If there is one thing I’d love to know before I kick the bucket its, at what stage in life do girls start to come second?
As a mother, I’ve been watching girls grow up over the past twenty four years, and I just can’t quite figure out exactly when it all begins to go wrong.
Take my own family for example. I have three girls and one boy. My son arrived a content, happy, little boy. He lived minute by minute, for many years totally unaware that his sisters planned and schemed most of every day.
For example, at the age of five his younger sister was aged two. Seven mornings a week, every week of the year, they sat together eating their cereal for breakfast. As they were nearing the end he would chat away while trying to mop up the last of the milk in his bowl. Little did he know that his little sister would see this as a signal that breakfast was almost over. She would quickly put her bowl to her mouth, drain off the remains of the milk, jump off her seat and run as fast as her little legs would carry her into the sitting room. Once in there she would clamber up onto the favoured seat, remote control in hand and switch on dinobabies. A few minutes later her older, not so quick thinking brother, would amble in and look in surprise and dismay at his baby sister sitting on ‘the’ seat watching her favourite programme.
She did this every day, every single day without fail, and he never figured it out!
Not only at home have I seen how young girls can run rings around boys, I’ve also noticed it elsewhere. For many years I’ve been involved in teaching and coaching swimming. Not one single session passes when I don’t shake my head at how the words I speak to girls seem to mean something very different to boys.
“Look at the ceiling” I say. The girls look at the ceiling, the boys look at anything but the ceiling.
“Next we are doing kick, back crawl kick”. The girls do backcrawl kick, the boys do… backcrawl full stroke.
“I want you to do six kicks on the right arm, then switch arms”. The girls do exactly that, the boys do… a hundred varieties of wrong.
Finally there comes a time, at about thirteen years of age, when hope begins to shine, Boys begin to listen. Skills are learned, and at last they begin to hear the same thing girls are hearing. Finally they learn to swim faster.
I wonder is this when they begin to pass the girls out? Is it at this very moment that girls begin to accept second place?
Knowing my own daughters, and thinking of the many young girls I’ve taught over the years, I can’t accept that girls are ever ‘happy’ to come second. I’ve met strong, articulate, clever and driven girls who should have the world at their feet. I’ve met boys equally as strong, articulate, clever and driven who statistics will tell me, in time will have the world at their feet.
When that change happened I cannot tell you, but every day of the week as I teach the young girls and boys of the future, I wonder not when it happened, but how?
Disclaimer… All opinions my own based on years of observation and no scientific fact. No boys were harmed in the making of this post but I did get a lot of grey hairs over many years.