The day started like every other day. Somewhere around 5am my five year old daughter climbed into bed with my husband and me, followed by my three year old son. By 7am, all three of the kids were awake and ready to go.
Shortly after breakfast, Jacob was asking me, “mom, will you play fight with me?” Morning, noon, and night this boy is asking someone, anyone to play fight with him. It started shortly before he turned three. It’s not like we are a violent family or allow him to watch heavily violent things on television, but we did buy the kids the Disney Infinity video game for Christmas. While Maggie loves exploring the toybox and building things, Jacob spend his entire time on there fighting the bad guys. This is how he learned about the Marvel superheros and now, well, being a superhero is a large part of his day.
A few times a day we’ll break out the foam swords and have a good ole fashioned sword fight in the living room. Sometimes the swords transform magically into guns (I love his imagination!). Whether it’s 5 or 50 minutes, it’s never long enough and he’s always begging for more. Tonight while fixing dinner my husband was taking his turn being the “bad guy” when Jacob ran into the kitchen by my side. “I’ll protect you my princess!” he said to me. “You’ll never get my princess, bad guy!” he yelled out to my husband.
It was like a light bulb went off in my head. When Jacob and I play fight, I’m not mommy, or a princess, or any other female character. He makes me play the bad guy. I must be a bad guy and he wants to know which one (usually it’s one of the Marvel bad guys or just a bad robot). If I tell him I’m the princess or just a mommy, he gets upset with me because he can’t fight me. I must be a bad guy.
I’ve never told him he has to protect the princess or any other female characters, nor have I ever told him he couldn’t fight females…….and yet he’s only willing to fight male characters and he feels the need to protect the female characters.
And. I. Am. Proud.
I realize we live in a world where women want to be considered equal with men. I’m all about equal pay and equal rights. I don’t feel like we are any less of a human than a man. I do however think we each have our own strengths and weaknesses. But somewhere along the way towards equal rights, it feels like we started to tell men to stop being men, to stop leading their families.
In a marriage and as parents, we work as a team, but the best teams are led by a captain. That’s why there is only one CEO for a company, only one head coach for a football team. There are supporting roles under the leaders, but there must be a leader.
Men are born leaders. (Most – of course there are exceptions to the rule.) They have a desire to protect, to care for the women and children. Sure, I wouldn’t hesitate to protect my family if it was needed, (it’s not that I can’t be a leader too) but if my husband and I are both home and we have an intruder, he’s taking the lead to defend our home and our family. He wouldn’t have it any other way and honestly, neither would I. I LIKE having a protector. I am so thankful that he willingly takes on that role. I love the fact that my husband still opens my car door and establishment doors when we’re out. It’s not that I can’t (or won’t), but it’s a subtle way he is saying, “I’m here to take care of you, right down to the little things.”
I want my son to grow up to be chivalrous. And I want him to continue to grow up believing woman are the weaker sex, ones that deserve to be protected by the good guys around them. I want him to continue to strive to be the good guy, protecting the weak from the bad guys, because that’s how it should be.