When I said "Not that our friend's observation had merit, of course!, just Should I ever speak to him, again? :)" I didn't mean that, really.
I will certainly speak to our friend again, and love him even. I understand his thinking, even if it is very different from our (Eric's and mine) own.
Trev being called such a name is ridiculous, and Eric didn't even consider that it had merit. He spends every moment at home playing with our children. He is a very active and hands on father. It's not in question.
Trev being emotional isn't, either, for along with that comes being extremely communicative and caring.
The only thing I can think of that might need attention in this scenario is to help my children, if I can, look for the things that are enjoyable in the moment, and not be so set upon a particular outcome.
What does come to my mind - in the question of Mothering Naturally - is what exactly, does that mean?
I've found lately that I can come to an understanding just by paying attention to my own thoughts and working through them. Again - a natural (for me) process.
That's where Soule Mama's comment came in so beautifully for me - it's almost like it gave me permission to not read All The Parenting Books On The Planet and attempt to apply all their rules and suggestions into my life and interactions. Just reminded me to Be Present.
In being present I'll be guided and find my answers.
Where should (again, for me and my children) the protection end and begin?
When is it okay for the world to be a teacher?
For me a lot of this can be answered by just knowing that I have no desire to control my children's world or the people in it. (Aside from keeping them physically and emotionally healthy and safe, of course.)
And if I consider our lives - as a family, and unschoolers, and non-religious folks, and nature lovers, and all the other things that we are - and living it naturally (as seeking and exploring and inquisitive people) then even more things just become non-issues.
Like the games. Trev likes them. That's good enough.
Our friendships. As long as we have a desire to communicate with our friends, then any challenge or occurrence is a natural part of that relationship.
I think the thing to do, then, is to strive to interact with my children at all times as my most Authentic Self (who I truly desire to be), among all others (say, extended family), and be confident in that, and know that I am acting rightly (for me).
Which I certainly try to do.
But I think I need to also keep in mind that my way is not necessarily superior, or the way that All Others should behave in their communications.
So simultaneously, while interacting with others and my children, I need to be present in my other relationships, too, and take care that others feel that I am just as supportive and non-judging of them.
In being my most authentic self, I can best demonstrate understanding and my Truth, while not attempting to get anyone to come around to my way of thinking - but if they themselves feel that they are accepted and loved for who they are, then maybe that acceptance will be extended naturally to others, as well.
Prob'ly to be continued, again. :)