Friday, May 27, 2011

On 'Just Being'

Barnes & Noble

We've finally added this book to our library, and I'm glad we did. I was interested in owning it the minute I learned that it existed. Emma and I read it for bedtime last week, and she was very much in love with the idea of being able to express one's self freely. She told me that was her most favorite part of the story. She did not take too kindly to the reality that not everyone feels that way. She responded very strongly to the possibility that a princess boy could be made fun of. She was completely against it, and said that she'd love to have a princess boy as a friend.

Despite the fact that my educational background is based in gender studies, its not something that Emma and I talk about regularly. In other words, its not necessarily something that I school her on. Rather, I take advantage of teaching moments and/or I keep myself available to her with truthful answers whenever she has a particular question. Reading this book together created such an opportunity. We talked about gender, and the difference between gender and sex, because she wanted to know. We talked about the gendering of toys and colors and clothing as I reiterated my belief that objects are just objects - free for everyone to enjoy - that life outside the box is actually ok, and can be quite fun, because I felt it was something she should know. Thinking about her love of cars and sports and legos and video games, Emma was down with that ideology.

I think, the most beautiful thing about this book was its message of acceptance. Acceptance is a much more productive practice than tolerance. Its all about respecting the space and desire of another to 'just be', and teaching our children to do the same in the process. Kudos to the mothers and fathers who are secure enough, brave enough, and who believe in their love for their children enough to lift their princess boys up with support, and for setting the stage for strength and free thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment