Boys vs. Girls

March 18, 2015

Posted By: Shaunescy

Beautiful rainy drive to school with my children. My son spent the entire ride quizzing us with his spelling list. His sister gives a definition of the word and then I spell it. It is a simple and silly way to get them ready for the day. Best to keep things light on the way to school.

Before getting out of the car my son asks, “Mom, can I tell you something?”

“Sure bud, you can tell me anything. What’s up?” We have about 30 seconds before the bell rings, I should be able to field whatever he’s got, right?

“Well, there’s kind of a war going on between the boys and girls.” He bites the inside corner of his lip, watching me carefully to see what I am going to say.

As a woman, as a humanist/feminist/pacifist mother to both a school aged boy and girl I think I know what I should say. As protective mama bear, I don’t. Instead, I step directly on the landmine laying openly in the field.

Nodding my head, I say, “Yep, that does happen sweetheart. It’s pretty much right on time. It happened when I was your age. You know where your loyalty lies right? It’s with the boys.” Crap. There it is, I’ve said it. I am in this moment reinforcing gender divides.

Before you call me a traitor though, know that these waters are tricky. I know my boy. He is a humanist/feminist/pacifist kid. He knows not to harm others and I won’t hear that he’s been mean to anyone, thrown rocks at the girls or instigated a skirmish. My instant and primary objective is that he’s protected within a group. Still, my advice is lame and wrong.

He takes a breath and sighs, “Yeah mom, but the thing is that I have a lot of friends who are girls and I don’t want to be put in that position.” And I realize that although I have just given crappy advice, I must have done something right along the way, because for him “should do” and “will do” are the same thing. It’s not murky or nuanced for him.

“You are right buddy. I guess you should just avoid the drama. You know what’s right.” The bell rings, “Ooop! Let’s grab your backpacks kids.”

We hop out of the car. My daughter gives me a hug, “Bye Mom!” My son does the same. He gives me a hug and a smile. His friend Ava is right there, “C’mon Ava! Let’s race to the door.”

And they’re off.

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