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Gender and the Potential of Children

There’s been a lot about children and gender identity on my radar screen lately, from stores with gender-neutral children’s clothing to the media ridiculousness surrounding little Shiloh to the tragic murder of a 16-month-old little boy whose mother’s boyfriend didn’t think the infant was “man” enough.  I’ve also been tapping into my own inner-child potential as I try to resolve issues with depression and finding my gender identity.

Childhood, ideally, is all about play.  Children who are given safe spaces to exercise their curiosity and explore their surroundings as they grow up are more likely to be well-adjusted adults.  Adults, in fact, could learn something from children.  It’s amazing how a problem changes shape and how solutions present themselves when you take a step back and approach the problem with your imagination guns a blazin’.

And that’s the thing about childhood.  Imagination doesn’t do well with boxes.  It’s about exploring possibilities, playing, learning.  As we get older, society draws lines and we all learn where those lines lie.  We learn that boys do this and girls do this, and we learn behaviors that society considers “appropriate” to our gender.  And for those of us who don’t feel 100% comfortable with our gender, it may take years to unwrap those neat little packages we’ve been dressed up in and try to find who we are, independent of this thing called “gender.”  It may take a lot of play.

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