Does your dog’s gender matter to you? Like have you ever once thought about whether they were capable of this task or that task because of their sex? Has your understanding of their gender changed how you play with them? Do you think about whether to get them this toy or that toy based on its color? Or its name?
No, of course not. In fact, you didn’t even think of your dog’s gender when you gave them a name. That’s why your doofus female yellow lab is named Steve Holt. Or the dachshund you had as a kid was named Fig Newton. Because aside from the question of whether it can get pregnant or not, gender doesn’t matter when it comes to animals.
Well guess what? Your kids are animals, too. Both figuratively and literally. We would do well to remember this. Sure, there are some biological differences between men and women and sure, there are systems and cultural practices in society that we have to be aware of (leagues for boys and girls, different qualifications for branches of the military, etc). But as far as the day-to-day reality of life? As far as what individuals are capable of? As far as how a father should treat their kids? Gender doesn’t matter at all.
Whether you have sons or daughters, your job is to root for them. Your job is to have expectations that they’ll rise to meet. Your job is to teach them to be a reader and to ask tough questions. Your job is to introduce them to the world of ideas, and to the facts of life. Your job is to challenge them and love them and support them and encourage them to be responsible for themselves. Your job is to treat each of your kids differently—according to their needs—and at the same, treat all your kids exactly the same.
To love them the same. To believe in them the same. To respect them the same.
Every limitation that culture or society or sexism wants to put on that is stupid and should be ignored.