I Asked My Grade 5 Kids What Mom And Dad Do. Their Answers Will Startle You

Some straightforward answers from this teacher's 5th grade students told her what the young of India think of gender roles. An eye-opener.

Some straightforward answers from this teacher’s 5th grade students told her what the young of India think of gender roles. An eye-opener.

For the first time, I am not able to come up with a starting line of this piece. We talk about education, safety, women’s empowerment, gender equality, child abuse, emotional gratification, blah blah blah, but sometimes I wonder if it is limited to just words.

The reason I am saying this is because children are our reflection. They reflect our behaviour, our thoughts and our actions. We often complain that children don’t listen, but they do see how we model out our words. They can see that we don’t walk the talk, that’s why they don’t even bother to listen to us.

Roles of Mom & Dad

I do a lot of reflective discussions as a part of storytelling and other events that I celebrate with children. This time I hunted out stories and prepared questions, to know their understanding about the role of a Man and a Woman in their life. I asked them what their mother and father did. The answers of my students, who were in grade 5, were straightforward.

  • “My father works out of town and earn money for us. My mom takes care of us.”
  • “My father comes back from office and works on the laptop, and my mother comes back from office and supervises the maids, check what is for dinner, and talks to me about school and other stuff.”
  • “My father is a teacher, he comes back with us and works on the laptop. My mother is also a teacher, and she comes back home, cooks food and help us with our homework.”
  • “My mother works alternate days because there is no one to take care of me as my father works out of station.”

Fantastic! I am sure we women are proud of ourselves for being a superwoman. But we are just tired bodies. When we sleep, we don’t sleep as a woman. We just sleep. #SarcasmAlert

After a long sigh, I asked them, “When you grow up, and you are the man/woman of the house. What do you think you’ll be doing?” Their answered told me a lot about what they see at home.

The boys visualised themselves as:

“I will come back home and watch movies, buy things on Amazon and order food.”

“On my return to home, I will play cricket during evenings, and the woman will cook food.”

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“I will be earning so I can do anything. If I know cooking I will cook or else I will order.”

“I will work out of town and don’t wish to have a family. Because I don’t think that I will be able to give time to anyone.”

“I don’t want to have a family. My parents don’t have time for me. I will work and pay money to the servants to see my house.”

“I will come back home and try to spend evenings with my family. I will take them out for dinners, movies, swimming and play football. But household work.”

The girls visualised themselves as:

“I will cook food and take care of the family.”

“I will do work-life balance as my mom is doing.”

“I will cook food, help my family with their work and work from home.”

“I will not be a housewife and that’s why I cannot have a family. I don’t think that I will have time. My grandparents are there, but my parents don’t have time for me. I don’t think that they will have time for my children.”

Work-life balance only for women?

After listening to this, I asked them, “So should only girls think of a work-life balance, when not a single boy tried to think on those lines? Why?”

“Because the world works like that ma’am. Our fathers are working hard, and they earn money!” said a girl.

“Even our mother earns, So?” said another girl.

“But they earn less than our fathers!” said a boy.

I don’t wish to advise or suggest as to what should we do. These kids’ answers should be an eye-opener for us. Just look around and break that hypocrisy which is lying under a glass of modernity. Pause a bit in what you’re doing, and think what should we do to bring gender equality in our space.

Image source: shutterstock

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