Portrait of an Awesome 9 Year Old

Scene 1:

I pick the kid up from the after school program one day. He points out some thing on the wall.

“That girl likes  me.”

“Do you like her?”

He runs ahead and gets a drink of water. He looks  up and grins.

“I’m being hard to get!”

“Well, that’s a good thing to be.”

“Hogan (his friend-same age) says to never make eye contact.”

“Hmm…”

 

Scene 2:

He is starting to really get into music and often will listen to Pandora Radio on my phone. Using headphones generally. We were meeting Daddy somewhere that I was just going to hang out in the car for a few minutes.

“Okay, leave my phone here with me.”

“I know.”

Unplugs headphones, but leaves them around his neck.

“I’m going to wear these like this because they make me look awesome!”

 

Scene 3:

…the following morning we’re getting ready for school. He grabs the headphones on the way out the door.

“I need these.”

“What for?”

“To wear.” (The “Duh” here is implied.)

(Also, he lasted half the day before someone told him they weren’t allowed to have those at school. She may not have known that they weren’t attached to anything, though. HIS teacher was fine with it.)

 

Scene 4:

Telling me some story about school goings on…

“Josh is the weirdest kid in my class. I’m second weirdest. Well, I’m tied for second place with Hogan.” Looks up and raises his arm valiantly. “I want to be weirdest!”

Scene 5:

Regarding the girl in scene 1…

“You know the girl who likes me?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, Andrew likes her. And he asked me “How do you make Maggie like you?” and I told him, “I act frickin’ awesome!””

“Well, that is how to get people to like you, by acting awesome.”

“But she doesn’t like me anymore.”

“No?”

“Yeah, today we went in the tower and I told her that I didn’t like her and she said she didn’t anymore either. So I’m letting Andrew have her.”

*Daddy was here for this one.*

“You are, huh? That’s nice of you,” he said dryly.

“Just stepping aside?” I asked.

[Whew! Dangerous love triangle averted!]

 

Scene 6:

Waiting at the bus stop this morning…

“Hogan and I made a pledge. and Cayden too, but he didn’t really because he didn’t raise his right hand but I get to raise my left hand because that’s my good hand. That we wouldn’t like girls until 5th grade.”

Curtain closes on Act I

Man Up Monday: Tough Guise and Intro

I recently watched the movie Tough Guise in my Gender and Race in Political thought class.

Here is a portion of the description from Mediaed.org where it is available for purchase. It is also available online for watching.

“While the social construction of femininity has been widely examined, the dominant role of masculinity has until recently remained largely invisible. Tough Guise is the first educational video geared toward college and high school students to systematically examine the relationship between pop-cultural imagery and the social construction of masculine identities in the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century.

In this innovative and wide-ranging analysis, Jackson Katz argues that widespread violence in American society, including the tragic school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and elsewhere, needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity.”

Perhaps because I have a young son, I was inspired by this movie to do something to promote alternate views of what masculinity is or can be. I’m calling it Man Up Monday. I will try to post something on (hopefully all, but certainly most) Mondays dedicated to the healthy raising up of our boy children in to whole and healthy men. So, with that in mind, here is an except from another essay that I turned in in that class. It’s a 5 page letter to my son about masculinity and role models. This time I can break up the text into more manageable chunks-unlike the last one.

My Dear Son,

I love you and am enjoying watching you grow into a young man. Let me tell you that I will do my level best to keep society or family or even your Dad and I from confining you into a box that defines who you are based on some stereotype of masculinity. I promise to help you follow your dreams, whatever they might be, even if they are seemingly hyper-masculine like racecar driver and bull rider. I will help you learn to be strong in the face of adversity, not because men must be strong, but because people must be strong and persevere when we feel like giving up.

I will make every effort to show you alternate definitions of strong. In challenge to the mainstream media’s sledgehammer definition of strength, I will find role models who show you how to be strong in quieter, softer or more subtle ways. I think we may be off to a good start, given my obsession with dance shows. Male dancers are often some of the strongest athlete’s in the world, but they are so graceful at the same time that it is often overlooked. I will teach you to look at our culture’s stereotypes with a critical eye. I will show you how to “win battles” with words and knowledge. I will preach to you of Dr. King and Gandhi whose strength was not brutish and violent. Their strength came from nonviolence and peaceful ideals.

Look for Role Models in Football (his other love) next week