In my Waldorf community, there are only women teachers. I have one ever seen one male working consistently in the early years area, and he left many years ago, never to be seen again.
And as much as us women try to provide balanced experiences for the children in our communities, by engaging the children in woodworking, heavy lifting, setting up of pulley and rig systems in cubby houses, and working with tools, there is something to be said in having a male person working this way and providing a real role model for imitative play. Without being stereotypical, there are things that a man does and ways that a man moves and communicates, that cannot be replicated by a woman. (Same goes for the other way too!)
So, it is a big delight for me to watch Ned spending time with his father doing ‘boy’ stuff. And Chris is great (like many dads) at adjusting his tasks slightly so Ned can join in too!
This past fortnight, Chris has been working to finish concreting our long rural driveway. Of course, Ned wants to join in so he cut off a section of the handle of a big shovel for him. Because, of course, no other tool- not a replica or child size version- would have been good enough. Ned wants to do the ‘real’ job with the real tool, just like his daddy.
And then there was the job of moving concrete to pave a mowing strip next to the trampoline.
Chris’s work wheelbarrow was way too heavy, so Ned and Daddy went into the shed to fashion one just right for him! Abracadabra- a baby bath, an old wheel and a few timber scraps and there you have it!
Chris was busying carving concrete rocks- one of his favourite past-times- something you can tell by looking around our garden. This is a skill he learned from my dad, a bit of a legend rock carver who worked on the Polar Bear shores and Shark Bay rock enclosures at our local Seaworld, and on tourist attractions all around Australia and overseas. Rock carving is a long, time-consuming and delicate process. Ned loves it, but sometimes ends up doing more harm than good!
So, imaginative daddy Chris backed up his ute onto the grassy strip next to the sculpture . Luckily, we live in a rural lane with only 3 neighbours so car traffic is a rarity. Chris added two of Ned’s big trucks and a few shovels to the sand and Ned played happily next to Dad, carving his own rocks in his makeshift portable sandpit.
This made Chris one very happy daddy, able to work in peace.
Our new letterbox in progress.
I love wonderful male role models that can show little boys and girls what it means to work heartily and happily on a project. We need more of these guys in the world.
Are you lucky enough to know one??