As a young parent, I had an interesting observation of one of my four sons in Kindergarten. It was parents’ day and the parents were invited to take part in the children’s classroom lessons.
The teacher had arranged a circuit of numerous play/work activity stations. Each parent was responsible to explain/demonstrate/teach/show/tell/instruct the children on what they were to do at these stations. After each of the children completed this activity, that group would move on to the next station.
To get their attention was one thing, holding it another, and lastly to create an interest in them to participate and complete an activity was a gargantuan task.As an inexperienced ‘Green-Rookie-Newbie’ teacher, the challenge of this simple task required extraordinary focus and attention to capture and hold the attention of these independent little people.
To have a 100% participation at first appeared impossible, 80% participation was a worthy, high goal, but not realistic; 50% participation was realistic and 20% in fact was what you started with, a few curious toddlers.
But the surprising and interesting curious observation was the gender response difference in the presentation of play activity/task – Gender Response Difference.
It began from the very first moment of gathering seven little people in a group, four boys and three girls. “Come here and listen, we have something to do,” I stated.
The three little girls assembled front and centre. The boys remained somewhat oblivious and distant. A couple boys looked to see for a moment, one glanced, and the last one could care less; did not notice, or care to notice what new thing or activity was in this corner station.
The more I tried to get the boys’ attention, the more hyperactive they became, kind of like a game. I was feeding their fire…they had MY attention!
Meanwhile, the girls sitting front and centre, turning to see the boys, noticed the boys apparently ‘misbehaving’, became quiet…still…and moved closer to sit right at my feet where I was sitting in a little chair.
The more I tried to get the boys’ attention, the more futile it became, the more exaggerated the responses became: boys became more active, the girls became quieter. One little girl at this point was trying to climb up and sit on my lap.
So much for verbal communication.. let the game begin! As I performed the play activity, the girls readily participated, and gained my attention.
At that moment, I think time stopped, because the most amazing thing happened. The girls gaining my complete attention stopped the boys in their tracks. They stopped, stared, and watched the girls performing these activities with my encouragement and praise.
The boys’ attention became fixed on the girls’ activities and in their quiet stillness, gravitated to the play station only to be ignored, as the girls indulged more and more in these activities.
The more the girls indulged in these activities, the less they listened to further instructions, enjoying what they were doing, while the boys, not having listened in the first place, did not know how to begin and engaged with the activities.
For me this was obvious because I am the father of four boys, and no girls. These little girls were totally attentive, until they have your attention, then not. The boys were totally inattentive, when they have your attention, until they have your attention, then not.
When desire and have a safe, secure, loving relationship that is totally supportive, how do we act and feel anyway but as a five year old…Does puberty change learning strategies? And what we have learned? Do we learn something new to replace the original? And even if we have changed the content, the process remains the same. Is it any wonder harmonic relationships exist at all? Do we act our age and gender when…?