“Not in some sissy way”
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been out of Mormonism so long that I can hardly remember what it was like. Yet it’s in there — deep in the bowels of my brain — perhaps built into the foundation of my personality.
Since my kids have gotten old enough to enjoy Legos (which I love!) — and since now I’ve been enjoying some Minecraft adventures with them — I caught this message involuntarily popping into my thoughts:
Once there was a little boy named Jamie. He had some great friends, but his greatest friend was his mom. Not in some sissy way. She was just different than the other moms. While they were busy going to her fashion shows and bridge parties, she was home with him. They would go on bike rides and hiking and have long talks. She was the best football player on the whole block! At least, that’s what the other guys said. They wished their moms were more like her.
Now, I’m not going to sing you the rest — perhaps you recall, it’s a song about a boy whose mom dies. But the above-quoted paragraph is the part that really stuck with me — it’s the part I remember from my childhood.
Sure, guys-who-just-wanna-be-guys are people too, and deserve to have their stories told. Yet, I suspect that the point to the above is rather that the writers don’t want the males who are sensitive about their masculinity to just tune out when they see that this is a sentimental story. So they throw in a gratuitous jab at “sissies”. And at women who like hanging out with other adult women. Not that there’s anything wrong with moms who play bridge or go to fashion shows, it’s just that they’re not quite as deserving of un-sissy-like love as moms who stay home to play football with their sons.
The problem is that boys on their way to becoming manly men aren’t the only kids in the audience. Try watching it from the perspective of a girl who’s being constantly told in a million subtle ways that her worth is determined by how pleasing she is to the males in her life; that the boys have exciting dreams and ambitions, whereas her interests aren’t much more than a plus that makes her potentially cute or useful.
Now if you’re a girl and you love American-style football, that’s great! Personally, I can hardly imagine anything more boring (at least anything that takes place outside the 3-hour block). So, as a kid, I kind of had difficulty relating to this filmstrip. Of course, I also find fashion and bridge uninteresting, but to me it said that what made those other moms inferior was that they had their own friends and their own interests. Yet, my own mom was a faithful, stay-at-home Mormon mom, and she absolutely had her own friends and interests. To me, that’s a big part of what made her a fantastic mom!
Now that I have my own kids — two sons, ages 8 and 10 — I’m happy when I can find common interests with them, so we can enjoy doing something fun and creative together. I’m also happy that I have my own life, my own friends, and my own hobbies and interests (some of which, perhaps, my children will someday share). And they can feel free to love me in a “sissy way” or a non-sissy way or however they like!
Did any of the rest of you have similar memories or reactions…?