Many of those instructions are absolutely needed. If not for adults guiding kids, well, life will be a variation of an old joke that I have used so many times in classes:
Q: What's the difference between broccoli and booger?
A: Kids hate broccoli
There are plenty of evolutionary purposes served through that kind of guidance. Hey, even the geese and the ducks train the young, even on crossing the road it seems!
But, through that same process, we also begin to brainwash kids with a whole lot of crap. Some crap are worse than others. When I was growing up, it was not unusual for boy kids to be told "don't cry like a girl!" Or, for girls to be told "don't run around like a boy!" The crap keeps on coming and it takes some conscious effort to get rid of a whole lot of baggage that quickly piles up.
There is a reason for such a preamble to what I want to get to in this post.
When in India, even the December days are hot anymore. Bearable hot, as opposed to the unbearable heat of the long summer months there. It is not without reason that the traditional gear there was nothing but a dhoti and a thundu for men. But, I can't do that outfit--I would feel naked if I all I had was nothing but a thundu on top.
So, one day I decided to pick up a couple of light linen shirts that are more suited to the hot and humid conditions. The store nearby did have something along the lines of what I had in mind. They had it in only two colors, and one of them was pink.
Throughout my childhood, and definitely into my adult years, the system had pummeled into my head that pink is for girls and women. And that if a man wore pink, well, he was gay. I looked at the linen shirt. I thought about the heat and the humidity. The pink actually looked good. I bought that. And the other one too, which a lighter olive brown.
The funny thing; thanks to years of social conditioning, I couldn't bring myself to wear the pink. The rest of my Indian vacation, that shirt stayed in my suitcase.
Here in Oregon, with the much milder temperatures for most of the year, that linen shirt remained in the closet.
It has begun warming up here in Oregon. Some days are so hot that I have no option but to turn on the air conditioning unit. Yesterday was one of those days. A bright and hot sunny day, with no trace of cloud up in the air.
The pink linen shirt came out of the closet.
I wonder why we indoctrinate kids and adults with twisted ideas. On various issues. From pink to race to caste to ... the list is endless, it seems.
Or, maybe I should simply stop thinking about these.