Some time ago when I posted my "I Want You to be Average" credo on Facebook, some guy wrote snidely, "sounds like a mom. But how are you going to prepare him for the excellence that comes from hard work and dedication?" I thought this was stupid and beside the point and almost deleted it, but didn't (and once again this comment was "liked" by an older woman with no kids). But it did wake me up to the belief out there held by men that women exist only to castrate their sons. And that it's their job as fathers to "toughen them up". To do what? Be in the military? Be a cop or a firefighter? Is "toughness" and physical aggression an important value in the 21st century western world?
I was, and still am, flabbergasted by a proposition put forth yesterday by Dennis Prager, a radio talk show host I listen to every morning. Now, as much as I disagree with him almost all of the time, I enjoy listening to him because I think he's a gentleman and very smart and philosophical. But yesterday, he was an idiot. He cited some study in which a majority of women, when asked who would they save from drowning first, their beloved dog or a human unknown to them, said they would save their dog. First of all I don't believe this study; but even worse, he used this as evidence as to why women, in particular Hillary Clinton, should not be in power. Huh? I was screaming in my kitchen. What about Margaret Thatcher? What about Golda Meir? Is he nuts??? But again, this opened up the strange world of male hatred of "softness". Which as a woman I just don't get.
I often observe kids and dads while out. And mostly I see dads being gentle and kind with their little boys. But maybe that's because I live in this east LA hippie bubble. I wonder about the tougher dads...or the dads from other cultures. What are they teaching their boys? Are they harming or helping them?
I personally believe it's the dads' focus on raising "tough" boys who don't cry, don't talk about feelings, etc, that left us with this generation of emotionally constipated idiots, and the reason I'm single. So obviously I skew towards the moms are better mentality. But...I so often worry I'm not going to be enough for B. That at a certain age when I can no longer swoop in and rescue him, he's going to need something more, something I can't give him. And I'm not sure what that is, or where to get it. Will a course of martial arts be enough...?
My fantasy of B is a gentle boy who's delighted by butterflies and is kind to younger kids and surrounded by adoring girls. But that may not be who he wants to be. I can guide him to be kind and gentle, and that's great, but at a certain point he's going to be who he wants to be. I mean, I'd love it if he wore vintage clothes and grew an ironic mustache and played a washboard, but he may turn out to be an Alex P Keaton. Who knows? I know I wouldn't love him any less, that's for sure.