And A Child Shall Lead Us
On a peaceful snowy day, as we sipped cups of hot cocoa, my six year-old daughter seemed upset. “Mom, why does everyone want to make snowmen? I want to make a snowgirl. Why do people always talk about firemen, or policemen? It makes me so mad.” Where would I begin? This would be the start of a conversation we’d continue over the years. My daughter’s already aware of some hard truths. At five she noted that TV sports was nearly all men and told us that she wanted to watch women play basketball. We quickly switched to WNBA games.
She accompanies me to the polls every time I vote and so I shared with her that women had to fight for our right to vote and that even though we can vote now, the fight continues. We looked at the ruler on the table with a picture of all of the presidents. She understood immediately without any explanation. I told her an issue being fought for today is equal pay for women. What if I paid her brother more for the same chore just because he is a boy? She was angry and shocked. “This is so unfair.” We talked about girls around the world and why it is so important to get an education and follow her dreams.
She paced around the room, thinking. “I know!” she exclaimed. “We need a day, no wait, a ten-day, celebration of girls and women. It will be like Chanukah and we’ll light a candle each day for girl’s dreams. The first day will be a celebration of girls and we’ll pray that every girl can live her dream. On the last day we will invite boys and men to come and have a very serious talk about fairness. But, Mom, some boys and men are really good, like Daddy and brother. So we should celebrate them for being fair and loving. “ I agreed.
I told her about International Women’s day. She was pleased to hear about it but said the day cannot be a conference; it must be a fun day for everyone. I told her that there are men who work to remind other men about the fairness that she is talking about. Then I told her about Voice Male. She said, “I want every boy and every man to read it and to treat everyone fairly. This is actually my dream.”
Lyssia Lamb Merriman
Takoma Park, Md.
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