Parenting

Giving A Man A Fish

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Maimonedes

I mentioned this to my son the other day (and know I have before) when he had asked me ‘Why can’t you just do it for me?’ for the umpteenth time. My son isn’t lazy….nor is he incapable…I just think he likes being ‘babied’ now and again still.

I know many parents of grown ‘children’ who say they’d give anything to have their little boy/girl back for just one day….just to hold them on their lap….hear their childish laughter…and some days when I sit and look at the boys, I already wonder what it’s going to feel like for me when they are no longer little boys…when they go off into the world….when they’ve grown too big to have their dad hold their hand and rub their back and that took away all the evils of the world, at least for a little while. I’ll always be their daddy…I’ll always want to comfort them and hug them and plant a kiss on their foreheads like Glinda did for Dorothy to place her under a protective spell for her journey….I’d do just about anything to be able to cast a similar spell for them…..or at least to ensure them without a doubt that I will always be here for them, no matter what.

My younger son’s bed needed stripping and changing today. He’s 8 years of age. He’s definitely able to do this for himself. It’s not that I mind it (though truth be told it’s not my favorite chore), or mind doing it for him, but one day I won’t be there, and he’ll need to know how to make a bed. He’ll need to be able to do his laundry. He’ll need to know how to fix himself or someone else a meal.

I was raised in a belief system that taking care of the house was ‘mom’s job’ and Dad ‘worked’. (I don’t subscribe to this as an adult – I’ve taken care of a house. It IS work. There’s nothing NON-work about it). My two boys are not far enough removed from that being the ‘norm’ in our society to completely escape it. They will encounter people who will tell them that that’s ‘just the way of the world’…’just the way things are’…men go out and ‘bring home the bacon’, and it’s up to the woman to ‘fry it up in a pan’.

I think, personally, that’s a complete crock of shit. I think it’s actually up to both people to make and maintain a home. I don’t think gender does or SHOULD have anything to do with it when it comes to household jobs from folding laundry to installing an alarm system – I love to see either gender take on tasks that have historically been assigned to the other gender as being ‘just the way things are’.

Therefore, I teach the boys to be self-sufficient…not only for their well-being, but for the well-being of whomever they enter into a relationship with.

Incidentally, when I said ‘give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ to my son; rather than nod in silent assent and contemplation and reflection – he asked a very valid question for an 8 year old.

‘What does fish have to do with it?’

Miles to go before I sleep……

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