Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Girls in Space?

I've never been a strong advocate for my favorite causes. I've never written my member of Congress, I don't complain at stores and restaurants, and I've never held a sign and marched anywhere. Mine is more of a live-and-let-live mentality—seeking my own happiness while letting others seek theirs. (An exception would be if Coca-Cola reintroduced New Coke. I'd likely end up in prison over that.)

But today that may have changed. I was reading a book titled Mousetronaut, about a tiny mouse that traveled on a space shuttle. (It's a true story, and the mouse had its own uniform and special training…budget deficit anyone?) Partway through the story, my daughter pointed to one of the human astronauts and asked, "Is that a girl?"
"Yep," I replied.
Then she turned around in my lap and asked wide-eyed, "Can girls be astronauts?" 

Wow. I've never done anything to suggest my daughter cannot be anything at all she wants to be, yet somehow this three-year-old had determined that going to space was only for boys.

I still won't be writing any letters—I'm too busy helping my kids build a LEGO castle for that—but I guess more needs to be done to show children that they can do and be anything their imaginations desire.

So, yes, my little girl needs to see that astronauts, mayors, and dump truck drivers can be girls as well as boys. Just like my sons need to see that teachers and veterinarians are not all girls.

It's my job to make sure my kids know that they can be whatever they want, and that they should choose something that excites and challenges them. Unless one wants to be a chemist modifying the recipe for Coca-Cola. I'd draw the line there.

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