I love my Target store! I do. It’s love. My Target has a Starbucks inside – can you blame me?! (And I do refer to it as being mine as if I have something to do with ownership, which I clearly do not). I feel so strongly about my Target that I pretty much have no use for any other in the area. I am fully aware that the products and layout are virtually identical, but I’ll admit it, I think mine is better. This is not rational, I know that, but it’s true. I really love mine, and I’m not going to be so crazy about yours…
You know, kids employ this same type of reasoning when figuring out the world around them. So, am I embarrassed that at times I have the mentality of a child? Yes, yes I am. And a young child at that! My kids are completely irrational. While I am less amused by the illogical reasoning which contributes to bedtime battles or avoidable injuries, I find their little irrational minds fascinating when put to use in figuring out their world.
Kids develop an understanding of themselves by sorting through all the information they take in and deciding what is for them and what is not for them. They are so conditioned to categorize – and to categorize by gender – that they over use it, and in turn, develop very extreme ways of looking at the world.
Girls wear dresses,
have long hair, like the color pink,
go to dance class and think dolls are fun.
I’m a girl. This stuff is for me.
Boys have short hair, like the color blue,
play sports and think superheroes are fun.
That stuff’s for boys. That stuff is not for me.
The line has been drawn – girl stuff on this side, boy stuff on that side. Now, it doesn’t take long for the idea of “that’s not for me” to lead to thinking “mine is better.” Left to their own devices, many kids would have a very difficult time seeing that this line can be crossed because they adhere to the concrete rules they establish for themselves. So, in a way, girls and boys are set-up for developing the idea that they are very, very different – even enemies.
The truth is boys and girls are a lot more alike than different. It’s up to us as teachers and parents to help our kids recognize and celebrate all that we have in common. And if you join me in this mission, I promise I’ll give your Target a try .