Sunday, August 30, 2009

Arkaedi And Balance Of Loveliness


I try to treat my children fairly. I think I succeed, by and large, but there are a few areas where I am unsure of how to proceed. I don't want to treat them as interchangeable kids. I want to acknowledge and respect the differences, both as individuals and as a girl and boy, respectively. I have a feeling this will become even more important as they grow, and the similarities and differences are highlighted.

I get some strange looks when I talk about Viri being a big boy, or Arkaedi being pretty. I imagine some people are worried that I am projecting stereotypical roles upon them. To a certain extent, perhaps I am. I'm not always sure where to draw the line between traditional and repressive. I'm not sure I am even capable of doing so. I am a product of my culture, good and bad. I don't think a philosophical response to a visceral emotional stimulus is even a good idea. I try and mitigate the worst of my culture. I was lucky enough to be raised without racism or other hateful influences in my home, so I don't need to raise my own children above that. My parents did that work for me. To what extent do I need to work on my gender bias?

I know I will love my kids no matter what they do, or how they choose to live. I will, when they are old enough, try and explain to them I am pushing them to be the best they can be, not necessarily what I or anyone else imagines they should be. I hope they'll understand that. I have nothing but love and respect for my parents, for all the work they did. They wanted me to be me, and even when they didn't get what I was doing or why, they loved me. I imagine my kids will see the same thing, and forgive me if I do make mistakes. I'm sure I will; I'm not perfect.

A funny story about how I talk to my kids: Viri and I were leaving the restroom at a public park, and he had been pretending to be a chicken all day. I got yelled at several times when I said his name. "I'm a chicken! Call me chicken!" So, as we passed this group of grandmothers, I urged him along, "Come on, chicken!" "I'm not a chicken!" he yelled. The grandma's scowled at me. Great, thanks Viri, now it sounds like I was mocking your cowardice! They think I'm a jerk!

Now when they hear me calling Arkaedi a pretty princess they're really going to hate me.

3 comments:

Corinne said...

In regards to the gender thing, you do your best and try not to overthink it. I was concerned that I was praising Echo on her looks, calling her beautiful, etc. so I tried to encourage her intellect as well. I then read that calling your kid smart too much can lead to problems as they don't want to work to achieve things academically because they are used to being praised for simplistic activities. In the end I decided that if the only thing that my kid was going to therapy for was that her parents thought her too smart and wonderful then we're doing okay.

Corinne said...

In regards to the gender thing, you do your best and try not to overthink it. I was concerned that I was praising Echo on her looks, calling her beautiful, etc. so I tried to encourage her intellect as well. I then read that calling your kid smart too much can lead to problems as they don't want to work to achieve things academically because they are used to being praised for simplistic activities. In the end I decided that if the only thing that my kid was going to therapy for was that her parents thought her too smart and wonderful then we're doing okay.

WildBeggar said...

yeah that's basically my conclusion...she is getting huge, and lately i have been calling her pretty mclargehuge and beef slampretty. now THAT will mess a girl up...