Friday, May 20, 2011

Encouraging Their Passions

Having all boys, we naturally own a variety of toy vehicles, construction equipment, and sports gear. It is easy to cater to their natural play instincts, but I have also made an effort over the years to try and include things like baby dolls, a play kitchen, and other such "girly" toys. And I have encouraged them to pursue their interests, being careful not to label things as girly (though they have picked it up at school already, and are quick to point it out at the store). Joshua, in particular, has always loved things that are tiny and/or shiny. For Christmas he received a set of Squinkies, and LOVES them. Nevermind that I could only find them in the pink aisle at Toys-R-Us, or that George told him, "That's a girl toy!" Josh didn't care if it WAS a girl toy. He liked it and it doesn't matter to him what anyone else thinks about it.

So it came as no big surprise to me that, while at the Homeschool Convention over Spring Break, a book about paper dressmaking caught his eye. It had sparkly things! It had shiny things! And it had the tiniest hangers ever! He ooohed and aaahed over it, but when I looked at the price, I told him we couldn't buy it. He cried and cried over it, but I gently reminded him that his birthday was coming up and that maybe that would be a good gift for him if he still wanted it. I found the book on for a lot less, and ordered it for him for his birthday. He was overjoyed when he opened it and saw that he got the much desired gift. I told him it was something we could do together, as it is recommended for ages 8 and up, and he would most likely need assistance.

He wanted to dig into it right away, but as we've been booked solid the past few days, we weren't able to open it up and work on it yet. While my parents were here preparing a fish fry dinner for us, Josh asked if he could use the book. I let him get out one of the tiny hangers (the whole reason I believed he wanted the book in the first place), but told him that we couldn't do a dress yet as it was nearly dinner time. So he asked if he could use regular paper and crayons, and I said sure. By golly if he didn't create his own dress AND purse with them. And he did a really great job! He even fashioned a way to get it to stay on the tiny hanger (the stenciled patterns in the books have tabs to hold them on). I was blown away by his ingenuity. That's Josh though - if he wants to do something, he doesn't let anything stand in his way.

This is what he created.
This is just to show the size of his tiny fashion creations. That's a quarter.
So now we're all excited to begin making dresses together, with all of the accessories as well, using the real paper and materials. I told him that if/when he ever designs real clothes for women to wear, he'd have to come up with some modest but stylish clothing (not that he knew what I meant, but we can talk more about modesty as we go along with this particular craft time).

I could have easily steered him away from this book. I could have said - this is for girls, honey -and left it at that. But what if, in doing that, I were suppressing a talent the likes of which the world has never seen? Who am I to stop him from using his God-given talents and abilities? I will not. I will encourage him to follow his passion to the fullest, and I won't think of him as any less manly for it.

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