I am a person who truly enjoys when traditional gender role rules are broken. I feel that with that when we stay with gender traditions, we can rob our kids from valuable life experiences and memories. So it made me happy to find that in Liam’s summer camp program at Greenwood Park, that there was almost an equal amount of male and female counselors.
Liam is a “Man’s Man”, he thrives in a testosterone, sports filled, loud and active environment. He is distractible and active, engaging and hilarious, and above all he is a handful. That is why I was elated to find young male leaders with comparable qualities but what I didn’t anticipate is how profound some of these memories and experiences would turn out to be for Liam.
The nature of nurturing is different when that role is played by a man but this isn’t a bad thing, it fills a need that sometimes women can overlook. We are great at feelings and security but interests? Men are great at fulfilling this need.
Example: Liam begun to beg for me to put him in “aftercare” which didn’t make sense since I could pick him up so when I went to camp to pick him up, I asked Ryan (a counselor) “What is so magical about aftercare?”. His response “Oh, I told him that I would make Mac and cheese, did you know how he loves Mac and cheese?” So, like a good mom, I enrolled him and what happened was great. Ryan took Mac and cheese to whole new level and peaked Liam’s interest in “Food Creation”. They made Mac-a-dillas; a disgusting mix of mac and cheese and quesadillas. They created the Mac and cheese-Nacho-Grilled-Cheese-bowl, and the breakfast-dilla which held gummy bears and cereal in it. Maybe this sounds funny that I find this so important but honestly, this is a “Mans” kind of quality time and it wasn’t just Liam who thrived in this environment. The boys were helping cook and the boys were serving the food; the counselors were able to engage boys in an actively traditionally reserved for girls.
I can not express the happiness these young guys brought to Liam while in camp. They brought a livelihood and momentum that kept an easily bored child engaged.
Thank you to Ryan, Chris, and Josh for being a bright spot in Liam’s summer and for helping to break the stigma about the “rules” of caregiving.