My version of feminism – no coddling allowed

Posted on November 7, 2009

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I’m still grouching over my daughter’s soccer game.  Coach played her at forward . . . once.  She played forward twice altogether today, because the other team was short a player, and she volunteered to help them out one quarter.  This coach plays the girls at defense and the boys at offense.  The team is pretty good, so defense is a pretty low intensity role.  I.e., boring.  My girl likes to play offense.  Today, she excelled.  She ran, she scored, she passed, she busted her butt.  The parents called her name from the sidelines.  And the coach said, “Today, you played great.  You were the MVP!”

His words made me grit my teeth.  Why?

Because this was one of the few games of the season she played the position she loved.  Because, during practice, when his son kicked the ball hard to her, the coach scolded the boy and said, “You can’t kick the ball hard to her, you’ve got to kick it gently.”  Because, to me, his saying she was the MVP sounded patronizing.

Ok, so I went to an all-girls school for 6 years, and I may have my paternalism-detection radar on high.  But my problem with this coach’s approach is the same problem I have with some people’s version of affirmative action: if you consistently try to help by making things easier or by lowering your standards, both the person you’re trying to help and those around them start to think they need the help to succeed, that they CANT meet the standard.  And ultimately, that doesn’t help anyone.

I don’t want things to be easier for my daughter because she’s a girl, and I don’t want things to be harder for her because she’s a girl.  I want her to have access to a level playing field and to feel confident that she deserves to play with the boys because she’s good.  Don’t coddle my girl.  She may surprise you.

What does this have to do with finding a calling?  For anyone who’s supporting a friend who’s seeking their vocation, don’t coddle, don’t act like they need help!  Instead, cheer them on, make them feel strong and insist they give their best effort.  For those who are seeking, don’t accept the shortcuts and the easy way out.  This effort is important – to you!  Do it right.

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