A human trend

By Anna Bolton

I’m proud of the way my generation is choosing to raise their kids.

I think parents in my generation are raising their sons and daughters to be responsible, conscientious, open and kind. I don’t think these are masculine or feminine qualities; I think these are characteristics of decent human beings.

We live in a society where parenting is open to ridicule now in once-private places that have become social media spaces. There are so many different parenting styles — not to mention the opinions that come from books and blogs and our friends and our own family. But isn’t everybody just trying their best?

I am not a parent. But I am an aunt and a sister and a friend, and this is what I see from over here.

I don’t think today’s parents are “being urged to feminize their sons” or are “pushing their daughters to become masculinized,” as Bill Taylor writes in his May 29 column of the Xenia Daily Gazette, “Femanizing males: A modern trend.”

I’d put it a different way.

I see parents encouraging their children to be resilient and strong, to show emotion, to respect all people equally.

Mr. Taylor calls it a crusade against masculinity. But maybe we are just changing the rules of what masculinity and femininity are. Of what our sons and daughters can or can not do.

It’s 2018 and gender stereotypes haven’t died. But that doesn’t mean my niece can’t throw a good tea party and then make a muddy mess in the garden. And that doesn’t mean my nephew doesn’t have a doll baby — and also a collection of dinosaurs.

But his dad before him did, too. So I can’t just give credit to my generation.

As one of eight, I see my siblings each in different careers, raising their kids differently, with different passions and mannerisms and personalities. They have different ways of speaking, and showing joy, and mourning.

So it’s funny that we were all raised by the same two parents (who both share gentleness and kindness, are equally competitive and strong-willed) to each be distinctly different — to be whoever we wanted to be — whether we were their son or daughter.

Mr. Taylor writes of a “feminized school” that is overemphasizing compassion and nurturing, getting rid of adventurism and succumbing to “strict conformity, quiet acceptance.”

I see it differently.

I want my children to be compassionate and nurturing — to care about others. I want them to be responsible — to be contributors to the community. I want them to be passionate — about something, anything. I want them to use their voice — quietly or loudly. And I want them to realize they live in a world larger than themselves.

It goes both ways — for boys and girls. But most importantly, I want them to be unabashed and proud of whatever way they are.

So today, I see the opposite of strict conformity. Even today, what’s so wrong with quiet acceptance? And as for adventures and adventurers — I think they are alive and well.


By Anna Bolton

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or [email protected]

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or [email protected]