I absolutely LOVE it when children are around when I am working in someone’s home fixing things!
Last year I remember a very simple job of hanging some stuff on the walls; pictures, wooden cut out letters and a few other items. There were 2 young girls home while I was there and the youngest was utterly fascinated by my tool box and what I was doing. The older girl at one point, very matter of fact, stated “I never quite understood how those work.” as I was using a level to mark the hanger spots. She looked and listened intently with sincere interest as I explained to her how and why to use a level.
Today I changed 2 bathroom exhaust fans while accompanied by a sweet young man of about 3 or 4 years old. He respectfully examined my tools as closely as possible without touching them, maneuvered his post outside the bathrooms to be able to see what I was doing without getting anywhere in my way and adorably covered his ears when I had to bang on something for a moment.
Since I am fortunate enough to live in an area that is rich in cultural diversity I often get a chance to work in homes of people who may come from countries or cultures that traditionally maintain certain limited views on women’s roles in society and the world. These are my favorite. Just being hired by them says to me these are already people not conforming to the ‘rules’ which might be set forth in their culture of origin.
Then when I get to the job and there happen to be children around to see me doing what many consider ‘man’s work’- that’s icing on the cake!!
I think example is the best way to teach. Without a lecture or lesson, without a word spoken directly to the issue, every single time I do my job in front of a child of any age, any race, any ethnicity, cultural background, country of origin or GENDER I get to help chip away at gender stereotypes.
It’s tiny, I know, but it does make me proud.