Parenting is a complicated gig. Kids come into your life and you are responsible for feeding them and clothing them and loving them and meeting all their basic needs. Add to that cultural norms and it only becomes more complicated because you also have to nurture them as individuals and help them to learn to live in a world that may be at odds with their identity and values. Society gives plenty of messages to all of us about who we should be, how we should behave, how we should look.
Don't we have a responsibility to see beyond those? I think we do. More than that, I think we have a duty to challenge them.
1. You have to deal with a complete breakdown when the kid's favorite dinosaur shirt becomes too small.
2. You have to talk to your kid for the 437th time about wrestling. "Wrestling always ends in tears!" is your mantra.
3. Your kid sleeps with two things: an American Girl Doll and a stuffed grizzly bear.
4. You regularly trip over Hot Wheels cars strewn all over the kid's bedroom.
5. Your kid can make a perfect pot of coffee and fantastic pancakes and hopes to one day wake up before you to bring you breakfast in bed.
6. Your kid is a brown belt in martial arts and can break boards with a punch, chop kick or spin kick.
7. You are thankful that the kid loves black because it doesn't show stains.
8. You regularly feel the ceiling vibrate because your kid's rocking out on the electric guitar. Again.
9. You are forced to endure spontaneous ballet performances in the living room and, if you your attention wavers, you are sternly directed back to the star.
10. You feel like the luckiest person because hugs from the kid with a heartfelt "I love you" are the only things you can count on every day.
Is the kid I just described a boy or a girl? When will it no longer matter?