Monday, June 11, 2007

Balls and Dolls

I have always been interested in the "nature/nurture" debate. I taught many years before I had my own children and really believed that a child's environment influenced him more than inborn tendencies. When each of my children was born, we tried to expose them to both "girl" and "boy" toys, games, and activities. From the time our girls were born, we offered them balls and dolls (among other toys, of course). They liked both, but strongly preferred dolls. Nowadays, they like balls and they don't seem to see them as a "boy" thing. They both play softball now. They enjoy tossing a football, playing kickball, and learning about tennis and soccer. However, they love dolls! Dolls have always been their toy of choice. When they were tiny, they carried dolls everywhere, and now that they are older, dolls are still the toy they enjoy the most. This past Christmas, they each received 3 dolls and they have enjoyed changing their clothes, diapering the dolls, sleeping with them, decorating their beds with them, etc.

E came along and we approached him with the same philosophy. He was always offered dolls and balls, and although the enjoys both, he strongly prefers balls. The child could dribble a basketball at a very young age. He has played on organized basketball and baseball teams and is currently registered to play soccer. He doesn't see dolls as "girly" and will still play with them occasionally. I find it interesting that he almost always has a ball at hand, but every so often - once every couple of months - he picks up a doll and carries it around while he plays ball. Today was one of those days. He's been dribbling a soccer ball through the house off and on all morning. Each time he has come through the kitchen this morning, he has had Claire on his shoulder.

So, where does this leave us in the nature/nurture debate? I feel that we've exposed our children to the same things, and our girls prefer dolls and our son prefers balls. I hope it leaves them right where they should be - exposed to many things and able to choose their own preferences.

1 comment:

Carol said...

What an adorable photo of E. I like the "dolls and balls" idea.