Monday, July 11, 2005

Rachel posted an interesting article on education and gender differences.

I have to say that through my own observations of my children, friends' children, and children I have taught, this study is right on. So why is it not "PC" to suggest that boys and girls think differently? Wouldn't children be better served if their different tendencies were acknowledged so that their natural strengths could be built upon? Yet there is the danger of demonizing one gender over another, especially when it's a way to get ahead with one's own agenda.

Last night we went to the swim club. Children under 13 who want to swim in The Big Pool have to pass a test and wear an ankle bracelet ("band") that, by color code, shows the lifeguards which sections of the pool the child may access (Slide Only, Low Dive, or High Dive). There's also a rule that a child with a band may not go in The Baby Pool.

Now, that last rule is rather loosely enforced. Generally it's not a problem. Most older kids know that The Baby Pool is largely populated by people in diapers and the "gross factor" deters them. And sometimes primary-grade kids go in there just to take a break and play with the toys. When things get too rough, the lifeguards kick out all the kids with bands.

There were a few Renegade Band-Wearers in The Baby Pool last night, and it got a little rough in there, and a toddler wound up crying. Instead of comforting her toddler, Angry Mama yelled at the lifeguard and every child over 4 in The Baby Pool while her little boy stood next to her in tears. Then she proceeded to tell another mom who immediately had ordered her kindergarten-age daughter over to The Big Pool that "The girls aren't the problem. They can stay in the pool. But the boys should get out."

Big Brother and his friend had just walked over to me to beg for snack money and heard this. Were they hot--and they were justified! "She's giving boys a bad name! It's not only the boys who are too rough in the pool." They're right. Girls can be just as bad. In this case, it was a boy who was the problem....but just wait 5 years until someone accuses Angry Mama's little boy of being too rough in The Baby Pool. Let's see how she likes it.

It wasn't my kid who was treated unjustly last night but my kid felt his pain. I hope he learns from it that you don't judge people just on their appearances or even their gender, and that you don't make blanket statements like that. Maybe just a little extra sensitivity all around would go a long way.

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