After school class selection has become a battle at my house. Ever since our son started school, we tried to keep him in on choosing the classes. One of the other parents told me that they never even let their kid know that there was a selection. They just made it for him. I thought that was mean and undemocratic. In hindsight, they may have been brilliant. They just pick whatever they want their son to do. No choices. No debates. No arguments. Divine.
We have a very different process. It involves cajoling. And give and take. I usually want some type of sports activity. My son usually wants to sit in the cafeteria. I lobby for drama. He wants to sit in the cafeteria. We argue and bicker. We negotiate. And ultimately I usually pick a class and he picks a class. I was going really strong for JV Volleyball this year. It is the first year he is old enough to do it. The school is really small so the sports activities on behalf of the school are limited to volleyball and basketball. I thought that it would be good for him and that he would like it. We were at the office before school started to register for classes and he adamantly refused to sign up for it. He even started getting a little teary eyed. I gave in. I didn’t want to but I did. So in the place of volleyball, I got tennis. And his choice, my son’s selection, was Japanese Tea Ceremony class. I continue to be fascinated by this choice. My first thought was that it would be all girls which he would not like. He tolerates girls and is sort of friends with some of them but generally speaking, he wouldn’t choose to spend an afternoon with roomful of them. And I almost said that he might be the only boy that day we were registering. I almost said that he might be surrounded by girls. And then I didn’t. I felt like, first of all, I was bringing my own gender bias into it by thinking that it would be all girls. And if I did say this, was I then saying that only girls should take the class? That seemed wrong. And if I did say it, there was a strong likelihood that he would change his mind. So I just shut it. I said nothing.
He has been in Japanese Tea Ceremony class for about two weeks now. He is one of two boys in the class and he loves it. They wear kimonos during the class. They start out by having Japanese candy and then partake in some tea drinking. Grape, unsweetened tea apparently. His only complaint is that there are too many girls and not enough boys. But it is a small complaint. And I feel good that I didn’t make some comment to change his
mind. And that my thoughts were not his thoughts. I hope that it stays that way. That he doesn’t choose to do things or not do things because they are labeled as “girl” things. Maybe that will happen as long as I continue to keep my mouth shut.