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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    13 thoughts on “More Than Tractors and Dirt or…

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    1. This post almost made me cry. Not in a profound moving way necessarily…but because a couple of days ago, I walked into the playroom and saw Dominic playing with a doll. I loved it. He was feeding the baby doll and very quietly just looking at the baby doll. When I said “hi” to him, he jumped like he was doing something he shouldn't and I don't understand why! We've never discouraged him from doing things like playing with baby dolls or dressing up. So I'm not sure where he got it. I am pretty sure his daycare environment wouldn't discourage it (he only goes 2 days a week anyway). But he got up andleft his play at that point. My husband told me he found him playing with the doll a day or two before that, too. I love it that he was playing with the doll…but I am sad that he seemed to think it was something he shouldn't get “caught” doing…

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    2. I wonder where he got the “fear” from? I'd say keep encouraging it! We need little boys to grow up wanting to care for children! We are actually planning on getting Henry a “Waldorf” Doll of some kind for his 2nd birthday (I think I'm going to buy a premade body and do the hair and clothes myself). Doll play encourages care of self and care for others – all important lessons for boys and girls. I was really happy to see our daycare encouraging doll play for the little boys and girls the other day!

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    3. yeah, like I said, I”m not sure where it came from either. But I was very encouraging to him that he was taking care of the baby doll. I said, “Aw, Dominic…are you taking care of your baby?” and then I noticed that lately Dominic has been more affectionate toward his little brother and he said, “I need him” one time when he wanted to hold him and hug him. I agree…Love doll play for all children.

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    4. I am pleased to say that my darling daughter who will be leaving for college in a few weeks has managed all of the things on your list! I remember that several people were appalled the year we got her a toy dump truck for Christmas, even though it was what she wanted.
      The boys, they are working on it. My oldest (now 15) is a passable cook, my youngest is learning- slowly, he's not too motivated if he can get someone else to do it for him. But, oh, my, we're having difficulty with your #8! Trying to motivate them to keep themselves clean and presentable is a challenge! Heck, I'd be happy if they would shower regularly without being nagged! Ah, the joys of teenage boys.
      Lovely post.

      Judy

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    5. I love it! I definitely want the same for my boys, (and girls!) but especially my boys. There is nothing more attractive than a man who cooks, then cleans and loves playing with the kids! Your boys will be great men!

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    6. Love your post.As a mum of 2 grown up girls,we always encouraged them to get on with living life.
      All the things you wish for your boy ,we hoped for our girls.I am very lucky and proud to be their mum,they have grown to be 2very fine women.
      Your son will be a fine young man ,
      Laura.xx

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    7. Great lists. I despair when I find so many homesteader, home-schooler and religious blogs oriented toward strictly boy vs. girl activities/attributes. Fathers don't just play with the kids…the good ones understand caring for their children. I won't deny differences exist between genders, but let's stop promoting and supporting false differences and encourage good human behaviors. This opens up the world to all genders. Bravo for your voice on the blogosphere!

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