interests you would likely not want your ten-year-old son to pursue because they are too feminine, in some way. Now make a list of ten activities or interests you would likely not want your ten-year-old daughter to pursue, because they are too masculine. Did you do it? Did you have a harder time with one list or the other? I realize that this isn’t a challenging task for some parents, but it was for me.
That’s the trouble actually. I can think of a number of “feminine” activities that I’m not comfortable with my son doing, but I don’t tend to have the same reluctance when it comes to “masculine” activities and my girls. That puzzles me.
Now, I don’t think that climbing trees is inappropriate for a lady of any age but I’m particularly asking myself about neutral activities like this. If I encourage my daughters to pursue activities and habits that are in our culture understood as masculine, am I making it more difficult for her to transition to a feminine adult?
I’ll talk tomorrow more about femininity and masculinity.