The other day I read this article on HuffPo Parents about a line of shoes at Stride Rite. Some folks are up in arms about the way Stride Rite is making sparkly pink ‘princess’ shoes for girls and Star Wars ‘power’ shoes for boys. As a momma to 10 kids, I can tell you a thing or two about kiddos in that preschool/early elementary age group. Poll a cross section of little girls, and a huge number of them would show great interest in sparkly pretty shoes. Ditto for little boys and anything that sounds powerful and strong.
I believe those traits are inborn — a girl’s longing to be beautiful and a boy’s desire to be strong and capable. Sure, that’s a stereotype; there are always exceptions. Of course girls can be strong and capable, and boys can be caring nurturers.
But none of that is about the color of the vinyl on a person’s feet. There are smart, capable, powerful women all over the world who wear heels to work, and run marathons on weekends. And there are wonderful kind, gentle men who rock their little ones to sleep, who also enjoy being transported by the power and excitement of a good superhero movie.
Folks, it’s not about shoes. It’s about parents seeing what’s in their kids, noticing their interests and their likes, their strengths and their weaknesses, and helping them reach their God-given potential. And it’s about us being the kind of people we hope our children will become, so that they have examples to follow in their lives.
Helping our children become capable caring well-rounded adults is the job of the parents. If you and your child don’t like the color selections at any given shoe store, by all means shop elsewhere. But don’t for a minute think that raising well-balanced kids is up to some poor beleaguered sales team at Stride Rite who happened to notice that little girls like princess shoes.