What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of!
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice
That's what little girls are made of!
~ Early 19th century poem
Such garbage! I’d take a guess and say that a female wrote that, a female without understanding of people as human beings.
Speculative interpretation suggests that ‘snips and snails’ was probably written as 'snips of snails', meaning 'little bits of snails'. This past week has shown me that boys are certainly not made of bits of snails and puppy dog tails, although puppy dog tails are cute. Boys are sugar and spice and many things nice, just as girls are. And both are sprinkled with bits of snails and puppy dog tails.
Boys versus girls, it’s all rubbish. It’s the individuality of the person that matters - what we each like, what our individual strengths are and what makes our heart sing even when we can’t hear a whisper of a tune. We all have them. A quality that one person exudes in truck loads, another can lack, and vice versa. It’s the way our own hearts and minds work that matter. It’s something witnessed so obviously by not only me this week but by so many others as a crowd of about two thousand sat at an awards and speech night. Such celebration for a young man with a level of learning challenge awarded for his IT knowledge and capability that almost roused a standing ovation. It was hard to believe that only a few years ago, he was alienated because of his learning ability.
If we allow boys and girls to be who they inherently are without expectation and without forcing our own desires upon them, desires that often stem from our own long, unfulfilled needs, they will bloom into who they’re meant to be.
I say this as a parent of three boys; happy, healthy and hard working boys that achieve in what matters to them. I always say to my boys, ‘work hard at what you love, and you’ll get there. You’ll achieve. Nothing is given on a platter.’
Although sometimes as I put those words into practice and feel as though I’m getting nowhere in reaching my own goals, I wonder what wisdom I spruik! But ultimately, it’s true. You work hard and believe in what you’re doing, and you’ll get there, step by step, micro-millimetre by micro-millimetre!
I may not like what one son likes, but it doesn’t mean I don’t support him in what he does. I don’t like football and yet two of my boys play the sport. I tell them I don’t like it and they say I don’t need to go to the game and watch them. But I tell them that I want to be there as it is important to them. They quietly appreciate that. And so I go and watch attentively, so much so that I find I'm holding my breath when they fall to the ground and don’t move for what may feel like minutes but which may only be a few seconds.
I support their explorations of likes and dislikes, as long as it’s not harmful to them or others, and I’m always there to help them up when they fall. Allowing them to fall is part of the growing.
We all fall down and the burden is less so when someone is there by our side.
That’s why this week, I sat in the audience at my boys' school awards and speech night as one son gave his School Captain’s address in the lead up to my second son being announced as school captain for next year.
A bit of sugar and spice and all things nice is the nourishment that everyone’s soul needs.