Feb 16, 2010

Teaching Children That Women and Men are Equal

Uh oh…oh no…did he really say that? What did he mean? Should I be concerned? Just a few days ago, my 4 year old son, Ethan, said (as he was pretending to fly his rocket to the moon), “there are no women on my mission to the moon”.

Playing "Mission to the Moon" in his recycled cardboard rocket:

So I asked, “why not Ethan?” “Because there can’t be any women in the rocket, mom, only men.” Hmmmm…”why is that Ethan?” I, of course, was hoping for some insight, some explanation, some window into his thoughts…and he replied “just because Mom”. So, this prompted some discussion. Ethan loves astronauts and anything and everything Space…the NASA missions, Apollo 11, the moon. He is fascinated. Loves to read books about Space and the moon…loves to watch “From the Earth to the Moon” documentary.

I was concerned that all of the Space and the moon stories we read perhaps influenced his perspective of the roles of women since they were stories from the 1960s-70s. So I explained to Ethan that women were astronauts too and they went on Space missions. And then we talked about one of the best skiers in the world, Lindsey Vonn, was a woman (Ethan skis so I thought this would be a good example). And then we read the book, “Grandma Elephant’s in Charge”, which is a lovely story about elephant herds. The leader of the elephant pack is Grandma Elephant! All the other elephants listen to and appreciate her wisdom.

Grandma Elephant’s in Charge" Gift Set:

I’m not sure if I’m over-reacting, but I do want to make sure that Ethan has an accurate view of the world and appreciates men and women as equals.

Any advice? Similar experiences?