Time for a cute story about my ten-year-old. For those of you who know him in person, this probably won’t come as much of a shock.
Yesterday, as usual on days when he has band, I picked him up from school. Once we were in the car and buckled, just as I was starting the engine, he said, “I have a Post-It note.”
“Oh?” I inquired. He often has Post-Its; I wasn’t terribly interested.
“Yeah. And guess what’s on it?”
At that point, I was a little wary. I wondered if it was something from his teacher. “Um. I don’t know. What’s on it?”
“Sydney’s phone number!” he announced proudly.
“And who is Sydney?”
“A girl in my class. She likes me.”
This is the fourth girl’s phone number that he’s gotten since last spring. He has exactly one boy’s phone number, and the only reason he has it is that the boy’s mom gave it to me.
I’m going to blame my son’s former dance teachers for this, mostly because they’re not here to defend themselves and also because they don’t read this blog anyway. They are all responsible for teaching my kid how to treat women and girls, especially ones he likes. Didn’t they know that girls appreciate boys who know how to show respect and like them for who they are? I mean, sheesh.
As cute as this story is, it makes me a little sad, too. Oh, not because my precious boo-bear is growing up. I’m really enjoying watching both my kids blossom. No, it makes me sad because I know that if it were my daughter collecting boys’ numbers (or my son collecting phone numbers of boys saying they liked him, for that matter) very few people would see it as cute or sweet. (On a side note, no one would bat an eye at this age if my daughter had a handful of girls’ numbers–that’s culturally expected, and most people would say it didn’t mean anything.)
Funny thing is, I have a few friends whose daughters have magnetic personalities and who like to hang out with boys. I (and most of their parents) do, in fact, think it’s cute. But there’s still that little nagging thought that it’s not something to share in public because people may judge those girls or their parents. After all, those are the girls who, in a few years, are going to be posting braless selfies, right?
I don’t really care whether my kids prefer to hang out with boys or girls. What I care about is having them respect themselves and others. I see these opposite-sex friendships as having several benefits. What better way for the kids to learn about each other and themselves? They’re finding out what they like.
My first question to my son after he said this girl likes him was, “What do you like about her?”
“Well,” he said, “she’s writing this really cool story.”
“Ah, so she likes to write. That’s something you enjoy, too.”
“Yeah! Maybe we’ll write something together.”
“You know what? That sounds like a great idea. I’m glad you have a friend like Sydney.”
“Me too, Mom.”