are also cool.
What? That's not exactly the way that little rhyme goes, is it? Somewhere along the way we as a culture decided it was okay to send mixed messages to kids on how to relate to the opposite sex. Here are the accepted norms:
1) Despise them
2) Objectify them
I don't know about you, but I'm not okay with either of these options. I'm not okay with boys despising girls for the mere sake of their being girls, just as I'm not okay with the whole "boys will be boys" mentality when it comes to accepting the sin of the lust of the eyes.
But guess what? This behavior is not reserved for boys alone. Girls have picked up the baton and have started running full force.
Case in point:
Does this look familiar to anyone? Think I'm being too hard here? Think I'm an over-the-top-homeschooler and trying to be a culture dodger?
Not so much.
I have watched the High School Musical movies with my girls, primarily so they would have a point of discussion with their peers when the movies invariably enter into their tweenage conversation. Is it cute? Sure. Is it catchy? You bet. Does it place a heavy emphasis on parents-are-idiots-kids-always-know-better thinking? I believe it does. I also believe it places an unhealthy emphasis on the dating game and portrays kids in relationships they really have no business being in while in high school.
Yet everywhere I go I see at least one under-teenage girl wearing an "I love Troy" t-shirt. And their parents wonder why their little girls are obsessed with boys at earlier and earlier ages.
I scratch my head.
On the flip side, a year or two ago we went to the store to buy a baseball bat. Did you know they make them in pink now? My girls thought that was awesome. We picked up one of the pink bats and written in swirly pink script on the side it stated, "Girls Rule!"
You know what? We didn't buy that bat. I'm trying hard to teach my girls to respect men, even young ones. How in the world can they do that when they are surrounded by propaganda that teaches them to either belittle or obsess the opposite sex? Is there no middle ground?
I think there is a third way. And it isn't an easy one. Sure, it would be simpler just to convince my girls that boys are dumb and not worth their time. Maybe teaching them that would delay some tough conversations that will come up soon. Likewise, as they approach their teen years, it would be easier to turn a blind eye to their growing interest in boys and employ a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
I don't believe either of those options to be in the best interest of my girls or any of their future friends who may happen to be guys.
As they grow, I want to teach them to be kind, compassionate and gracious to both girls and guys. To treat others the way they want to be treated. To view boys with the respect they are due as fellow people made in the image of God.
My girls won't be wearing any "I love _______" clothing, nor will they be hanging any "We hate boys" signs up on their walls.
Because you know what? Girls are cool and boys…are too.