I celebrate you.
I celebrate all the men in the world. Men who are loyal, kind, and true. Men who have protected us and loved us. Men who have sacrificed themselves for us. I celebrate the little boys who are being raised now who will one day be men.
I feel compelled to celebrate them because there is so much negative conversation about men with the “me too movement” and all the abuse of power and abusive behavior in general.
This is coming up in therapy more than ever. Women do not believe they can find a man who is noble and loving. Men feel they are looked upon with negativity when people generalize and put them all in the same category. In the privacy of the therapy room, where people can open up to their vulnerabilities, fears, sadnesses, and insecurities, the consequences of these generalizations are surfacing.
I want to remind everyone that our children are listening and believing the things that are being said. I speak of the boys who are being raised to be kind and loving men. The girls who are becoming young women are creating their own belief system regarding the ways of the world. They are all listening. What is it we want them to hear, to know, to be?
Finding a voice for abused women and children and putting an end to the abuse is undoubtedly very important. The most healing and empowering thing we can do when this kind of violation occurs is to speak, be acknowledged, and believed. It’s beyond destructive when anyone uses this kind of accusation as a manipulative tool (which has also occurred, of course), precisely because it sabotages the trust in the stories of the true survivors.
Incredibly, corporal punishment is still being used around the world. In our own backyard, many men believe being raised with corporal punishment helped them become the men they are today (in a good way). Let it be known that nothing good comes from that. The only thing that comes from corporal punishment is a violation, hurt, pain, humiliation, distrust, and brain development affected in its reactiveness to the environment. Raising boys to be strong men does not require we hit them while they are growing up. Nobody benefits from this.
How wonderful it would be for little baby boys to be born in a world where they have permission to cry and be sensitive to their feelings and the feelings of others. Where they learn to treat themselves with the same sensitivity with which women have been allowed to feel. This has only made us women stronger. It will make our men stronger too.
I don’t know how it feels to have so much testosterone in me. I do know how it feels to have a lot of estrogen going on and “it ain’t easy”! I can only imagine what it’s like for a guy.
So some men may need to learn some emotional regulation techniques. I know it serves us all to learn how to emotionally regulate. “Anger management “is a thing for a reason. It’s not just a funny movie. How to deal with stress, anger, frustration in a way that is not so reactive, impulsive, and overbearing is important. What we can’t do is make it okay to tolerate irate behavior and not give our kids the tools to navigate their emotions more effectively. As adults, we are still on time to do so as well.
Testosterone is also the culprit for sexual desire and performance. So of course, we like testosterone when it comes to sex. Or do we? Sex is one of the most beautiful and natural aspects of us as human beings. Yet it has been demonized and abused and misused and sabotaged. Let us raise our children to become adults with information that enables them to have reverence, respect, and instinctual desire towards sex. Having a healthy sexual desire and behavior does not have to be destructive towards self or others. At some point throughout the centuries, it became a threat, an addiction, a punitive act. It became a power play, an obsession, a sin. Pornography has been normalized with its easy accessibility, and our children are exposed to it prematurely. They do not have the emotional bandwidth to save themselves from destructive interpretations and behaviors. Let us protect our children from the ways of the internet that give them access to things they cannot “unsee”.
I have always worked with men of all ages and see how hard it is to give themselves permission to feel. To cry. To fear. So many times I use the word fear in session. (Because you know…” gotta face your fears “) and I find so often that the word does not resonate for them. Why not? It’s only human. Survival of the fittest and all. Fight or flight. Yes, fear is a normal human experience. Men have not been allowed to be vulnerable and sensitive to their own needs, much less be able to be sensitive to women’s needs.
Now, of course, I’m generalizing. Men’s sensitivity has come a long way. We have fathers taking maternity leave and staying home to take care of the kids. My favorite: cooking for us all! I’m suggesting we continue to celebrate these characteristics in men so that they grow more and more in sensitivity and vulnerability. Men are becoming more emotionally intelligent because we have freed them of having to be any other way other than their humankind selves.
I celebrate men in the culinary arts, in músic and fine arts, in mental health fields, in sports, in the traditional roles that they have been a part of as well, and in all good things that bring them purpose and joy.
In a world where so many changes are occurring, I pray that more positivity is brought to light so that we all aim for that. That we aim for love and kindness and helping others. That we aim to look at how beautiful and wonderful we can all be so that we show up the best version of ourselves. So that we don’t feel so angry and frustrated and victimized and resentful. So that we feel love and hope and peace.
I celebrate my husband who has helped me raise 6 children and cooks for us and has brought the big family together to celebrate life so many times that our memories revolve around his cooking! (Nobody misses an invitation for dinner at my house! It’s too good!)
Happy Father’s Day to all you kind and loving fathers. Especially you my loving husband. I love you.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once asked. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he finishes them.” – John Myers