Monday, October 15, 2012

Please, Let Boys be Boys!

One thing that troubles me is an imbalance at the way we approach an injustice. Instead of setting things right, we fight injustices with more injustices. One group of people was persecuted and put in concentration camps then in return they persecute another group of people and put them behind occupied checkpoints. The people, our children whom are getting hit the worse by this false sense of justice are our Boys (whom grow up to be our Men). The idea that girls have been oppressed, so it's the boys turn to suffer is disheartening. Experiencing this attitude is not just hard as a mother of boys, but also as a mother of daughters who wants them to be married to eligible men. This is not about blame, although if the shoe fits, its about lets admit there is a problem and lets work together to fix it. We need wholistic environments where boys are appreciated for their strengths and girls are equally appreciated for their strengths, both is needed to continue society.

And we created you in pairs (of male and female) ~ Quran 78:8

However, lately I have seen alot of injustice when it comes to boys. And as a typical American, I think I was insensitive by the pop culture of my time. I grew up on shows like the Facts of Life, Who's the Boss?, and Mulan where men were denigrated in a sly comedic way. So, I never paid too much attention to it until recently, until my 9 year old says "The girls get away with everything and the boys are always in trouble".




This change happened when we started to attend a homeschool co-op. I will write another post about the pros and cons of a co-op, because there is much to tell for those who are interested. I will say that a co-op can look very much like a Public school with the same drama, the same group thinking, and the same drudgery of school life lacking the excitement of learning. It can introduce ideas to your children that do not align with your morality and outlook on life, even when the people may share your same Religion, Race, or Social attitude. A homeschool co-op is not for everyone, just as homeschooling is not for everyone. I think we should make careful decision in the education of our children, not just based off of academics, but their spiritual, social, and emotional welfare. A five year old child should have just as much joy in life and learning, as a ten year old child, as a two year old child, and as a 15 year old young adult. If we find that spark fading in our home, school, co-op and other learning environments, we need to reevaluate our decision and find what best meets the need of the individual child.


I am no longer insensitive to the plight of boys, my 9 year old opened my eyes, not just to other people's injustices but to my own. And so my new motto is: Let Boys be Boys and Let Girls be Girls. It really is a liberating statement, if you are by yourself, you may just want to yell it. I have practiced Let Girls be Girls for a long time. I remember when Big A was in public school  in the first grade and she came home telling me that some girls said she was a tom boy because she liked to PLAY and not sit around and be girly. I told her that she was not a tom boy, and nor is she a girly girl. I told her to tell those girls that "I am JUST A GIRL"  Let girls be girls without the labels, without the boxes that are defined by man, allow her to be a girl defined by God. And I am happy to say that she is still just a girl who loves to play softball and to crochet, who loves blue and loves pink, who giggles when she is nervous and smiles when she accomplishes something big. However, with my boys I have to learn to let a boy be a boy. I have to deprogram many things that I have been taught and the ideas of others around me. The only outward support of boyhood has been from Conservative Christians. From people like Meg Meeker MD author of Boys Should Be Boys



Or from my favorite catalogs and boys adventure store JM CREMP's which you won't appreciate until you order your own Free adventure catalog and then give it to your son (or husband) to smile and laugh over.

Although, Muslims have many boy support systems, it is becoming overshadowed by the Feminist convert or Liberal convert who has allowed culture to enter without a Religious filter. The argument that men have pushed an oppressive women culture in the name of religion, so it is our turn to do the same is like concentration camps to occupied checkpoints. We can not fight injustices with injustices: nobody wins. We must stomp out injustices with Justice.


It starts with a change of attitude. A good place to start would be the expectancy that boys should be quiet & still. My sons have Quran class 4 days a week and they have learned alot, but it is far from quiet and they are far from still. It is taught by men, who allow them to move (even if it is just rocking back and forth) and say their lesson as loud as their hearts demand. There is wisdom in this.


Then it is fulfilled with action, give boys the time to explore in an unstructured environment. Of course safety should be taught, however the natural world should not be defined by planned camping trips and hikes. Boys should have hours of free time in nature without hearing a women's fear, call for attention, or control. It should be their time to learn about God's Creation and ultimately learn about themselves. Ideally, it should happen void of any man made materials, such as bikes and other toys. The only man made items, should be the item the boy has constructed himself. This will allow a boys imagination, strength, and confidence to grow. And this my friend, is one of the products: a male child makes a bow from a stick and some rope and practices shooting in his yard, without any adult input  In fact, this male child can shoot the bow and arrow better than his father and takes the time to teach his friends and his father archery.





... and Guess what? They put themselves in line and wait patiently for their turn,
without adult intervention and because it is something that interest them.


Once we have made a commitment to allowing boys to be boys, we should be mindful that pop culture is against this. That the shows of my day are no match for the shows of present time. They are no longer subtle, they are blatantly corrupting our children. Humble dad said during this informal archery lesson one of the boys said "girls are better archers than boys". I wanted to blame the mother for teaching her son this falsehood, but after careful thought I looked to the new Disney movie "Brave" that makes fools of all the men and claims that girls are indeed better archers. I am a firm believer that between the ages of 6-11 is a child's most impressionable time, this is when we should filter what misinformation is coming in. And to remember that we may ourselves be making decisions based on the information we learned at that age, and must put our own deeply misguided beliefs through the filter of our Religion. Some of those beliefs are so deeply embedded only Religious practice will allow us to chip away from falsehood. But it is imperative that we do this spiritual work, and it is imperative that we keep our children as close to their fitra or natural state, untainted by falsehood, as long as we can or until they reach the age of critical thought.

5 comments :

  1. Great post. Interesting observation - the boys were able to basically control themselves and wait in a decently patient manner to take their turn at archery. Archery is Sunnah, anyways, and it involves Science/Math concepts, such as trajectories, angles, force, etc.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Kori! I am really humbled by all the positive response, it lets me know that staying up until 4am in the morning to write this piece was not in vain. Sometimes, you have things brewing and to release it on paper makes everything all right.

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  3. I really like the comparative analysis between concentration camps and gender roles between our boys and girls. As a mom of 2 boys and 2 girls, in the same order as yours, I could very well relate to the urgency of fully submerging into who we are from an early age. I need to implement more of some things you've suggested here and hope to read more of your suggestions in the future!

    Maryium

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  4. Masha Allah... I love this article so much. I think my daughter is more active than her brother.

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