Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Survival skills

Boys can play with action figures, dirt, cars, and guns.  They should never be allowed to play with dolls, have tea sets, or do anything with pink.

Girls have to play with only girlie things.  To step outside of that mold and allow them to play with whatever they want would most likely bring an end to the world as we know it.

I happen to disagree with that entirely.

You would think this phenomenon would have gone away years ago, but I still know people to adhere to it.  I (which obviously means we) decided, before we knew if we were having boys, girls, or a mixed batch, it didn't matter what sex they were as we would let them play with whatever they wanted to.

To that end, I got them their very own workbench as a second birthday present.  It has nuts, bolts, tools, and a working vice. "Working" is a very liberal term, apparently.  It does work, but it is far from functional. 
Yes, it does come with a cell phone, for some unknown reason.
My own father was always very good at letting us "help" with projects.  I credit him with my ability to fix, or at least rig, almost anything that breaks.  I'm not going to say I can totally fix anything, as micro-soldering is outside my capabilities at this time, but for the most part it holds true.  I will say that had I not been involved in helping him around the house I never would have been able to finish out two basements without hiring it done.  The money I saved was no small sum, but the pride in being able to say "I built this" is so much greater.

I've heard so many stories (from friends of mine who are less than handy) about their own father's way of letting them help.  It usually involves swearing (like the father in A Christmas Story) and always ends the same way with the father saying something along these lines:

Not like that, like this.  If you can't do anything else, just hold the flashlight.  No, over here!  I can't see anything!!  Just give it here, I'll do it!!!  You'll be more help just watching TV.
I plan on getting my girls involved in anything they want to help with, to a certain extent.  Obviously, I won't enlist their help if there could be danger, but that goes for any child, regardless of sex.
It's easier to concentrate when your tongue is sticking out.
Safety first!

Actually, I plan on getting them involved even if they don't seem to want to.  I don't see anything wrong with a girl knowing how to change the oil in her car, or replace a tire.  Little lessons in repairing broken toys, replacing batteries, minor electrical/plumbing work, or anything else which can be done around the house can go a long ways in aiding their development.

Hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, and a general working knowledge of miscellaneous items around the house are all skills they'll be better off having in their quiver.

The biggest benefit I see, based on what I've seen in my own life, is the quality time we'll get to spend together.  I can guarantee you my relationship with my dad would be a fraction of what it is today had we not spent time doing these little things together.  From chopping wood, to doing minor repairs around the house, to hunting or fishing - I would be less of a person today than I am had I not spent time doing this stuff with my dad, and I know my girls will appreciate it some day as I do.

Thanks Dad.


championm2000 said...

I love this post for two main reasons...

1. I love how you are breaking the gender stereotypes when it comes to toys. It takes intentional effort.

2. I love how you give your own dad a shout-out! Aren't dads great??

Helene said...

I love this post for the obvious reasons!!

I love that my boys want to learn how to cook. And I love that my daughter wants to help Tim work on a fixer-upper car he has sitting in the garage.

Although I have to tell you that I freaked out a little bit the other day when one of my little twins asked if he could wear a pair of his sister's underwear and one of my bras under his clothes. It was Tim who had to calm me down, saying it was probably just a temporary phase but even if it wasn't, we'd deal with it and accept him any way for who he is.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Here's to raising strong, independent, smart women! Love it!

As we have both boy and girl toys in this house, I can wholeheartedly tell you that the more popular toys are the boy toys...they're just more fun.