I’m having a Proud Mom moment, and I had to share.
S and I have been working on her handwriting. In each chapter, there is a concept (animals, foods, shapes). There are various activities designed to give the student a chance to practice writing the words:
We’re working on career words. Her book shows pictures of different people doing their jobs—doctor, nurse, dentist, teacher, farmer, pilot, firefighter, police officer, barber, grocer, construction worker, chef, and artist. S and I noticed that almost none of the pictures show women. In fact, the only jobs it shows being done by women are the nurse, the teacher, and the dentist. Every other picture shows a man doing the job.
We’ve been talking about it, and how even though the pictures don’t show women, women can do all of those jobs. The other day, she seemed rather fed up with seeing only pictures of men. Our conversation went like this:
S: It’s dumb that they only show men.
Me: Why is that?
S: Women can do those jobs too. Women can do anything they want.
Me: Yes, they can. We’ve been talking about that. Why do you think it’s important?
S: Because if those [nurse, teacher, and dentist] were really our only choices, that would be boring!
Me: You’re right, it would be.
S [scornfully]: This book must have been written by a man.
I like to hope that I’m doing a good job with S, making sure she knows that her options aren’t limited. It’s funny, I’m trying to teach her that she can be a strong, independent woman, when I have fallen into a fairly traditional role. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for over eight years, and my two degrees are in…nursing and education. But I chose this life, I wasn’t forced into it. My husband would have been just as happy to be married to me if I’d been a doctor and he’d been a stay-at-home dad, or if we’d both been police officers. He didn’t marry me because I was prepared to be his “little woman.”
Bear with me, this may seem unrelated, but it’s not. The other night, one of our church elders came to see us about some business. (Relax, it was all good. It wasn’t one of those kinds of meetings.) During part of the conversation, he praised me for valuing our kids and staying home with them. But he also praised women who hold jobs outside the home, speaking blessings over their work. He’s a fairly traditional guy, but the whole time the three of us were talking, I never once felt as though he didn’t care what I was saying. He directed specific questions to each of us, but only in the sense that each of us has areas of expertise. As a woman, a mother, and a person of faith, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the respect we received.
This is the way we expect our son to behave. This is the way we expect our daughter to be treated. So far, I think we’re on the right track.