Boys Work and Dead Chipmunks

Boys Work and Dead Chipmunks June 20, 2012
So cute when they're not drowned

I’m a hypocrite.

As a Biblical feminist who writes, speaks and teaches about women’s equal call to follow Jesus and build the Kingdom of God, I must confess my practical theology breaks down in certain arenas.

Like dead things.

All my life I’ve had a pathological fear of dead things, probably stemming from my pathological fear of death developed while very young.

Unfortunately for me, animals love to drown in our swimming pool.  Mice, birds, toads, and even a squirrel, have ended their lives in our waters.  Before thunderstorms, animals especially go suicidal.  Once, as the clouds gathered and the air grew thick, 2 chipmunks seemed determined to drown themselves. I saw them swimming in circles from my kitchen window and rushed out to rescue them, only to have them race back in the pool afterwards.

Yesterday, alas, I wasn’t around to rescue another hapless chipmunk found floating dead in the deep end.

Eew. . .

At that moment, I decided removing dead animals was a man’s job and because there were still many hours before Scott came home, my son was going to have that duty.

“What???  Why is it a boy’s job?” said Ren, who, growing up with 2 older sisters, immediately saw the sexist nature of my orders.

“It just is.”

“Not fair!”

I shrugged.

In my defense, I had reasons for choosing him—I wanted to call him out, to ask him to stand up and be a man.  After all, he’s going to have a hard road ahead of him if he’s as squeamish as me about dead things.  Especially in boy culture that exalts in weapons and war.

Even more, I want him to step up for manly work—dirty work for strong muscles that serves the larger community.  Someday I hope he’ll be the sort of man who at minimum puts in air conditioners for widows, shovels the walk for the aged, and moves heavy furniture for friends.  I’m not saying my girls shouldn’t step up for those jobs, just like he’s also expected to learn how to cook.  But as God gives him a larger physique and stronger muscles than his sisters, I want him to develop and steward his strength for God’s glory.

Until then, he can scoop out dead chipmunks so everyone can swim.

So he corralled his friend James to help, and between the two, with pool net, a plastic bag and a lot of shouting, they fished out that chipmunk carcass, wrapped him up and threw him in the garbage can.

This morning as I drove to work, Ren called and said there was another dead chipmunk, this time in the pool skimmer—a bigger deal because the large net won’t fit in that small space.

“Are you getting rid of it?” I asked.

“James is in the shower, but when he’s done we’ll deal with it.”

Ah, male competence in a 12 year old—now that’s what I’m going for!

You might also enjoy some of my other thoughts on gender and/or work:

Annie, Shoot your Gun Already!

Toilet Paper Distribution, or how Equality and Justice aren’t the Same Thing

Boy Parts vs. Girl Parts–More on Gender and Justice

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