What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

25 July 2011

Failure in Foresight

So last week at church, I was chatting with a woman I had just met. We're in the process of changing churches, and by "in the process" I mean "we're visiting a bunch of places this summer and haven't decided yet where we'll land." So I'm having lots of chats with people I've just met. At this particular congregation, we've been asked more than once how we found them, and unfortunately, my answer is really dumb: I took a wrong turn one day onto a really busy street, feared for my life, and finally got to the intersection where the church is. The cross street was my intended course, and as I stood in the left-hand turn lane waiting for a favourable traffic signal, I had a chance to get a good look at this church building. When I got home, I googled them, liked what I saw, and suggested to Chad that we should visit, which we now have done a few times.

My parents did give me
good bus-riding skills,
since they wouldn't drive
me to school.
Anyway, that was a long way round to today's real story, which is actually a trip down memory lane. She asked how I got into cycling, and for some reason I told her that as a kid, my brother was allowed to cycle wherever he wanted, while I was limited to about half a mile in either direction (we lived on a county road) from our house. So, I explained, I am just making up for all those years of lost adventures.

And that's not the whole story, of course, but it does have some basis in fact. My father is one of those people who believes that one's abilities are preordained by one's genitalia, and I'm sure he couldn't understand why a girl would need to ride her bike across town to see a real, live friend when she had a roomful of dolls that she could play with without ever leaving the house. He used the same line of reasoning to refuse to teach me how to drive a standard transmission (seriously, those were his words; "You're a girl. You don't need to know that") or how to change a tire on any type of locomotion. It's a bit ironic (I think? I'm never sure with that word anymore), then, that I'm the one who rides my bike all over a major US city after having sold my standard transmission car a year ago, while my brother drives his automatic transmission vehicle daily. I still don't know how to change a flat. On the other hand, I don't think he knows how to sew on his own buttons, so I guess we're kind of even.

And so the takeaway lesson here today is: Parents, please teach your children life skills with no regard to their gender.

Did your parents have any goofy quirks like this? Do you know how to drive a standard? Can you give me simple directions on how to change a flat? (That one's a joke; I don't own a car.)


Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

Well, my dad and younger brother sat outside under a shade tree drinking lemonade one August afternoon while they "supervised" me "learning" how to change a tire before I left for college.

I'm not sure my brother had to endure the same learning experience.

Julia Smith said...

We were pretty liberated at our house. My dad did kitchen detail and vacuumed, my sister and I learned to drive, mow the lawn, put together bookshelves, etc. And I definitely appreciated it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My mother was the protective one, but she did force me to learn on a stick. Of course, driving an automatic messes me up now!

Anonymous said...

Dad told me that I could do whatever I set my mind too and that it was not truly necessary for women to fulfill the "role" of wife/mother etc... way ahead of his time that man... I agree, life skills for everyone.

Regina said...

I'm very hands on when we do projects around the house. My father always taught me to do everything even though I was a girl. I fix toilets, run a chainsaw and a few other things. We have always taught our children how to do things. No one is left out. The girls run chainsaws and tractors and our boys know how to do laundry, grocery shop and everything else. Great post.

Su said...

@Jenni: I bet that was "fun".

@Julia: Oddly enough, I did have to learn how to mow the lawn and assemble things. The lawnmowing will come in handy if we ever get a lawn to mow (hubby has allergies), and I guess we take turns putting things together.

@Diane: I can't drive an automatic any longer. It makes me crazy.

@Delores: Brilliant!

@Regina: Double brilliant! Good for you AND your kids! :D

Liz said...

My dad taught me how to drive a standard. I still drive one. My brother drives an automatic. Can't change a tire though. That's what the Auto Club's for.

JEFritz said...

My mom would never have permitted anyone to tell me or my sister we couldn't do something because we were girls. I know it would make me go nuts if I heard it.

I have to admit, I don't know how to drive a standard. My mom, who taught me how to drive, said it was hard enough teaching my brother and sister, and she didn't want to teach me when the cars we owned were all automatic. I guess that is kind of quirky :)

I do, however, know how to change a tire. In theory. I've never actually tried it (yay AAA).

Su said...

@Liz: Ha! Also what husbands are for, which I suppose was my father's plan. Good thing I never had a flat while I was still single!

@JE: My friend who sold us the car had to teach me how to drive it. And technically, I know the theory behind tire-changing, too, but when it comes to the part where you have to slide the jack into place... not sure I'm clear on where it goes.

erica and christy said...

When I got my learner's permit, my dad traded in his standard for an automatic. Several years later, my husband bought me a standard ("it was cheaper") and made me drive it home. It took like 2 hours to go 20miles, but now I can drive one!

Su said...

Chad has been praising standards since before we were married, but I had an automatic then and he had nothing, so it wasn't until this most recent car that we finally got a standard. I already liked it better after just a few weeks of owning it, but I became an official convert to Team Standard when we had our first snowy day. Standards do way better than automatics on snow and ice! I don't think we'll ever go back.

Gabrielle Evelyn said...

Your story makes me think of something.

karen millen outlets