Mastery of Maleness
I have been challenged by a World Pule sister in Nigeria to write a curriculum in male/female communication. I don't know how to write a curriculum, but I do know how to write a protocol for catering a party. I guess they have some similarities.
I have lived both under the protection of marriage and as a single mother. I have brought up a female and a male child, both of whom give much of themselves to their children and their communities. I have been married three times, and peacefully divorced twice, though both divorces led to great financial hardship for me. I have often said that I'd rather lick prison toilets clean than to live in an abusive marriage.
I believe that it takes great maturity on the parts of both parents to bring up responsibly compassionate children. Discipline begins with self-discipline, which includes disciplining of one's own emotions. Unless all involved in the parenting partnership understand that the child's needs come before any of their own desires (including the desire to be liked or emulated), nothing will change in our abusive, war-torn societies. Humans are not animals that act only on animal instinct or behaviors exemplified in one's own family. We have freedom of choice and brains with which to choose our behaviors.
I did not receive a college degree, but was blessed with intelligence, a winning smile, style, and an ability to cook. I used all of these to create a career for myself in food service management. I am now married to a man who, through a prenuptial contract insisted upon by me while I was still financially bankrupt, is my financial partner as well as my friend and spouse. He and I both know that we are free to part ways at any time that we feel that there is no justice in our relationship. We have chosen to stay together for twenty-five years.
I am not pretending to be an anthropologist or psychologist. I am simply giving insights that I have gleaned from 63 years working alongside my violent father, four brothers, many male bosses, three husbands, a daughter, and a son.
The first rule to remember is that boys are not born brave. They are just as vulnerable when the exit our wombs as are our dear daughters and as were we. As we see in other animals, we all tend to posture a great deal when asserting the need for attention. Males often posture as bigger and braver than they are. Males without sufficient skills to bring them true authority turn to other males to back them up with overpowering that which they fear.
Fathers who feel left out of their wives arms, hearts, and wombs once they plant the seeds of new life often tend to regress back to being babies to reclaim "mama's" attention. They are ashamed of their own vulnerability and begin to posture like even bigger and badder predators, often turning on their sons and other vulnerable family members as easy prey. Until we have compassion for what our older males and their older males put sons through, we will never have the skills to stand up for our sons and ourselves without potential bloodshed.
Motherhood is a scary source of power to most males. This creation of new life seems to be the most powerful energy on earth. Their bodies push them to procreate, but they have not been taught to properly honor their roles in the dance of humanity. They are still being taught that their only use is fertilizing females and acting as warriors to protect their own persecutors. This may be true in many animals, but it is time that humans realize we have evolved past that phase.
Boys are ripped from the breasts of their mothers and challenged to become real men by denying their dependence on their mothers, and most of their own feelings. From an early age, they are told that they must grow up to be pawns in the war games of the leaders of our corporations, countries' and religious wars. This system of killing off the males works in animal husbandry, but it is not the path to peace in the world. Why are we still allowing our sons to be butchered by those who are only using all humanity to increase their own power?
Even when they marry women who are strong enough to be their partners, they are not told the many vulnerabilities that will overcome her when she becomes a mother. They are shut out of, or blamed, for the feminine world of both despair and delight achieved in motherhood, and are offered only back-breaking work and early deaths as a substitute for loving arms.
I too often hear my sisters talking about men as if they are all ignorant children because they don't feel the same stirrings as do we women. Only we can fight the fanatics who seek to take sons from us before they are able to fend and feel for themselves. Only we can refuse to serve, with our wombs or otherwise, those who harm us and/or our children. Is it better to be dead than to produce children to be abused? I think so.
I have learned to recognize and identify many of the emotions driving male action. I have learned to cater to their emotions with the same respect I give to the emotions of my female family and friends. I have also learned that my man wants to be as protected by my abilities as I am by his abilities. One of my abilities is to take him in my arms and make him feel like a hero for a few minutes or hours at a time. When he needs space, I give it to him, often with children in his care.
Any trapped animal, two-legged or otherwise. will strike out at an assumed attacker. When a man wants to walk away from me, I give him my blessing. Access to his children is granted as long as he pays for a fair portion of their basic needs of food, healthcare, and shelter. If he refuses to provide any support, I will disappear with his children with no further warning. If this means no access to other family and friends, this is a price I will pay to protect my children.
I have stopped mindless chatter in his presence, choosing instead to educate myself at every opportunity. I question him about his experiences away from me so that I may learn his skills in case he should not be able to continue his contributions. It also safeguards me from him feeling so intellectually superior to me, as I often feed him back the information I learned from him. This oftentimes earns me the respect of other males who are fascinated how "much like a man" I am able to think.
I make appointments to discuss issues important to me and plan my agenda, with clear goals and requests for specific action, before speaking. I talk about one thing at a time, and respect his abilities and disabilities. I offer him rewards for helping me achieve my goals. I set aside sacred time away from other distractions to clearly define our relationship as important. This also keeps him from dreading that our time alone will simply give him more tasks to complete or ways to feel inferior to me and others in my life.
Just as I did with my children and do with my female friends, I look for opportunities to sincerely praise my man's efforts and offer to arrange assistance for him if I am unable to assist him myself. I set aside time for physical play with each other, sexual or otherwise. All mammals need physical contact, and one of my main reasons for marriage is physical presence of a mate.
These are a few insights from my personal experience to get the conversation started.