“What did you do today at recess?” I asked my eight-year-old son.
“Played girl-chase-boy…” - he paused before continuing - “…except a girl never chased me.” My son looked down at his feet, shrugged his shoulders and muttered, “So I went off and did something else.”
My heart quivered, then dropped to the floor.
Collecting myself, I responded, “That’s okay. You don’t need girls to chase you. Instead, look around and notice the girls sitting on the side. The wallflowers. Notice the girl who’s taking it all in. She’s observing and learning and when she decides to make her move, she’s going to change the world. Or see the girl whose acts of kindness go unnoticed. The one who’s a friend to everyone. Or the girl who enjoys the simple things in life, her joyfulness makes the ordinary extraordinary. See the studious girl, whose knowledge makes great conversation. Or the girl who’s hilarious, she just has to get to know you before she shares her sense of humor. There are so many beautiful, amazing girls out there who are not chasing the boys. They should be noticed. So be the type of boy who notices. Be someone who really gets to know people and appreciates them for who they are. No, son, you don’t need lots of girls chasing you. Not when there are so many gems sitting on the sidelines.”
Okay, that’s not what I actually told him because he’s eight. And cooties still exist. But when we replay this type of conversation in a few years and girls DO matter, I know what I'm going to say.