Categorized as: Parenting Children

The Value of Boredom

boredom

When I was a child, my parents often ignored me. It’s not that they were unkind to me. It’s that they had full lives of their own and didn’t like playing Candy Land. They believed that you should open the door and say to children, Go out and play. They understood the value of boredom. My two younger brothers and I sincerely enjoyed each other’s company, and that’s a good thing, because we had a lot of it. Read more…

How Highly Gendered Toys Present an Exclusively Heterosexual Worldview to Children

toys

When girls and boys walk into a toy store in 2015, they see a significantly more gendered, heteronormative arrangement and selection of toys than I did as a girl forty years ago! Toys, grouped by gender, are prescriptive of gender roles. It is not only a problem of limiting the ways to be a girl or a boy, as I have written about extensively. It is also a problem of promoting an exclusively heterosexual worldview. Read more…

If Our Sons Were Treated Like Our Daughters

sons

Come with me. Let’s open the door to a parallel universe. You unlock this door with a key of imagination, just like on The Twilight Zone. Here in this parallel world, the rules are different because gender roles are flipped. Loving parents and teachers accept this strange culture as if it’s not so bad, or perhaps even good. As if the reverse of this culture could exist only in the minds of fiction¬†writers or lunatics. Read more…

Grownups: You Can Read YA, and Why Not Read It With Your Kids?

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Ever since Ruth Graham wrote “Against YA” for the Slate Book Review last month — the article that launched a thousand blog posts — I’ve been reading the scathing responses as they roll in one by one. The Barnes and Noble Book Blog calls it the best debate on the internet. Indeed. Read more…

The Story of Ferdinand: Talking With Kids About the First Children’s Book on Gender Nonconformity

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The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf was published in 1936, just before the Spanish Civil War. Because it was widely viewed as pacifist propaganda, it was banned in many countries. Despite its rough start, it became popular around the world, has been translated into over sixty languages, and won several awards. This book has been beloved by three generations in my family — my father, myself and my brothers, and my daughter. I related strongly to Ferdinand as a child and still do. He is more than just a symbol of peace to me; he is also an outsider, bullied for his gentle ways. Read more…