Sons and Daughters


It’s a running joke in my family that my parents raised me to be tough. For instance, if I fell down or got hurt (which happened often), I was told not to cry. Rub some dirt in it. Curb those complaints. Not only that, but when it came to my education, there was no grade that couldn’t be better. There was zero reason I shouldn’t be studying, doing homework, or practicing the piano or trombone (yes, it is true #bandnerd). However, with my little brothers, it seemed as though my parents took a more sensitive approach: kissing the boo-boos and looking at mistakes or less than perfect test results as opportunities to learn and grow.

My parents loved us all, and as the only daughter, I’m the favorite (this is a test to see if my brothers read my posts). I was hugged and encouraged me, too, but it just felt like they were tougher on their daughter, which always baffled me.

Then, today, I read these words from Gloria Steinem,

Though we have the courage to raise our daughters more like our sons, we’ve rarely had the courage to raise our sons like our daughters.

Maybe my parents were ahead of their time.

Maybe they were being courageous.

Maybe they knew what was best for us all after all.

They gave me the courage, independence, and thick skin of a son, while giving my brothers the sensitivity, emotional freedom, and empathy of a daughter. Growing up together, the three of us — sons and a daughter — learned from and taught one another the lessons we were absorbing from our parents.