Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Gender Matters: Julia's Response

WOW! WOW! WOW!  What a great book for me to read!!  I'm so glad I read this.  It made me want to read his other books, one for girls and another for boys specifically.  Sax is intriguing and not too technical (especially amazing considering he has an M.D. and PhD!).  Even while in the middle of making strawberry jam, potty training a very clueless 3 year old, and dealing with a sick child for the past four days, I could not put this book down.  Highly fascinating.

So, what struck me the most?!  I took too many notes.  I'll try to keep it brief:

* I'm going to start  yelling at my boys more, particularly my husband!  :-)  I alwasy assumed they couldn't hear as well.  :-)  hahaha

* I now have scientific proof that I am not a neglegent parent, rather I am providing risks by which my children can gain confidence.  "Sheilding kids from injury makes them more risk-averse . . . a few scrapes build character."   Ha! 

* Great quote: "Our greatest moment comes when we find the courage to rechristen our 'evil' as the best within us."   - - Friedrich Nietzsche - - Does this relate to "make weak things become strong?"

* When girls are stressed they want to be with their friends more (or chocolate, I might add) while boys want to be left alone when they are stressed.  Good point to remember.

* I was completely flabergasted when I read about the 6 year old boy, Matthew, who was on three medications by the age of six - - Ritalin, Prozac and a sedative!  All because the mom didn't listen to Dr. Sax in the first place!!

* Teaching boys about literature is not about feelings!  I wish I'd read this before leading a boys book group for John and his friends.  Duh!!  I loved what the one teacher did with Lord of the Flies and mapping out the island.  I wish I could think more like THAT!!!  "Most boys prefer to read about strong maile characters who take dramatic action to change their world."  True!  Loved that description!

* "The first priority of schools must be EDUCATION.  Social engineering comes second."  And yet what do people usually ask or talk about when they find out we homeschool?!  Hmmmmm......

* Another quote on education that I loved:  "The great mission of education is to enable every child to fulfill their potential, to discover that corner of the field of knowledge they can call their own.  Almost every hcild is a gifted child, I believe.  The trick is to discover where your child's talents lie." 

* I found it interesting that girls underestimate their academic abilities whie boys think they're smarter than they really are!  After reading that I looked back at my high school experience and realize just how true that is!  I was completely programmed that I did not like physics and did not need to go beyond what was the minimum requirement in math.  I'm surprised I made it into BYU!

* I loved the part about how a man's dependency on emotional connection later in life is soley with their wife or girlfriend while women have many other sources of emotional connectedness.  That was tender for me to think about my husband in that light.

* It was refreshing to hear that premarital and frequent sex does not only affect the female in the situation.  I also have to admit that the chapter on sexual relations was very, very disturbing for me.  I grew up in a very naive world.  And though I would hope the same for my kids (in a sense) I know that it's not probable.  There's so much scum out there!  grrr.....  Made me nervous for my girls!  I loved all the differences between how to combat and protect our children. 

* "Share with your daughters your way of coping wiht stress so they can learn how to handle their own."  I liked how Sax kept going back to the "look in the mirror" principle.  What am I doing that might lead to my girls having lower self-confidance and pushing them to give in to drugs and sex.  "You can't discipline your child if you can't discipline yourself." 

* One of my favorite quotes:  "Most 15 year old boys are not sensible people.  They are 15 year old boys."  I think I still have my head in the sand here a little bit, not fully understanding how a boy's brain works.  My husband keeps warning me!  :-)

* LOVED the chapter on DISCIPLINE!  "A well-run family is not a democracy."  How many times I've found myself doing just what he's telling us not to do . . . Negotiation!  Not an option at my kids' age, really."Negotiation subverts the process of moral internalization."   This is the one chapter I'm going to have my husband read.  "Your job is not to maximize your child's pleasure, but to broaden her horizons." 

* Ironic that a society that condemns spanking condones medication!

* "Being a real man means using your strength in the service of others . . . Being a real woman is who you are inside."  I want my kids to fully understand these two statements!!

* With this gender confusion, we are actually lacking in guiding our children to adulthood!  Wow!  I know that a lot of this research has to do with the growing number of divorce and single-parenthood.  It makes sense.  With both father and mother in the home, it's easier to teach these gender roles. 

*  And my final vote:  SAME GENDER SCHOOLING EVERYWHERE!  :-)  LOL

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