I joined a Toastmasters group and today was the very first meeting. It was terrifying. I got called out to speak on a Table Topic, completely off the cuff with no preparation. I was walking up to the podium, tempted to make a mad dash to the bathroom instead and seriously feeling like I was going to cry. Actually, it's been a few minutes and I'm still shaking. I realized I'd much rather write than speak but I guess that's why I signed up in the first place. I enjoy having time for my thoughts and ideas to float around and marinate for a while! This was torture for me.
Anyway the topic was Pink and Blue - the greatest difference between the genders. And with just seconds to think about it...here is what came out...along with all the stuff I thought about immediately after sitting down :) and knowing that things have been marinating just a bit and that I will edit this at least twice, or three times before publishing! In addition to that, I've already forgotten what I actually said in the meeting because of the trauma it caused me. Ha!
Violence, what is with the violence? My husband took our two sons to see G.I. Joe this week. I had thought I'd try to get a movie in with the boys before school started but when I checked this one out and saw the PG-13 rating for violence and general mayhem, I opted out! After the movie, I asked the boys what their favorite part was. My youngest proceeded to describe a scene when one guy thrusts information downloading spears into another guys head. Lovely. I'm so glad I missed this one!
Spears? Battle? Braveheart? I don't get it. Yet here I am, surrounded by Blue....the only Pink in our house is in my closet! One thing that helped me get a grip on this gender difference was Wild At Heart by John Eldridge. My dear friend Katerina recommended this book to me as the mother to two little boys and I devoured it. I think it is a must-read for any woman who has a man in her life! For me, it was a window into the Blue world.
Before this book I was not buying toy weapons for my children, now we have an arsenal of Nerf guns, SuperSoakers and Lightsabers! Before this book, I wasn't big on dress up costumes either. Thank God, this book rescued me! There is nothing quite like taking Spiderman in cowboy boots with you to the Walmart!
Sadly, there is one thing that hasn't changed. As much as I'd like to think differently, I am still trying to make my sons into "nice boys". When they get all crazy and competitive, I encourage them to play on the same team and not against each other. We had a bunch of boys over recently and I called my son, and asked him "Why don't you encourage your friend instead of trying to cream him?" My husband just rolled his eyes and answered..because they're boys Lynn....they're boys! UGH!
I know that I really don't want to end up years from now with two nice boys. The world needs strong men who know how to stand up to adversity. Men who will jump in front of the dragon to rescue the fair maiden. I want to raise men who know how to offer their strength to the world. But this stands in the face of my heart to keep these boys safe. I'll probably never understand the violent, battle, thing. Or why anyone would want to watch the History Channel. But when my son says he wants to join the military some day so he can give his life for his country, I can't freak out and talk him into a safer occupation. I value safety. But I want my boys to be free to take risks. So, my battle is with SAFE. The only way I know how to fight this battle is to regularly square up with my own fear and refuse let it bubble over and cripple the warrior within these two young men.
When my niece Kaitlyn was born, the one pink presence among the grandkids, I was holding her and watching her sweet expressions. She smiled a sleepy smile and I asked "What are you thinking about little girl?" My son answered "Unicorns and ponies". We all laughed. Just as quickly as that smile appeared, Kaitlyn whimpered and her lip puffed out. I asked my son "What is she thinking about now?" "A Dragon is eating the ponies and unicorns!"
Will you slay the dragon, my son? I won't be the one standing in your way.