The role of grandfather is important. One must be prepared to answer wisely tough questions. An early challenge was “Do you know where babies come from?”
I’m now awaiting this one: “Why are boys so dumb?”
After much study and reflection, I have come up with the answer. Not that I need an answer. A grandfather is not to dole out information like candy, but to begin a learning process, most often by exploring the issue with the grandchild to discover the answer together.
For the issue of dumb boys, I will begin with a stereotype, a strong one that can be defended all sorts of ways. This is my premise:
Boys want to affect things.
Girls want to improve things.
For boys, affecting things can range from taking apart a radio to see how it works to pulling away a chair as someone is about to sit. It doesn’t matter if the outcome is good or bad, as long as something happens. There is also the influence of pecking order; there is a constant stream of doing things to affect where a boy stands in his group. Boys are dumb because boys tend to do things without much regard for consequences.
Girls, on the other hand, are usually more civilized, socially adept and mature than the standard issue male of the same age. In comparison to the boy standing next to her, a girl is a shining light of goodness and compassion. When the two interact, the boy behaves with unaccountable insensitivity. The girl will try to understand and maneuver the interaction into a positive, while the boy will uncontrollably continue to sabotage any chance of a mutually satisfactory outcome.
I’m not sure if this changes much over the years.