Aselin (pronounced AZ-lin) Maloney is fortunate to be the mother of three, and happily married to a man to whom she became engaged in a Taco Bell drive-thru. She has worked as a hostess, bovine babysitter, the original “Creamies” girl, and more recently in computers, oncology research, and as a speaker on W.O.W. cooking. She also volunteers teaching English to 3rd grade students who need to matriculate into the general English speaking population. Aselin's blog was started as a late night dare by her husband, trying to get her to share her writings. It involved a headlock and crying; finally she assented.
I recently read an article that made my head spin.
The premise asserted in the research is that fathering daughters makes men move to the left politically. ”In an unpublished article to be submitted to an economics journal, the researchers wrote: ‘This paper provides evidence that daughters make people more Left-wing, while having sons, by contrast, makes them more Right-wing.’ Professor Oswald said: ‘As men acquire female children, those men gradually shift their political stance and become more sympathetic to the “female” desire for a larger amount for the public good.”
Is it really as simple as that? People’s political views are shaped by the gender of their children?
My dad only had daughters. What still stands out about my childhood is the lack of sympathy shown to my “female” leanings. For instance, we lived on a large piece of property. One day dad decided that important lessons could be taught from working the land. Lessons about education, career choices and self sufficiency.
As a young teen I was given the task of digging post holes for a fence. Post hole digging by hand is a tricky endeavor requiring stamina, coordination and strength. At the time I had no upper body strength, girly girl hands and a lazy streak. I would work on a post hole for what seemed hours, extracting dirt at the rate of a teaspoonful at a time, and then tearfully check in with my father to report how impossible and unfair this task was.
Rather than adjusting the task to my abilities – which is what a left-leaner would advocate, smoke would come out of his ears as he unsympathetically bound my blistered hands and replied “This will make you want to go to college.” Seventeen hours later, with bloody, splintered hands, dehydrated from my blubbering and having completed one post hole I had to agree with him. In the following days I completed more post holes. I rose to the challenge (OK, I confess partly because I was going so slow that my dad hired some teenage boys to dig along side of me.), my abilities increased, as did my commitment to higher education.
My daughter-raising father also dragged me along on some of his late-night dental emergencies. Being awakened at three in the morning to make the 30 minute drive to the office only to hold the spit vacuum for some moron who decided that the rotting, pus oozing tooth that had clearly been in that state during normal business hours, needed pre-dawn emergency attention, made me think long and hard about the dental profession.
My dad was a very successful dentist, and like most children, I arrived on the scene after the trappings of success were evident. It would be easy to romanticize the profession, at which he was successful but did not like. On one of these drives I asked why he didn’t just make the guy wait until morning? A father with “female” sensitivities might have said something like he was motivated to ease the suffering of this poor soul. Not my dad. Without missing a beat, in deadpan delivery he said “So you won’t want to become a dentist.”
I know that research studies merely attempt to classify and speak in generalities about their human subjects, but I have to vehemently disagree with these findings. I think men raising daughters today do gain a window into their sensitive sides, but they also become more in touch with how hard it will be for those girls as they grow up to establish stable successful lives. They become acutely aware that these girls need skills of their own. That in the reality of this unfair and unpredictable world they need to be able to take care of themselves, to not be dependent, not to be victims.
When I left home, there was no question, I was on my own. While this was a little scary, I also had a firm belief that I would be up to the task. It didn’t enter my mind that my parents would bail me out of bad decisions, protect me from my own stupidity, or financially support me. As I watch our government today enacting more and more left-leaning policies I don’t see the wisdom or the good in many of them.
Oh, and neither does my father.
What do you think of Aselin's assertion? What was your father like? Was he there for you? Was he not? Did he push you? Did he not? How does our father's attitude toward us and our dreams affect the dreams we choose and our ability to execute against those dreams?
In honor of Father's Day, will you go back and read the Psyche Myth? To what extent can the men in our lives (father, husband, brothers, co-workers, and friends) help us learn what we need to learn to achieve our dreams? Are they ever the ant, the reed, the eagle?