Have you heard about the school in Lincoln, Nebraska that is trying to be "gender inclusive?"
The school recommends that teachers not call children "boys" and "girls" or "ladies and gentlemen." Instead, the school encourages grouping the children by their interests. So, the children who like to ride bikes, line up on one side of the room and children who, say, like to skateboard, line up on the other side of the room.
Another helpful suggestion was to call the children simply, "purple penguins."
I didn't pay much attention to this story, until today.
Today, it was my turn to volunteer in the nursery for my non-denominational Christian Bible study.
Clearly, for the entire two hour time period, I focused totally on:
-Administering Christian love to the children,
-Cleaning up all of those pesky crumbs that ensue after a satisfying snack of nilla wafers, and
-Competently working with a glue stick as we placed Bible verses on our craft.
However, during my time in nursery, I noticed a few things that reminded me of the purple penguins.
First, the children, without any instruction from us, sat in boy/girl groups. We, the workers, were concerned with the list detailed above. We in no way, instructed them to sit in gender specific groups.
Second, with alarming dexterity, the boys fashioned every implement they were given into a weapon. Markers and glue sticks immediately became guns and knives to the "boy" children.
It is worth noting that we instructed (lovingly) the children that the glue sticks were to affix Bible verses to their papers and the markers were to write their names on their papers.
(I muttered under my breath that it is a good thing these children are home-schooled or they would be expelled from public school as I cleaned up those angels' messes.)
Third, the "girls" completed the craft neatly and quickly. Meanwhile the "boys" had to be coerced into sitting at all and I eventually did all of their crafts so that something would be sent home in their "take home bags."
Finally, we had them do 100 jumping jacks before heading off to singing time.
Gender is not something that is taught in schools. It is something that children are born with. We did nothing to create gender roles, the children formed roles all by themselves.
It reminded me of one time in my town. Remember, I live in a liberal college town filled with hippies and reformed hippies. I was at my children's ice skating lesson. For some reason that I can't recall the skating teacher was telling me the difference between girl and boy students.
A hippie, who was probably 70, skated up and said that she used to think that gender roles were all assigned by society. Then she had grandchildren and she realized how wrong she was.
With a swish, she skated off in a flurry of gray pony tail.
She has no idea what that ridiculous idea has done to the rest of us.