Archive | October, 2010

Bias Against Boys

29 Oct

I feel like I’ve always been very progressive and open-minded in the way I raise my kids, but something happened recently that really disturbed me.  In fact, it completely shocked me and stopped me dead in my tracks.

My son asked me to paint his nails.

No, it wasn’t the fact that he wanted his nails painted that shocked me, it was the fact that when he asked me, I hesitated.  I didn’t come right out and say, “Sure, honey, sit up there next to your sister and I’ll do yours too.”  I, who consider myself to be so tolerant that I don’t even like using the word “tolerant” because it implies having to tolerate something (which to me, has negative connotations), hesitated because getting a manicure felt like something boys don’t do.

I have to admit, I was kind of disgusted with myself.  I’ve never had any problems letting my son play with toys that are considered “girly,” and fortunately, my husband is not the macho sort to have a problem with that, either.

I’ve never been the kind of parent – or person – to impose gender stereotypes on my children, or any children.  My son wanted a pink ball once, he got it.  A glittery unicorn?  No problem.  Try on his sister’s hairbows?  Sure, why not.  He also loves dinosaurs, his fire trucks, and sword-fighting.  So does his sister.

But this nail-painting incident made me realize that all of us, even me, are pretty biased towards boys, particularly little boys.

No, you might say, it’s always been girls that haven’t gotten a fair shake.  Haven’t you ever heard of women’s lib??

But think about it – most people I know would never think of telling their daughters, “No, you can’t play with those cars” or “No, pants are only for boys” or “No, you can’t be a fireman for Halloween.”

But that bias is exactly what some people impose on little boys who want to play with dolls, or watch a Barbie show, or…paint their nails like their sister.  We tell them that they are not allowed to explore certain little-kid things, because we as adults have too many hang-ups about it.

I truly believe that when you’re a little kid, colors are just colors, toys are just toys, and putting paint on your nails is just plain fun.

I haven’t painted my son’s nails…yet.  But the next time he asks, I know what my answer will be.

Weekend Calendar Reminder – Halloween Edition!

29 Oct

Here’s a quick look at what’s going on this weekend – click on the links or check out our calendar for all the details!

Friday, October 29:

Autumn at the Arboretum

St. John the Apostle Pumpkin Patch

Boo at the Zoo

Gnismer Farms Crop Maze

Dallas Art Exhibit – This Ain’t No Ferdinand

St. Barnabas Church Fall Festival

Saturday, October 30:

Trek or Treat 5K Walk & Run

Autumn at the Arboretum

St. John the Apostle Pumpkin Patch

Halloween Pics at Walgreen’s

Rush Creek Christian Church Fall Festival

Borders Annual Halloween Spooktacular

Kidtoon Movie at Studio Movie Grill (Arlington Highlands)

Boo at the Zoo

Gnismer Farms Crop Maze

Mansfield Fall Festival

Sunday, October 31 – HALLOWEEN:

Autumn at the Arboretum

St. John the Apostle Pumpkin Patch

Kidtoon Movie at Studio Movie Grill (Arlington Highlands)

Boo at the Zoo

Burton Adventist Academy Fall Fair

Gnismer Farms Crop Maze

First Fest and Pumpkin Run

First Fest, a Community-Wide Family Festival

28 Oct

Yeah, I know – another festival…but really, this one sounds great!  In particular, check out the Pumpkin Run benefiting the Mission Arlington Christmas Store – get a head start on helping them out for the holidays.

First Fest will be held on October 31st, at the corner of Abram and Center Streets in downtown Arlington.

From the website:

  • Afternoon of fun begins @ 4:00pm with the Pumpkin Run, a 5k run/walk benefiting the Mission Arlington Christmas Store. Registration is $10 + a new unwrapped toy.
  • Immediately following the Pumpkin Run there is a huge FREE family friendly street party.
  • From 4:30-8:30pm there will be over 20 inflatables, bounce houses, games, a mechanical bull and street performers.
  • Food vendors will be available all day for you to purchase you favorite foods.
  • Kids will be able to Trunk R Treat at over 60 cars between 5:30 and 7:30pm.

