With homeschooling being the best possible option during the present Pandemic time, I thought I must introduce my three year old Soham to take an interest in books. One of the books I ordered through Amazon was ‘Bruno put your toys away’. Bruno, the character of the book irresponsibly leaves his toys on the floor after playing and his grandfather falls stepping on one of those. Seeing his grandfather in pain, Bruno realizes his mistake and promises his mother to always put his toys away after playing.
After reading it out several times to my son I thought to myself that at least in the world of illustrations there was no gender inequality. After all despite being a boy, Bruno was asked to put his toys away by himself, I mean not like his mother said, “I will do it for you” or “ask your sister to do it instead !”
One thought leading to another made me think and evaluate the academic curriculum of my elder son Mannan who is in class 6 now and no ! I definitely could not find any theoretical error in the education system where gender bias was promoted or taught. As mothers, I am sure, women of present times are much evolved and progressive in their approach and definitely they wouldn’t teach their boys to treat the girls as unequal nor treat their son as some precious out of the world, differently blessed, ‘above the rest’ soul !. Which brings in the next question in my mind that why on practical evaluation the world is not an ‘all good, equal for everybody, non-judgmental place’, as is taught to us from our schooling years? If we take the famous Nirbhaya case , the speculations of why Nirbhaya was out on the street at that odd time of the day was much widely done but on the other hand her companion male friend wasn’t put to task or made to feel guilty of the same, isn’t it? And by quoting this I am not saying that women want a right to walk the streets at 12am per se but yes, they definitely deserve the right to respect of not being unfairly judged for their every action and the right of personal security, no matter the hour of the day they choose to or need to be out there !
Children, as we all know are keen observers, quick learners and even though they are theoretically being taught to be fair, equal, unbiased and possess values and morals at school and even at home, what we as elders forget is that they are not only learning theory, they are constantly grasping the reality from their surroundings, from our behavior, from anything and everything that they can see and feel. So even if we as women, as mothers talk about feminism, gender equality and what not, if practically at home we choose to always eat after everyone is through with their meals or always give up on our share of time, meal, space, schedule, self care for other family members as if that’s the only right thing to do, if we go around picking up the wet towels and socks off the floor as if it were only our responsibility, if the moment the door bell rings only we voluntarily get up always to open it, if we are the only ones who are folding everyone’s bedsheets at home and making their beds as solely part of our routine then my dear friend we are definitely failing to teach them the concept of ‘equality’.
Do remember that your kids are watching you, learning from you, imbibing and absorbing in their character and personality your behavior and traits so to all my dear male friends, ‘PLEASE fold your bedsheets yourselves’ and my darling female friends, ‘please let them do…!’