::Play:: If you give a boy a…

August 3, 2011

For today’s post for Eat:Play:Learn we share a post from another Rhythm of The Home contributor, Cindy Wallach.


If you give a boy a…

If you give a boy a needle and thread he will stitch up some clothes for his gnome. And then a pillow for his baby sister. And then a bag for his treasures. And time will pass with that quiet hum of a child being busy. And that boy will learn to create for himself.

If you give a boy a paintbrush and sit with him side by side he will spill color and love into the universe. He’ll watch the hues run and bleed. The boy will get lost in a rainbow. He’ll paint himself a story.

If you give a boy some costumes, some open ended dress up clothes that don’t tell him what to be… he’ll disappear into another world. His voice will change accents. His smile will fill with mischief. The one boy will become five different characters. He will walk in the shoes of royalty. He will be free to be.

If you teach a boy to bake, his world will be sweeter. He will know how to satisfy cravings. He will unlock the alchemy of eggs and flour and heat and chocolate. He will taste tradition and lick the spoon of memory. He will know the joy in feeding himself and those he loves.

If you teach a boy to sew on the machine he will unlock the mystery of production and figure out the magic of patterns. He will know self sufficiency. He will blend creativity and utility and yearn for more. He will feel power. He will ooze pride.

If you teach a boy music he’ll build scenes out of notes. He’ll belt out Gene Kelly tunes while tap dancing in puddles. He’ll pick and strum out his thoughts. He’ll beg to go to the ballet and announce he’s putting on a salsa show. Rhythm will be his forever companion.

If you show a boy how to garden he’ll become friends with the earth. He’ll practice patience first hand and understand how to nurture. He’ll taste dedication. The boy will feed his soul and pass it on.

If you teach a boy to love animals he will tread lightly on the earth. He will use his hands for helping. The boy will know trust. And the trust will open his heart. He will connect and consider. He will exude compassion.

Why give a boy a toy gun when every stick will become one anyhow? Must we arm our children for desctruction, can’t we teach to use their arms and hands for creation? Why limit a boy to footballs and trucks and plastic toolsets and stories of talking cars? What’s the point of plugging him in day after day and tuning out the richness beyond the wires and cords that bind us? Why have him choose between baseball and basketball and leave out ballet and ceramics? Why box him up in blue when you can paint his path in rainbows?

Give a boy the gift of an open mind and a creative spirit and the whole world will thank you.
Thank so much Cindy for sharing!
If you liked this post, you can visit Cindy at her space.
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Angela August 3, 2011 at 6:05 am

Love this! I have given my boy time in the kitchen as well as needles and thread and we have received some sidelong looks about it. No matter! Thanks for sharing!

Lindsey Lingenfelter August 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

As the mother of a boy…I LOVE this post! Thanks for creating this !!

Debra August 3, 2011 at 6:50 am

Wonderfully written post! I do not have the joy of a boy of my own, but I firmly believe in open ended play not pigeon holed by gender or race issues. I have received photos of boys enjoying the dolls I make and love that some parents allow their sons to nurture in that way.

Teri August 3, 2011 at 7:52 am

As the mother of four boys (ages ranging from 20 years to 21 days!!!) I LOVE LOVE LOVE this writing! I have also given my sons the gifts of music, creativity, love of nature, time in the kitchen, freedom of expression, etc. etc. etc. Seeing both ends of the spectrum – having a newborn AND young adult “men”, I realize how too soon it all passes by so ENJOY the times you have with them!

Amy August 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

As the mother of both a boy and a girl – I don’t know why anything has to be gender specific. My girl plays with her brother’s toys and he plays with hers. Boy, girl . . . at the root of it all — CHILD.
What I take away from this post is the idea of nurturing creativity. Both of my children play with yarn and fabrics. My scraps become their jewellery, leashes for their pets, their ‘hair’. It’s amazing (and endless) what a bit of scrap becomes in the hands of an engaged child.
Of course boys should have every oppotunity to learn about nurturing and creativity through play. Every child should.

