Parenting has evolved to a large degree. Tasks and activities are no longer gender determined and it’s a change that is both refreshing and required these days. Take a look at how crafting can be a way to bring out the best from dads and kids alike.
Societal conditioning of the sexes has defined the activities boys and girls engage in. Craft is predominantly seen as a female domain, while Lego, building activities and physical games are what boys are expected to enjoy. Very often, while having boys over for crafting sessions I have found myself wondering if what is planned will excite them and have tried to make the activities boy-oriented. Much to my surprise the boys saw no difference and took to the regular craft activities with as much interest. They enjoyed cutting and gluing and making glittery salt dough cakes with as much enthusiasm as the girls.
Most of the crafting blogs and online tutorials that I have accessed are by woman crafters. There are very few men I personally know who engage in crafting activities as a hobby. Through school we were encouraged to take up crafts like basic stitching, knitting and making cloth dusters and I don’t remember too many boys being enthusiastic or involved. The craft teacher was also forgiving of the disinterest shown by the boys as crafting is seen as a skill with no practical use and therefore not a space for boys to be involved in.
Fathers always deem the mothers more capable with craft apparently because we are naturally endowed with patience, multitasking abilities and eye for colour- a debatable point. However, what we fail to see is that through the growing years girls are encouraged to put aesthetic skills to use while boys are taught to focus elsewhere. For years we have told our men that crafting is a space they need not be involved in or that this world of aesthetics and colour is beneath them. This, however, does not stop me from imagining a world with many more crafting fathers and men. I am definite our children would take back such a different set of skills from the male aesthetic sense. Men crafting within families would enable a more evenhanded and healthy world.
When I left my child to craft with her father I was amazed at the card I was welcomed with. The glitter was put on with utmost precision. The humor in the imagery made me laugh out loud, the father was portrayed as the pirate who had trapped the mother on a fishing line. The message was written in flow- chart like precision. I also heard that my Lil U was more bearable at the crafting desk and had learnt a few skills in patience and neat glitter application.
All children need to witness these contrasting energies. For crafting is not aesthetics alone it is also about forming expression, individual identities and appreciating differences.