Being Baby

At the ripe old age of 8, children seem to start their march to the beat of social norms.  One of them seems to be trying to shed the image of youth, calling someone a "baby" one of the cruel but common taunts.  They also seem to separate themselves by pre-defined gender roles.  Girls play "girly" stuff with girls, and boys show their athletic prowess with boys.

One of life's difficulties for Boo is that he doesn't understand any of those social norms.  He is just as ready to play with a boy as a girl and just as willing to play with a 3-year old as with a 12-year old.

He is hurt that he isn't allowed to join the girls, even though a couple of them are good friends of his and have come for play dates.  He was shunned by several kids last year because he would quote the Teletubbies, because he thought they were hilarious!
It would actually upset these kids as if they were personally attacked, yelling, "That's for babies!!"  Boo isn't interested in Pokemon or Spiderman or the DS.  He isn't envious and doesn't follow the norms just to belong.

He has a bully in his class that day after day, week after week, rules over the other boys with his physical prowess and excludes Jinsok with the dreaded words, "You can't play!"  I advised him that this boy is no friend, and that he should stay away from him.  With uncharacteristic angst, he protested,"But the Bible says I should try to be friends with him, mom!"

This same bully has been harsh to one of Boo's classmate but Boo has stayed true to him.  In fact, this little boy said to me that Boo was the only one that was still his friend.  But when Dylan was allowed into the bully's circle, Dylan obeyed the groupthink and did not play with Boo.  Lately, Boo has made friends with some kind older boys and has left his classmates behind.

Boo loves to wear a shirt and tie, because he loves looking like his dad.  [Stay with me here.]  On Chapel days, he always wears a shirt and tie.  Except that he told us he and Jason were going to wear a t-shirt which they both own.  We reminded him that he had made a promise to a friend but left it at that.  He came back out of his room, wearing the t-shirt and said, "I can wear a shirt a tie to church on Sunday."

So my rhetorical question is, who is a "baby" and who is mature?  Do we teach our children to grow up by associating their "maturity" with certain toys and tv shows?

Do we, as adults know the difference between worldliness and maturity?  Between information and wisdom?


Anonymous said...

Oh, no! That is horrible that boy is being a bully!!! Your son is SOOO cute it just isn't fair!

Julie said...

I feel your pain. We are dealing with similar issues in our house too. Sarah is by far the biggest tomboy I know. She doesn't fit the social norm in any way shape or form. She plays with boys because they like what she likes. She gets taunted by some of the meaner girls at school because she doesn't like iCarly or whatever is the current obsession. It has definitely been a learning process in our house to teach her to be true to herself and let the comments roll off her back. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. But always we tell her she is perfect the way she is. Tell Boo he is perfect the way he is. God has never made anything imperfect so he too is exactly who is he meant to be.