Why is it important to watch the Summer Games as a family? Because we can watch women and men compete in the same sport as one another and thrive.
Rewind to two weeks ago: Azariah, my son, and I were playing in the house before Romeo, my husband, got home. As per usual, when Romeo waltzes through the door, he becomes the center of attention for Azariah, and I drift away in the background. I usually take this time to do a minor tasks like wash the dishes, put in a load of laundry to wash, or take out the trash, and so on. Once the chore is completed, I somehow become “the villain” of whatever choice of game Azariah and husband are playing.
However, this time my son said, “No Mommy! This game is for boys only! Girls can’t play!” Usually, these comments don’t have an effect on me— but that day, it did. I thought to myself, how many times have I said, “No, Azariah, this is for girls only,” or “Boys can’t do this/that.”
I like to take pride in my parenting. I like to think I am giving my son options. I like to think that as a parent, I am letting him know that we live in a world where he can be anything he wants to be… even if he wants to “drive trains.” (Those are his words.) Who am I to tell him he can’t do something based on his gender
Rio 2016: A Teaching Opportunity
This August, the Summer Games are going to be all over the media. Here is a perfect opportunity for me and Azariah to sit back, relax (enjoy some guilty pleasure snacks), and see that men and women can do the same things as each other, successfully. I hope that we can sit back and watch the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team take Gold while simultaneously cheering on the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team. I hope he can watch and appreciate as one of the most diverse groups of U.S. gymnasts thrives this summer. I’m talking about the U.S. Women’s Team, not to say the men’s team isn’t just as talented. However, the men’s team lacks diversity. But I digress…
Growing up Mexican-American in a Mexican dominated area, this will shelter him from the world above the Area Code (956). The Games are a perfect time for him to be exposed to the different ethnicities around the World. Even though it is my job as a parent to teach my child right from wrong. I want to teach him that no matter the color of your skin, where you grew up, or what your preferences are, you can still break the glass ceiling, if you work hard enough. Don’t let someone or something lead you astray because of your gender. This goes for young girls, too.
Women, we are what these young eyes are watching. We need to be supportive of what our children are yearning to do. We shouldn’t tell boys they can’t do something because of their gender or tell young girls can’t like blue.
Lastly, my husband and son suffer from Tourette Syndrome. Automatically, people will judge them, simply because they don’t understand them. Here is where the teachings of this global competition will come full circle. Despite being told he will have uncontrollable tics for the rest of his life, my son can still do whatever makes him happy. These athletes come from different backgrounds and sometimes have more difficult upbringings than he will ever have (Google “Simone Biles upbringing”), yet they have still managed to make it out just fine.
[Related: Hey there, Lonely Mom.]
Hopefully, after the Rio Games are over, my son will think that men and women are equal. Of course, in the “real” world there are some things that men and women just can’t do as well as one another. Perfect example: he doesn’t understand that only Mommy can breastfeed. That will be another teaching moment for another day! For now, let’s just work on gender equality.