I just heard a renowned Quebecois speaker give a talk about the role of the father. Here are some of the statements she made:
- The mother's role is to care and to nurture. The father's role is to take the child to the outside world, explore and take risks. (Yeah, that must be why I encourage my kids to handle insects and reptiles, start campfires, ride roller-coasters and climb mountains!)
- Mothers exude warmth, security and comfort. Fathers exude strength, authority and play: "The father's voice is taken more seriously". (They have never seen kids react to my - calm and composed yet authoritative - voice!)
- Mothers are overprotective: "Without fathers, kids would have training wheels on their bicycles until they turn 18". Fathers lack discipline and resourcefulness : "Without mothers, kids would eat KD and go to bed at midnight every day". (Okay, I really have to invite those people to my house for a highly educative - and myth busting - visit!)
It sounded like we had gone backwards a couple decades.
Let's be honest. I have noticed such a trend in parenting roles. But it does not make those roles innate (natural), and it does not make them desirable either. What's more, this binary view kind of implies that without a father (or without a mother), a child's education would be incomplete. How do we explain that homo parental families usually manage to do a great job then?
Last week was Pride Week in Halifax. We went to the parade with some friends. Four adults, five kids between the ages of 6 and 12. Questions were asked. Questions were answered. In the midst of it something hit me: the Pride Parade is about so much more than being gay (or bi) and/or a "gender bender". The Pride Parade goes so much further than "flaunting it" (sic), as they say.
- The Pride Parade is about supporting equal rights for all.
- The Pride Parade is about giving everyone some space to explore and wander out of the neat boxes of gender binarism.
- The Pride Parade is about opening our mind and expanding what we consider to be natural, acceptable and even beautiful.
- The Pride Parade is, for many, the only way to celebrate openly (and yes, sometimes ostentatiously) what they have been denigrated, discriminated and humiliated about for so long.
- The Pride Parade is about seeing love for what it is: a wonderful thing. Period.
How often do you question the current state of affairs?
How does this all talk to you?