Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads by R. Wiseman

I read the first 4 chapters of this book today; I also own her more famous previous book: "Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence" This is not a Christian book, and so you have to read it with Biblical wisdom in the back of your mind trumping the worldly ideas; however, I think that she makes some really interesting and astute observations about social dynamics.

In the Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads book, the author is trying to demystify some of the weird social pressures we feel as parents. Like zombies we all start doing things like: dads = organize the garage and make the lawn nice. Moms = go to the school and talk to the principle about getting our kid in the gifted program. These pressures come from our ideas of what a real man is like, or what a real woman is like. For example: a real man can talk about sports, mow the lawn, provide for his family, and not be controlled by his wife. A real woman can look great, be busy all the time, have well-behaved children, and have a lot of friends. Some parents thrive in these conditions (the Queen Bees and the Kingpins), but others languish and feel hopeless (the Wannabes).

It's really thought-provoking to see these ideals being questioned. Even though this is from a liberal/modern point of view - which in reality has it's own set of standards (i.e. each couple is perfectly 50/50 in everything, we're green, we teach tolerance, we don't discipline, etc..)- I think it's good to smash down some of the bullcrap icons we have in our heads about what is really important in life. They should be replaced, of course, by God's values and priorities rather than just some other set of human standards. But, it is still helpful to think through. If we choose to speak to the principal and mow the lawn - it should be because we want to and think it's right - not because we blindly follow a worldly standard of social pressure.

She speaks out against racism, violence/bullying, and extreme pressure. She also makes the point that we, as parents, should resist the temptation to take identity from our children's success. It's an iconoclastic work to be sure, but I realised when reading it, that it is more of a sequel than a stand-alone book - and I really should read the other book first (Queen Bees and Wannabes). So, I will have more to say on these books later.

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