Monthly Archives: April 2015

Why gender equality matters

When my six-year-old daughter saw Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement for the presidency, her first response was to say, very innocently and matter-of-factly, “Oh! I didn’t know that women were allowed to be president.”

While I don’t mean this as an endorsement of Clinton’s candidacy (far from it – I strongly believe that an uncompetitive presidential primary and an assumed “coronation” is not a healthy thing in our electoral democracy), I’ll admit that my daughter’s response surprised and shocked me just a bit. My first reaction was to think “where did she get the idea that women were not allowed to be president?”

Is it the implicit signals from the “American presidents” dinner place mat she sometimes uses that features the faces of an all-male presidential line-up?

Is it the messages from the culture she’s growing up in where, despite great strides made over the several decades, women are still less likely to be in positions of leadership, prominence, and visibility?

Is it the patterns she internalizes at the church we attend were women are not eligible to serve as the chief pastors in our congregations or in the highest governing councils of the worldwide organization?

Of course much of the responsibility is ultimately my own. After all, it’s my job as her father to teach her about the world. I suppose I’ve dropped the ball by never explicitly explaining to her that “women are of course eligible to serve as U.S. president but no one ever has yet for a variety of reasons…” So my immediate response was to make it clear that YES women are eligible to be elected president and then I showed her on my smartphone pictures of other female heads of state around the world (e.g. Angela Merkel, Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner, Dilma Rousseff, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, etc.).

In a few weeks my wife and I will be welcoming two more twin girls into our family. I hope that by the time they’re six years old that their environment will have more egalitarian messages and signals about the role of women in society than is the case today.

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“Rifts of Rime” Poems

Poems inspired by The Rifts of Rime by Steven Peck. Written by Abigail Knoll, age 6, with grammatical and editing assistance from yours truly.

 

THE JOBS OF THE QUICKENING

The Quickening are all helped by the Wealdend,

Protected by the Saffre, the Grays also help with the Folk.

Paper makers and poets are Folk or Keppla.

The philosophers and healers are the Marmots.

The wolves travel around the world:

Tell the Foreteller what they saw!

Ants, the Strange Quickening, no one knows…

But maybe Pinecone and Leaf have the right nose!

Those are the jobs of the Quickening.

 

WOLF’S TEETH

Our teeth are sharp

Our howl is strong

Our run is steady and fast

Our claws have the power to take down a moose

But the thing to be aware of the most is the Saffre on the loose!

 

THE FOX’S CLAWS

The foxes are enemies

Their teeth are sharp their claws are sharp

Their feet are slow but quiet

I rush up the tree to escape these features

There’s one thing that’s clear

If you are a trained warrior

This is an opportunity.

 

THE POWER OF THE WEALDEND

The power of the oak, the elm, the pine

Are nothing compared to the power of the Wealdend

Their Foreteller keeps us safe, so does the Saffre.

The Grays have some power,  but nothing like the Wealdend.

We must honor and respect the Wealdend and their helpers.

We are grateful to the Wealdend.

We are grateful to the Wealdend for the Quickening.

Because of the Grays, the Marmots, Folk, and Wolves

We thank the Quickening for the elm, oak, and pine

For they make our nests and our homes divine.

We thank the Wealdend for the water and land

Best of all, for the Quickening of all creatures.