More Than Tractors and Dirt or…

12 “Girl” Things I Want My Son to Do

While there is something to be said for encouragement of activities along traditional gender lines (it’s a big debate so pardon me if I leave it at that) there can be a wealth of knowledge and experience that a boy or girl can discover if they are allowed to stray from those traditional paths while they are growing up.  This is not meant as parenting advice (in a “you must do this or your child is doomed” sort of way), but rather an exercise to test your parenting brain to discover more ways to include and encourage your kids in the world around them.

12 “Girl” Things I Want My Son To Do
  1. Play Dress Up: because I want you be comfortable in your own skin and to not be afraid to discover the millions of people you can be.
  2. Play With Dolls: because I want you to learn to be gentle and caring.
  3. Cry: because it’s okay.
  4. Be Best-friends With Your Mother: because I love you and think you’re amazing.
  5. Dance: because you can and you’ll never know if you don’t try. {and who doesn’t love a man who can dance?}
  6. Sew: because knowledge and self sufficiency are amazing tools.
  7. Cook: *see above*
  8. Take Care of Your Appearance: because proper respect and care of your self will give you confidence.
  9. Babysit: because you should know how to nurture and care for the weakest and smallest members of your family and community.
  10. Be the One in “Distress”: because sometimes we find strength and courage when we ask for help.
  11. Talk About Your Feelings: because it’s okay to give those emotions a voice.
  12. Think About Marriage: because it’s so much more than a wedding.
12 “Boy” Things I Want My Daughter to Do
  1. Get Dirty: because every child should know what it’s like have dirty under their fingernails.
  2. Use Tools: because you can and no one will mess with the girl who knows her way around an acetylene torch and a table-saw.
  3. Be Loud: because sometimes you need to be heard.
  4. Like Cars, Bugs and Science: because they are fascinating.
  5. Play Sports: because you should run around and get sweaty.
  6. Know How Fight: because I want to you to defend yourself the best you can.
  7. Go Camping and Fishing: because sometimes the best lessons are learned on the trail or holding a fishing rod.
  8. Be Best-friends with your Daddy: because he loves you and thinks your amazing.
  9. Be a Nerd: because it’s okay to passionate about something.
  10. Be the Hero: because you don’t need to wait for someone to rescue you to have an amazing adventure.
  11. Think About a Career: because no matter where you end you should be able to dream big.
  12. Be Assertive: because you should know your own mind.

There can be some many great lessons to be learned by letting our children explore who they are.  Even if my son never becomes a great cook and my daughter never earns a martial arts trophy I believe that giving them the opportunities to explore can deepen their understanding of the jobs and roles men and women will fill in their lives.

What are some non-traditional activities you’ve encouraged your children to do?  Do you have a son who can make a mean souffle or a daughter who refurbishes tractor engines?

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    Inspired Additions: Simple Living Books for Kids

    I think our local librarians hide when they see us coming on our regular trip to the library.  If I don’t leave with enough books to cover 75% of my torso somethings usually wrong.  I’ve had the great fortune of finding some new gems to add to my “Simple Living Books for Kids” Series.

    At the recommendation of an amazing amount of people I finally got my hands on a copy of

    Little Britches” by Ralph Moody.  The first of a series in which Mr. Moody recounts his days homesteading with his family at the turn of the century.  Kind of like the beloved “Little House” series, but a little bit more honest and raw.  The Moody family definitely goes thru their share of hardships.  Recommended for a slightly more mature audience.  I’d say age 10+ with parental guidance to discuss mature themes like poverty, greed and death.
    On the lighter side of things we’ve also been enjoying:
    “Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House” by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood.  About a little boy and his new neighbor and the world the create out of the discarded cardboard boxes in his backyard after moving to his new house.
    Passing the Music Down” by Sarah Sullivan.  About sharing the love of music through the generations, based on a true friendship between to musicians.
    And just for fun
    When Dinosaurs Came With Everything” by Elise Broach and Illustrated by (my favorite children’s illustrator) David Small.  Just too much fun, this one might just make it’s way into the permanent collection one day.
    Don’t forget to follow the “Inspired” Pinboard for more ideas – HERE