For months, every morning when my daughter was in preschool, I watched her construct an elaborate castle out of blocks, colorful plastic discs, bits of rope, ribbons and feathers, only to have the same little boy gleefully destroy it within seconds of its completion.
No matter how many times he did it, his parents never swooped in BEFORE the morning’s live 3-D reenactment of “Invasion of AstroMonster.” This is what they’d say repeatedly:
“You know! Boys will be boys!”
“He’s just going through a phase!”
“He’s such a boy! He LOVES destroying things!”
“Oh my god! Girls and boys are SO different!”
“He. Just. Can’t. Help himself!”
I tried to teach my daughter how to stop this from happening. She asked him politely not to do it. We talked about some things she might do. She moved where she built. She stood in his way. She built a stronger foundation to the castle, so that, if he did get to it, she wouldn’t have to rebuild the whole thing. In the meantime, I imagine his parents thinking, “What red-blooded boy wouldn’t knock it down?”
She built a beautiful, glittery castle in a public space.
It was so tempting.
He just couldn’t control himself and, being a boy, had violent inclinations.
Her consent didn’t matter. Besides, it’s not like she made a big fuss when he knocked it down. It wasn’t a “legitimate” knocking over if she didn’t throw a tantrum.
His desire — for power, destruction, control, whatever- - was understandable.
Maybe she “shouldn’t have gone to preschool” at all. OR, better if she just kept her building activities to home.
I know it’s a lurid metaphor, but I taught my daughter the preschool block precursor of don’t “get raped” and this child, Boy #1, did not learn the preschool equivalent of “don’t rape.”
Not once did his parents talk to him about invading another person’s space and claiming for his own purposes something that was not his to claim. Respect for her and her work and words was not something he was learning. How much of the boy’s behavior in coming years would be excused in these ways, be calibrated to meet these expectations and enforce the “rules” his parents kept repeating?
There was another boy who, similarly, decided to knock down her castle one day. When he did it his mother took him in hand, explained to him that it was not his to destroy, asked him how he thought my daughter felt after working so hard on her building and walked over with him so he could apologize. That probably wasn’t much fun for him, but he did not do it again.
There was a third child. He was really smart. He asked if he could knock her building down. She, beneficent ruler of all pre-circle-time castle construction, said yes… but only after she was done building it and said it was OK. They worked out a plan together and eventually he started building things with her and they would both knock the thing down with unadulterated joy. You can’t make this stuff up.
Take each of these three boys and consider what he might do when he’s older, say, at college, drunk at a party, mad at an ex-girlfriend who rebuffs him and uses words that she expects will be meaningful and respecte, “No, I don’t want to. Stop. Leave.”
The “overarching attitudinal characteristic” of abusive men is entitlement.
How to compose a successful critical commentary
Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
Mention anything you have learned from your target.
Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
At present Tris & I have no choice but to arrange our wedding as either two separate components: one a meaningful, personalised ceremony officiated by a Humanist celebrant & the other a banal,…
This is important.
A few photographs from our trip to The Natural History Museum - Sensational Butterflies Exhibition on my birthday last week. They are really spectacular creatures. I shall enjoy creating some digital artwork using these photos.
Elemental’s Attic - Brighton Fringe 2013
Just a few images from our evening at The Marlborough on Saturday night. The Professor was in fine voice performing songs from Father of Invention. Audience participation was very much encouraged with the Prof getting a young lady from her seat to emulate his moves (in appropriate attire of course!) & Tris was asked to narrate a shadow puppet show put on by Geoffrey the Orangutan butler.
As well as the wonderful show I enjoyed gin & tonic from a teacup & the second issue of the Professor Elemental Comic Book was purchased. Whilst I was enjoying my gin I had the pleasure of conversing with several of the people who assist the Prof with his performances & found them to be thoroughly lovely people!
I heartily recommend that if you have not yet had the pleasure of attending a Prof live gig then click here to find out when/where you can see him in the coming months.
What a gig!
As many of you know, my lady and I getting married next year, and hope to have a humanist service. As it stands we are obliged to have two services. One, a beautiful service where we profess our commitment to each other in front of our friends, and the other waiting in line in a registrar’s office. Guess which one we will consider our real marriage!
I received this info yesterday from the BHA.
“On Monday and Tuesday next week, MPs will be debating the Marriage Bill currently before Parliament. Its main purpose is to extend marriage to same-sex couples but also being debated will be an amendment to give legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales.
Humanist marriages have had legal recognition in Scotland since 2005 and this has led to a great increase in public knowledge of Humanism and non-religious approaches to life in Scotland in that time, as well as giving non-religious couples the option of a wedding ceremony that allows them full expression of their own personal beliefs and values, conducted by a celebrant who they know shares them. Last year, almost 3000 couples had a humanist marriage in Scotland – overtaking the number of Roman Catholic marriages and on course to overtake the Church of Scotland by 2014.
Every year, the number of weddings conducted by our celebrants in England and Wales exceeds the number of many sorts of marriage that are legal (e.g. Quaker, Unitarian, or Jewish marriages) and we believe that legal recognition for humanist weddings is fair, rational and timely.
We urgently need your help today.
Although the government has said it is not against humanist marriages in principle, it is resisting the change. However, the vote will be a free one, which means MPs will make up their own minds on whether to support legal recognition for humanist marriages or not.
We need MPs from all parties to support this move, and we need you to contact your MP today.
Adherence to profound and life-shaping beliefs is not confined to those who profess a religion and although all couples have access to a legal civil marriage, only religious couples have access to a legal marriage based on their deepest beliefs and values. The introduction of legal humanist marriages will not affect anyone adversely; it will just allow those couples who are increasingly choosing to have a humanist wedding to have this as their legal ceremony and make the possibility available and known to many couples who might never otherwise choose to do so.
Jim Al-Khalili President, British Humanist Association”
Over the weekend Tris & I went to Brighton to see a few pals performing their Brighton Fringe shows. This is a song from Eccentronic’s 2013 Fringe show “Neurovision” it is called “Croydon Tram” & made me laugh a lot! If you are able to get down to Brighton before the end of Fringe then click here to book tickets for the show. At just £5 they are bargainous!
Eccentronic are awesome, go see them!