I grew up watching Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy.
I had a dad that could chop wood all day and lift huge boulders. Dad was the king of the universe. Mom made sure that dad was happy and that we didn’t piss him off.
One day about 20 years later, mom got a job. She made more money in one month than dad made in a whole year.
Dad left and never came back. Dad died a bitter, lonely old man embalmed with resentments.
And that was the way it was back then. No one questioned which gender-role was which. The hunter/gatherer was alive and well.
I get it. I get what happened to my dad and why he never got over it. And while I didn’t share his negative views about women or the hopeless state of our civilization, I understood his frustration. He didn’t know any better.
30 years later, there’s a stay-at-home-dad on every block and few question it—I know a few of these guys and they seem to be fairly normal. My dad’s blood pressure would reach an all time high if he knew about this.
Let’s face it, women, how should I put this?—well, they kick ass! They just do.
When they decide they have a mission, they acquire super human powers that would make Noah step aside at the Red Sea. I’ve seen it happen and it scares the hell out of me sometimes!
When William Congreve so eloquently stated that “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” he was correct and probably scared shitless!
Man’s distorted sense of masculinity has perpetuated most of the world’s chaotic and destructive events since time begun and we still can’t get it right—and it’s not for lack of trying (I think that’s the definition of insanity).
Our wonderful indigenous ancestors had a pretty good handle on things until some f*cking macho moron decided to desecrate them (case in point). Back then, and it wasn’t that long ago, men had a very distinct job—hunt and gather food, protect the women and children and decide when the tribe needed to move camp.
We could handle that!
The women were in charge of making the important decisions and that’s why things went smoothly.
Women were honored because the men, without an over inflated and delusional ego, realized their value. In fact, In most indigenous cultures, it was all about honoring women. And rightly so indeed. So, now that we realize how important and powerful our female human beings are, the question remains the same—what the heck are we good for?
Well, one good point is, there wouldn’t be as many good country songs if it weren’t for the pain women put men through. Divine epiphanies induced countless artistic masterpieces out of ripped apart hearts and men can take credit for many of them. Fantastic treasures covering every genre were created by men in a seemingly endless effort to capture the elusive hearts of these mystical creatures.
So, we do have a few things to be proud of. The real truth is that men are just a bunch of big cry babies. We pump ourselves and our egos up as big as we can yet we are all as fragile as sand dollars on the sea shore. And what about physical pain?
Two words—child birth!
We name ships and hurricanes after women because we’re weak and pathetic.
Nobody ever heard of the shipwreck of Larry. Larry would be afraid to leave the dock. The more I think about it, I’m not even sure that Jesus was a man.
And why, for goodness sake, would we want to put a man in charge of our country? But we do and then we wonder why things stay so screwed up.
On a more serious note, we have to remember that men will continue to exist, just like the sun will continue to rise.
So, as long as this is a fact, there needs to be a change in the way we raise our sons.
Gone are the Archie Bunkers of the world and so are the John Wayne’s.
There’s simply no need for them anymore.
Gone are the days where war or violence are the answer because they don’t work and never have.
So, can a kindler, gentler more sensitive breed of men walk the earth with honor and dignity? Can they really?
Testosterone is not a myth. The military is petrified and so is Hollywood at the thought of a man who honors, or even acknowledges the divine feminine within. Unveiling, understanding and applying that element could change the world but, being men, we are afraid to peel off that layer.
“Sperm is genetic engine of life
Droplets of divine oceanic water
Raindrops of coital heat
Sweat bullets of eros consummated.”
Everything that signifies the archetypal male is threatened by this thought but until it is made manifest and put to good use, we will continue to adhere to the same beliefs that caused all this destruction and pain. But beyond the idea of honoring and accepting the feminine, which by the way will always be present, is learning how to develop a healthy masculine.
There are several healthy masculine archetypes including the green man, the blue man, the real archetype of the hunter/gatherer and the healthy spiritual warrior, but identifying and representing these archetypes is a tall order especially when the ego kicks and screams to ensure self-preservation. Fortunately, evolution may be on our side because nature (our true essence) will always adapt.
One thing we can do to help, before nature is forced to step in, is to begin to learn to honor our son’s idea of self no matter what our father might have said. My oldest son was recently going through some hard times. Clearly he made some bad choices of which I called him on. “You taught me to be like that dad” was his defense. “You said that men had to be tough so I learned that from you.”
That was a long time ago and I don’t remember it but he did and that was that. And, back then, I was a different man but no matter what my defense was, I needed to take responsibility for what I taught him. That made me think. And, what I realized is that I did think like that back then and it manifested itself a couple of decades later in a negative way.
So, as fathers, we need to be very mindful about the examples we are setting for our sons. Kids are sharp and every parent realizes this. Nothing gets by them yet we still practice negative behaviors that they pick up on.
Mindfulness is more that just being present and aware. It needs to be followed by action. Listen up dads and dads to be.
Although it is unlikely that there is a threat of male extinction, it is clearly time to re-think our idea of what would serve our highest purpose to a world that used to rely on us. What type of role model would best serve all of the young males who clearly need direction?
This just may be the most difficult time in history to be a man. We are conflicted because we see that the old ways don’t work anymore. Yet, we are afraid to show our vulnerabilities because we were taught that men don’t do that. Our male egos remain blind to the divine magic that Dr. King and Gandhi exemplified to a frightened world. We refuse to let our guard down and allow compassion to heal our tired souls.
The guys in the locker room would hurt our fragile feelings. Big, fragile babies walking around in muscle suits afraid to do what we know through the failed attempts of our predecessors is right. And thank god we can rely on all of the incredible women who stepped up to fill our shoes—who picked up the slack when we couldn’t man up—what does that really mean?
We need to reclaim our masculinity in a new and more useful way and step back into those same shoes.
We could learn a few things from the women who broke through barriers once thought impenetrable. I seriously think we are capable but we have to start somewhere, just like they did. What would the world be like if we pitched in for a change instead of tossing the blame ball back and forth.
Consider how much influence American males have on the rest of the world. Do we want to continue to personify the same old image? Unfortunately, the burden rests on every male and everyone who represents the male icon from Hollywood to the makers of Call of Duty.
That’s a daunting task! But what if we simply started teaching our sons differently and they took those ideas to school or even the playground. Would it be worth a few black eyes and hurt feelings? What if they could find strength and peace in who they really were instead of what they were told that a man was?
What if there were no barriers to the creative uniqueness of each individual and they felt the freedom to follow their hearts once and for all?
Because, as the idiom is defined: to be one’s own man means to be free from restrictions, control and dictatorial influence as well as simply being independent—that pretty much sums it up.
And, just imagine what our female super heroes could do with all of that extra time!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Rich Wright
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of the author