Have we raised a generation of tentative men, and overwhelmed women?
When men fear their fathers; or are not sure of their father’s reliability or his love, the younger man will shrink, atrophyand blend in, satisfied to become like a piece of the furniture or the paint on the wall. The young man will remain static, and crave applause for ‘just maintaining’. Or the young man will over compensate in bluster and false, hollow superiority. He will painfully seek identity in things, people and platforms which will only mask his ‘hole.’ According to John Bly*, “Where there is not an older man watching, there is a young man in pain.”
When a woman must perform and dance in hopes of her father’s elusive validation, she will be relentless in her duty --- striving, climbing, and overworking to eradicate her own invisibility. We will enter fierce (if not always conscious) competition with the men we wish would love us. We will often stretch beyond our GRACE. We may perform brilliantly on the front end, and end up brittle, often alone and too often barren and bitter on the back end. The illusion of ‘purchased worth’ did not pay off.
Not all, but too many.
Not everywhere, but in too many contexts.
Have we offered a paradigm of spiritual and domestic arrangement of success which has left them ‘great’…but still groping? Have they been making strides in our/their chosen areas, but secretly running with the proverbial ‘rock’ in their shoes…and their souls?
While we still have a voice, let the mothers and fathers in Spiritual Zion raise our knowing voices again. So that our sons’ strengths are not tainted and further diluted, let us touch them, teach them, give them space to make decisions that can be validated, celebrated and guided. Let us not ignore their shining potential with the maxim that ‘we got ours, let them get theirs.’ May our sons not be competed with and crushed by those of us who have ‘had our day’.
While we still have a voice, let us rediscover the timeless necessity of nurturing our daughters (and our sons). May we be generous with the lessons of gentleness, kindness and beauty. May we pour in courage, correct error and celebrate beauty and womanhood, so that our daughter’s leadership will not become lethal to them. And to those they lead.