So a friend posted an entry on Facebook with this link about "Why do we teach girls it's cute or okay to be scared?"
The article poses a really good point. Why do we... as in, we as a society, do that? Men are the ones that do the extreme sports crazy shit, young boys are the ones who get in trouble for running jumping climbing trees, and it's boys in general that are encouraged to do... basically life threatening things, that make you sound like a sociopath instead of a parent if you explain it the right way. "You want me to what? Run as fast as I can into that guy? And hit him with my head and shoulders and knock him down? Why? Just 'cause he has a ball? Won't that hurt him, or me?"
Well, yes, but you'll have a helmet on.
I try not to discourage Dahlia's activities, on the playground or otherwise. Admittedly, she's only four. But still, like just the other day when we had the big Daddy/Daughter day out and she was too scared to climb the rock wall on the jungle gym, which is barely taller than I am, I gave her a push and some encouragement, Dude, c'mon! You've only got two more steps to go! You can make it!
And she did.
But then at home, she sits upside down on the couch and I'm like, Hey, don't do that, you might fall, be careful.
I try to teach her Kung Fu and wrestling, but don't want her to run too fast 'cause she's likely to trip.
In the article, it mentions that the daughter is "klutzy." Yeah, Dahlia is a klutz, she has two left feet, something I'm hoping ballet will help with (it kinda has, but still hasn't helped with her attention span... she was watching herself dance in the mirror and ran headlong into another girl). And she's like that 'cause I'm a klutz, I guess. Her grace and beauty comes from Liz.
And more than that, I did STUPID stuff and hurt myself all the time as a kid. It's just what kids do. For instance, one time Dad told me, "Shaun, don't mess with that plug!" He told me that at least three times. What did I do? I stuck a bobby pin in the lightsocket and zapped my ass across the room. Later, I got my head stuck in the slats of a kitchen chair.
So yeah, kids do dumb dangerous stuff that will get them hurt. As a parent the best you can do is say, "Don't do that." I can't think of how many times we've told Dali "DON'T DO THAT THING!" because it was something dangerous and we tried to explain that if she kept it up, you'll end up in the hospital, or worst case scenario, you'll end up with a broken, crooked, ugly nose like Daddy's.
I know and am ashamed of myself to admit that I would treat a son differently than I do Dahlia.
But it's instinct. It's strangely ingrained in men and women both. But at the same time, I encourage her to be MORE than just a pretty pretty princess (which she does a fine job of by herself) and get down and dirty and fight and claw and scratch and be proud of herself and be be smarter and better if at all possible and... "be a boy." Be a better boy than I was.
Someone's gonna read that and think "Whoa, he's totally projecting on his kid, she'll be fucked up." Well, that's what parents do, they do everything they think is right and and fill you with the flaws they had and add some extra just for you and then help you deal with those flaws and mix it up and hopefully what pours out is a well adjusted individual.
I don't want a boy, I'm happy with my child as she is. But if I can give her strength and courage and wisdom along the way (no Zelda joke intended) I will. If I have to filter that through the eyes of being a man, then that's what I have to do. Part of the wisdom I intend to imbibe her with will be to take what I teach her and make it applicable to her life no matter how she chooses to live it.