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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How wide are your horizons?

Vinzcha, Flickr

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?


  1. Like you, I'm totally against the fact that people try to put us into a set gender role. In our home, we have always lived with the policy that there aren't set roles - if something needs to be done - do it!!! And, Chris is way more of a "hen" than I have ever been!!!
    I have several friends who are in same sex marriages or relationships and they are bringing up happy well-adjusted kids!!!

  2. Well said! A good parent is just that, a good parent!

    I question it every day, even in my dreams, lol!

    I saw an interesting discussion on feminism today on HLN between women for and against it in today's world. I took the side of the woman who said stop telling me how I'm supposed to feel and act!

    1. Oh, I agree, if we could only stop telling people how to feel and act, that would be great.

      Try not to have any nightmares! :-)

  3. Good parents work together with the interest of their child(ren) at the core. A family is a unit where love, growth, nurturing, consideration, patience and a whole lot more resides......or it should be in a perfect world but sometimes not all is ever perfect is it, but that is what we aim for.

    Hope this isn't too off topic

    All the best Jan

    1. You're never off topic, Jan. Thanks for the comment! :-)

  4. I'll never forget when I, as a child care center (large one) director, went to a director's workshop, and the man teaching the work shop dared us ALL to, the next time a student got sick, to call the DAD first, no longer the mom. He said, 'dad's should be equally responsible for the parent's welfare, not just the mom. If dad wants to call mom to handle it, fine, but give him the opportunity to be first responder when his child is ill.'

    mind blowing. Seriously. (this was back in the 80's.) (women hadn't been working outside the home for long at that point.)

    Yep, it's always good to try thinking outside our safe, comfortable little boxes.