by Tammy Hughes

According to research, boys tend to migrate to toys involving speed, power, and noise. This research result came to life for me recently. I was picking up my boys from school this past week when I noticed something familiar and fun!

Directly across the street from our elementary school, a beautiful luxury home is being built. On this particular afternoon, the landscaping crew was planting large, mature trees in the front lawn. This process involved carrying the trees on several very long tractor trailer trucks, and using a gigantic crane to move them from the trucks into the planting locations. The crane seemed to rise 4 stories up into the sky. I walked to the front of the school and stood there until I heard the bell ring. As children began pouring out of the school, I was mesmerized by their responses. Nearly all the children I saw looked across the street –beckoned by the sound of the large diesel engine – and were visibly amazed by the extreme height of the crane. Although it seemed that each child at least glanced in that direction, my observation was that the boys seemed to look intently and most of them approached the equipment. In fact, those boys who didn’t have a mother pulling them away to go home walked closer and closer to the fence to get a better view. The power and noise of the equipment seemed to draw them. The little girls seemed quite satisfied with a glance and were off to the business of heading home. Of course we took the long way around and walked closer to the equipment on our jaunt to the car. My boys stood still and silent as they looked at the equipment….then they gasped audibly, almost in unison. We were surrounded by elementary school boys doing exactly the same thing. I was immersed in the moment – observing the world through their eyes and the natural draw the equipment had for them. I smiled as I noticed adult men pulling their cars over to look more closely at the planting ordeal. You just never know when you’re going to see these gender differences pop up and I certainly enjoy and appreciate them.