So Thing Two came home a day or two ago singing that familiar song that we all grew up with, “Little Bunny Foo Foo”.
I smiled as he sang, and sang along with him. But suddenly my song ground to a halt. He was singing it wrong! Y’all know how it goes, “Little Bunny Foo Foo, hoppin’ through the forest, scoopin’ up the field mice and boppin’ ‘em on the head!” But what was this I heard? Something about *kissing* those field mice on the head? Wait, no, that’s not the way it goes. I said to Thing Two, “Don’t you mean boppin’ ‘em on the head? It’s not kissin’ ‘em on the head.” He said, “Well, that’s how they’re teaching it at my school!”
Lovely. So no longer can Bunny Foo Foo (and let’s all admit it, bunnies can be nasty, vicious little buggers, in spite of all their cute fluffiness – you have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, yes?) scoop up field mice (who are, by all accounts, vermin and disease carriers, no matter how adorable their little twitchy noses may be) and bop them on the head. He’s going around KISSING them. Really?! Would you want to kiss a disease-carrying rodent?
I am convinced that the world is setting out to emasculate men, and it starts with our boys. Anyone who has boy children knows: boys are DIFFERENT than girls. It doesn’t matter if you give them gender neutral toys. A boy can (and will) take a teddy bear and make it into a tank, where a girl will name hers Christina Sparkle Kissyflower and decorates it in pink ribbons and glitter. It doesn’t matter if you forbid any talk of weapons (or Nerf guns, or whatever), boys have an affiliation for weaponry inbred, and I’m convinced it comes from birth. At the tender age of about 18 months, Thing Two bit a piece of cheese into the rough shape of a gun, pointed it at his brother, and said, “Pow pow!” We’re not anti-gun, but we don’t keep weapons openly about the house, and we hadn’t taught him to do that. He just DID.
The idea of being a protector, a defender, someone who takes down the bad guys when they need taking down, that’s hardwired into our boys’ genetic code. These days, it seems like the world is taking every step they can to strip that from them.
Look at commercials. How many have you seen that depict a guy as a moron who can’t even decide what kind of lawn care product to get to kill the ants in his yard without his wife’s input? Look at sitcoms. How many times is the dad depicted as the bumbling goofball who can’t really be trusted with anything important, while the wife is really the brains of the marriage? And then the Interwebs. There are blog posts aplenty giving women advice on how to strengthen their marriages that put the burden of making a marriage a happy one squarely on the woman’s shoulders. When did a happy, thriving marriage become solely the woman’s responsibility? Are our poor husbands so frail and fraught with insecurities that we women must meet their every need without expecting them to lift a finger or consider our needs as well? And if they are, when did that happen? And why? And how do we make that stop?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there aren’t rough and tumble girls, and I’m not saying there aren’t any boys who prefer to sit and draw instead of taking part in a rugby scrum in the back yard with their buddies. Heck, Thing Two has a fondness for Hello Kitty, and he’s about as rough and rowdy as they come. His preferred method of greeting me is to come running at top speed and head-butt me, and if there’s going to be a linebacker in the family, he’s gonna be it. I’m just saying that if society has a whole lot of models of men being pitiful and sad and wholly untrustworthy with any task of importance, if men forget how to be men, how will our boys ever learn?
We’re working to raise our boys to be strong, confident men. Not bullies, not jerks who steamroll their way through life, but men – men who know there’s a time to be gentle, and a time to stand firm and fight (literally or figuratively) for those you love. The world aims to take that God-given difference, that hard-wiring of the male gender as protector and defender, away. And yes, it really can start with something as seemingly small as Little Bunny Foo Foo.