Mansfield Fall Festival

28 Oct

Saturday, October 30, 5-9 pm

Vernon Newsom Stadium, 3700 E. Broad Street, Mansfield, TX 76063

Prizes & candy!

Carnival booths!

Themed hayride!

Bounce houses!

Petting zoo!

This Fall Festival is coordinated by the Mansfield Police Department in order to provide a safe Halloween environment for families.  Most activities are free, but some (hay ride, food booths, and jump rides) have a minimal charge to cover costs.

For more information, click here.

Gnismer Farms Crop Maze

28 Oct

Care to get lost on Halloween? Gnismer Farms, an organic, family-run farm in Arlington, has a crop maze! Wind through the maze, paying careful attention to the informational signs along the way. When you complete the maze, the farmer will ask you some trivia questions, with glow sticks and other prizes as your “treats” for performing this “trick.”

Through the end of October, Gnismer Farms is usually open from 1 pm to 8 pm, but on the 30th and 31st, they will stay open until 10 pm.

While you’re there, pick up some of their freshly harvested vegetables – broccoli, sunchokes, lettuce, okra, green beans, purple hull peas, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplant.

Click here for the Gnismer Farms website.

Got Festivals?

28 Oct

Got a festival to plug?  Is your church hosting a fall festival in the next couple of weeks?  Is your school holding a Halloween carnival open to the public?

Tell our readers about it!  You can let everyone know about your event by placing a comment here with all the info.

Thanks – and have fun!

Just for the Smudge of It

27 Oct

Do you ever feel bogged down with negativity, stuck in a rut, depressed, anxious, sick, or fearful?  Of course!  We all have experienced these draining emotions from time to time.  In the interest of coming up with something interesting, new, and perhaps a little mysterious as Halloween approaches, I wanted to focus on a ritual I find very helpful from time to time, in order to clear the space in my home, drive negative forces/energy out, revamp the positive energy, rejuvenate, and cleanse the environment.

Many of us appreciate the benefits of a soothing bath or a vigorous shower to cleanse and refresh our body.  Equally as effective, but on the psychic energetic level, is the practice of smudging.  Smudging is a powerful cleansing technique which Native Americans have used for centuries; however, the burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is common practice in many religious, healing, and spiritual traditions.

Smudging is a ritual way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies or influences.  The theory behind smudging is that the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as it clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space to be regenerated.

There are many ways to smudge.  You can smudge any space, person, animal or thing, so long as they are receptive.  There is no wrong way to smudge.

The first time I smudged, I was experiencing some negative energy with my spouse.  We were going through several big transitions, including a pregnancy and a move.  I felt weighed down by all of the pressure and some perceived negativity.  One of my cousins told me I should smudge.  I researched it on the Internet and although slightly skeptical, I thought I’d give it a whirl, seeing as I certainly didn’t have anything to lose.

I purchased a sage smudge stick from Central Market.  I opened several of the windows and began at the front door.  When I lit the stick, it smelled a little like marijuana, and I became slightly paranoid the neighbors would smell it and call the police on me.  Fortunately, they didn’t and all was well!  I said a prayer of protection and proceeded to smudge the environment.  I like to work counter-clockwise.  As I enter each room, I wave the stick slowly throughout the entire space, top to bottom.  It is a good idea to do closets and open all cabinets and drawers too.  In each room, I say something aloud, along the lines of “Clear this space of everything that is not helpful to the home or the people living inside of it,” but really, you can say anything that comes to mind.

It is a good idea to carry a glass or ceramic plate or a bowl of water with you when performing the smudge ceremony to catch any falling embers.  It can also be helpful to turn any ceiling fans on as well.

When the cleansing is complete and all rooms have been cleared, some people like to extinguish the flame and bury the stick, cementing the idea that with that stick, all of the negativity will disappear.  I am a huge fan of recycling, so I save my stick to use again.

I have smudged my mom’s house, my children, myself, my mom, my mom’s dog, the girls’ playhouse, and our new house twice.  Once I have completed the ceremony I feel so much better, knowing that my home has been cleansed.  Initially, I think my husband thought I was a little crazy.  The last time I did it though, he came home from work and said, “I’m so glad you smudged!”

If you believe in ghosts or spirits, you can even use this exercise to drive them out of your home.

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