Monday, August 24, 2009

Double Standards

Totally off topic... but not really... since nothing is ever really off topic for me.

But, my little niece (13) is visiting, well, actually, shes attending some intense volleyball camp 3 hours out of Ottawa... but again, that's besides the point.

When I dropped her off at camp, and hung around while getting her registered and such, I noticed that there was a rather large plethora of high-school aged girls running around in their swim suits (since they had to take a swimming test once they arrived) and my word! Those little 18 year old girls were running around sporting 6 packs and terribly fit physiques, not to mention towering height!

I am totally sending my boys to VolleyBall Camp when they hit their teen years! They may not play sports, but darn it, they will thank me later! They may have no interest what-so-ever in Volley Ball, but I know, when it is time to file thier old father away in a Nursing Home, they will pick a nursing home staffed by ex-Volley Ball Players... and I too will thank them. :-)

But I also realised that my daughters are NEVER EVER EVER going to go to VolleyBall Camp.

I think we all know that as parents we may have a tendency to enforce double standards, sometimes, for good reason too... as odd as that may sound. You may know that one child really struggles with something, which isn't a problem for a different child. To that end, one child may have more leeway in what they are allowed to do than their sibling. Double standards, right or wrong exist.

For example, my wife is a much better iron-er than I am. And I have come to terms with that. I no longer feel "less" of myself just because she can iron a poofy shirt in under 3 minutes, while I'm still trying to figure out where the water goes in the silly thing. And seriously, could they have made the iron any less user friendly if they tried?! You've got this gimpy little hole that you have to some how pour water into, but you can't fit the darned thing under your sink faucett so you resort to trying to fill it up in the bath tub, but then you get EVERYTHING wet including the power cord (and I'm no Electrical Engineer, but I'm pretty sure thats a bad thing), so then you have to dry it all off, and then finally go get setup for ironing. ARRRGH! I don't even like thinking about ironing... breath in... breath out... breath in... okay... I'm back with you. Point is, there is a double standard. My wife is just thrilled if I happen to even iron my own shirts and just manage not to burn the house down. However, my wife will re-iron her same shirt 42 different times just to get the very very very very... very... last wrinkle out of it. I'm walking about like a schlubb, and shes all pristine and beautiful. But thats a whole OTHER double standard... when women can walk about 1/2 bald, beer gut sticking out, stains all over thier shirt, and think "I've still got it!", then finally, there will be no more double standards in the world.

The question I'm posing to myself right now is this:
What double standards (if any) am I going to wind up imposing (sub-consciously?) on our adopted daughter?

I know she will enter school differently, be disciplined differently (remember, no spanking... not that we EVER spanked our other children... no no. Ha. That would have been bad.), etc.

Then of course, my next question is:
Will she be hurt by these double standards? Or will she be able to recgonize that we are trying to protect her, or raise her differently according to her own needs?

And finally, what will our other children think of these double standards? Are they going to resent the fact that Ping may be disciplined differently? Are they going to resent the immediate attention she gets (as we try to make up for lost time)? Are they going to resent that she may "get away" with more (at least from thier point of view) as she learns/adapts to our culture (good friends of ours pointed out that even "Please and Thank You" are doled out different in China than they are here)?

{this is about where my normal 30% thought process diminished to about 2% thought process... so if nothing makes sense after here, its not you, its me}

Hopfully we have raised our children well enough not to be resentful, instead to see that we have to parent each child differently because... well... (this may come as a shock to some of you) because no two children are the same. Not even biological siblings. In fact, there stands a good chance that Ping may have more in common with one of our other children, than our 1st and 2nd born have in common (our 1st and 2nd born are pretty much polar opposites of eachother).

Everyday is an adventure in how to reach your children, talk to your children, understand your children, and have them understand you. Riase them farily and with tonnes of love... ah, there is some place where no double standard should exist. Our children should be able to see, that no matter what, we love them all the same... and we love them the same because we could not possibly love them any more. Everyday your love for them grows, its crazy and amazing...

So what about those Double standards, well, I honestly hope we can raise our children without them. But if there ever comes a time where there are double standards, I hope they are for the right reason, and I hope the children can see that double standards are not there to hurt/hinder them, but to create a safe environment for them to grow and learn, be safe, and know above all, that they are loved.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm going to stop calling them "Double Standards", and just call them "boundaries." Because boundries are there to help you grow and learn, and again, above all, know that there is someone who loves you and wants to help keep you safe.

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