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wisdom from my parents

Tuesday. 05. 24. 2011.

There’s no need to point out the enormous impact our parent(s) have on the way we turn out. Be them present or absent, it contributes to how we think, the choices that we make, the way we interact with others, the list goes on.

I recently read an article about a set of parents who have decided to keep their baby’s gender a secret as a way to raise a “genderless” baby. (–parents-keep-child-s-gender-secret) Obviously there will be positive AND negative consequences to this. I neither agree or disagree with their actions. I think that it’s great they’re allowing their children to make their own choices in appearances/play/etc not constrained by what is considered as social norms. Boys don’t have to always wear blue and girls don’t always have to play with dolls. I disagree, however, with the parents’ choice in education. Their older boys are “unschooled”, some sort of home-schooling. Not because they’re allowed to do what they want, when they want and that is called education but the fact that they’re not being exposed to the outside world. So they’ve made their choices that are different from what are considered as social norms but they’re also being sheltered from the world. Imagine being a teenager that’s been living differently from other teenagers, except you don’t really know that your life has been different, then you’re supposed to try to integrate into the rest of the world.

I posted the link on my facebook where a friend asked what my thoughts on this “experiment” were. (In a way, we’re all “experiments” of our parents and family… as well as society.) It got me thinking about the way my parents raised me.

I was an only child until I was 11. My mother used to say that my dad sometimes thought of me as a son. My mother used to make these super elaborate party dresses for me. We’re talking velvet, organza, puffy lace, tulle and satin. My mom remembers a little boy asking me if I was going to get married because she had put me in one of these dresses to go to some kid’s birthday party. But I was never “required” to dress like a girl.

I remember a middle school friend’s mother who got upset that I wore running shoes with a skirt. She even told my friend that if we were younger, she wouldn’t have allowed us to be friends because I was to much of a tomboy.

My dad told me once that I shouldn’t watch Transformers because I was a girl but he doesn’t remember it and his reaction when I brought it up was, “Really? That’s odd.” I think he just didn’t want me to watch TV when we were supposed to have dinner.

Overall my parents didn’t raise me with “gender expectations”.

My dad’s reaction when I told my parents that I was bisexual was, “What did you think of the waitress?” My mom’s reaction wasn’t so positive but I think she would’ve realised my happiness if I had brought home a girlfriend.

Something else I’d like to also thank my parents for teaching me is the idea that there is no yours or mine when you’re at home. Well… obviously to a certain extent. There was ownership in things like underwear and toothbrushes. There was a distinction in my parents’ money and my money but that’s an obvious.

Sometimes there’d be leftovers and Fredrik would ask if it was ok to eat “my” leftovers. I grew up with the idea that things like food is anyone’s. If someone ate it before you, then that’s life. We’d save things for each other because we know it was something that the other person likes. By doing that, it was a lesson in sharing and doing things for those we love.

Oh yeah… my friend’s comment on the parents raising a genderless child was, “Ultimately, though, it’s the names those yippies chose for their kids that will be the source of lifelong trauma…”

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