Amanda As A Bee August 3, 2011 at 9:05 am

This is beautiful. I especially loved the line about boxing them up in blue. Gorgeously written and completely true. Like honey to my soul! Thanks Cindy. Oh and love the photos.

boatbaby August 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

And you know honey Amanda :) Thank you for your kind words!

Julie August 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

I don’t have any boys, but I think this post pretty much speaks for all children. Just beautiful!

Anastasia August 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

This is such a wonderful, beautiful and inspiring post! I have two boys….

boatbaby August 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Thank you so much Anastasia!

Crystal@Green Mittens August 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm

beautiful and so well put! I am always appreciative when a friend gives paints over toy cars with faces, and I’m so grateful to have a childcare-giver who bakes with my sons every week. And painting, and embroidery, and crafts, – Boys need the creative arts just as much as girls! Of course they do!

boatbaby August 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Of course they do indeed! It seems so logical among like minded parents, yet out in the big world it can be so rare.

Lisa August 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Thank you for this Cindy, as the mom of 2 girls with a boy on the way any day now this sums up a lot of my thoughts and feelings in a beautiful way. Well said.

boatbaby August 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Warm congratultions to you on the pending arrival of your son! One upshot of having these open ended thinga at home is that we really don’t need to buy anything new for our daughter as far as play things. What we have at home works for everyone!

Meg August 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

What a wonderful post Cindy. It’s nice to see other boys doing similar things to mine. He looks like such a sweetie. I’ll have to have a read of your blog now too. x

boatbaby August 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Thank you Meg! It is nice to find a like minded tribe :)

Amanda August 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Love this.
Thank you for this beautiful poetic journey of life with boys. I have two. I have discovered that they are fundamentally different from their older sister. They are also (equally) fundamentally different from each other. They are individuals with a unique perspective. They seem to find their own balance between ‘baseball man’, and ‘ballet man’. It’s been amazing discovering boys, and how full and rich their lives are.

(I’ve also discovered that they both really love their own penis. Somethings are universally *boys*.)


boatbaby August 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Amanda, you just made me laugh my tea out my nose with that last comment. So funny and so so true :)

~ joey ~ August 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Awesome post! If only the entire world raised little boys in this way, how different the world would be!?
~ joey ~

Fiona Kelly August 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm

This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. I have a daughter and have always been nervous about having a son because of all the hyper-masculinity that will be thrown in his direction. Your words tell of the possibility of things being different. Thank you.

angie August 4, 2011 at 10:14 am

Great post and great attitude. I love watching my boy be anything that catches his fancy in play.

lynn August 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I have 2 sons and have to say I found this post the most refreshing thing I have seen in some time. Now I am even more excited about watching my boys grow and explore. Thank you for the time it took to create the post and thank you ROTH for hosting it!

www.theevolvinghomemaker.com August 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

that was awesome.


♥ Aleta ~ Hinterland Mama August 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

What a wonderful post. I have 2 boys and feel the same way (as is evident I’m sure, on my own blog).
I understand the point you are making, however I do believe that your ideas would speak for all children!
Thank you SO much for sharing this.

Stephanie Conwell August 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Perfect blog. I currently have a 18 month old son and your vision is what I am hoping to inspire in my own family. Any recommendations for open ended toys for indoor play?

boatbaby August 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

We keep baskets around. One for art. One for sewing. One with blocks. One with playsilks and wool balls. One with the various gnomes and other characters we’ve made. One with animals. One with vehicles. One with music items. One for dress up clothes. One with natural items like coconut shells, sea shells, corks, drift wood, feathers, stones. All together these things can be anything. We have also gotten lots of use of our large wooden rainbow which becomes everything and anything. And of course book baskets too. Enjoy!

Kelly McCarthy August 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

So beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

Bess August 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

LOVE this. I don’t understand gender specific activities for kids. How ridiculous. I sure hope my daughter doesn’t end up boxed into pink. Perhaps I should send this on to some of my relatives…

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