On Princes and Princesses
Before we became parents we declared our house to be a princess and prince free zone. There could be pink, there could be blue, there could be dolls, there could be lace, there could be bikes, there could be mud, but there was not going to be any tiaras, wands or princes coming to rescue princesses, nor princesses batting their eyelids to get rescued by a prince.
Before my boys were born I felt so strong that our children would never play with guns, watch a movie with any amount of violence. Then at the age of 3 I discovered my son turning a branch into a make believe gun and being told “I could get counselling to come to terms with it all.” My husband reassured me that it was going to be all right and that there would be hope because for a while there in his childhood he too thought he was going to be a superhero. By the time my daughter arrived I knew that to a certain extent all bets were off – my little girl at some point was going to play princesses.
As a woman I’m not anti feminine. I’m super girlie in many ways and fall squarely within traditional gender roles. I love to cook. I love shopping for nice clothes. I don’t’ feel demeaned at all refilling your drink. I am terrible with technology and I don’t follow footy at all. I fall squarely within the stereotypes and then I don’t. I can take charge when appropriate, I have cut and pioneered ground where people said it was impossible. I can speak passionately and intelligently. I expect men to respect me for my mind and convictions not for my ability to stroke someone’s fragile ego by playing helpless. I don’t play dumb, cute or princess. I don’t look for my husband to rescue me from life or my mistakes. I work hard, have developed my skills and contribute to team and in society. I have led the charge on many social justice issues and fought for women to have an equal footing in life. I have been bullied and vilified by both men and women for many of the changes I have bought about.
My husband is strong, passionate and direct and he has an amazing mind. He too fits into some of the traditional stereotypes. He is a hopeless cook but gives it a go. He sees the basics around the home and does them but he will never be a sadie. He is great with technology. He loves footy and a beer on a hot day. He loves steak and will never be a vegan. But he also falls out of the stereotype. He doesn’t need me to leave him meals or lists and would be insulted if I left him instructions. He picked kids up from school, changed their nappies and sang lullabies. He also doesn’t mind if people see him cry over something that is dear to him – like family and justice. He is always more interested in my thoughts than my body. He empowers women and has always employed more women on his teams than men. He has championed my dreams as much as his own and empowered me to follow my heart.
Conversations around working hard, paying attention to their dreams, giving themselves to making the world a better place, knowing that there were a whole lot of more important things than being the prettiest princess or the biggest superhero in the room were words spoken in our home.
Our kids today are leaders in their own generation.
They work incredibly hard, they give generously to the world in which they live, they use their mind and follow their dreams. I love their strength of character and their ability to allow their hearts to be moved. They are strong and tender, respectful and kind. They are loving big and showing up big. Their home team is comprised of women who are not waiting to be rescued, playing dumb and using their pout and their bodies to get what they wanted. It comprises of men who do not see women in terms of beauty and tenderness but rather in terms of strength, intelligence, passion and compassion.
The crazy thing is that some of the best life changing conversations we had were held in stereotypical environments. The girly weekends with my daughter and the rough and tumble weekends the boys spent with their dad. In the midst of stereotypical environments deep, rich and strong conversations were held. The boys loved the power of their dad speaking into their life without their annoying sister being around. My daughter loved me speaking into her life without those bothersome brothers. Powerful thoughts were seeded.
Life is not perfect. We will never live in a perfect world where princes and princesses don’t exist. But in the midst of the imperfect we can as a community have strong conversations. That is one of the reasons why we have two events that are not exclusive to both genders but create time and space specifically for one gender. To create a moment in a stereotypical world to impart a message to girls that they don’t have to use their beauty and their body to get what they want and for boys to see and understand that they don’t have to rescue women but can see them in terms of strength, intelligence, passion and compassion. That boys and girls together can be strong, smart, capable, tender, passionate, gentle and filled with compassion.
We hope that you will enjoy our events – the ones that create time and space for just girls and boys and the ones that create time and space for both. We hope you will giggle and laugh, dance and clap your hands with delight with your kids. They are precious, dearly loved and we are putting into practice our belief that it does take a village to raise a child and life is a delightful gift to be enjoyed.
Events Planned for Kids during 2016 include:
Festivale – February 12 – 14th
Warrior Night – March 4th
Enchanted Evening – May 8th and 9th.
Gross Christmas – December 4th
Activities for kids include:
- Youth Group – Friday nights from 6pm – 8pm
- Kids Club – Thursday after school from 3:30pm
- Teen Club – Mondays after school from 3:30pm
- Kids Club – Sundays @ 11 – 12:30pm
- School Holiday Program – during school holidays all day
- Bubbles for littles on Tuesday mornings.
- Play group for littles on Wednesday mornings
Stay tuned for some exciting new ventures in 2016 that are on the drawing board but aren’t released.