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November, 2012:

And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me…

What we model to our Sons:

You are the very first experience your son has with the female gender, and thus he will base all his truths, all his assumptions, all his building blocks of women on you.

He will believe, stereotypically, initially, that all woman are like his mommy. You are his only frame of reference. His only point of recall when dealing with the opposite gender.

He needs, of his father, to be taught the skills for manhood, the rules of the game, if you like, how to fish, how to kick a ball, how to act in a crowd of men, how to improve his skills, how to refine his skills.

But from his mother, he needs recognition as the Alpha Male.

He needs that approval, that validation, that acknowledgement supremely from his mum. Its great to get it from his dad too, as it is simply a mark of a lesson learnt well, or a task performed adequately.  In this game of learning how to be a man, his father is his benchmark. He aims to be like his father. He does not aim to be like his mother, for she is entirely different.  Therefore when his father says, that was not good enough, it can easily be interpreted as a challenge to be better, achieve more, aim higher – this is my mentor in the game of manhood, he is teaching me the rules, he wants me to improve. But when mum says that was not good enough, it is not a comment on how he is playing the game of manhood, but an observation of HIM. His being. His nature, his character, and therefore has devastating effects. I am not good enough is how the message gets translated. Dad says it, and it translates as my game is not good enough. Mum says it and it translates as I am not good enough. Because mum is not teaching him the games of manhood. Mum just is.

What an awesome (and I despise that that word has been used out of context and thus perverted over the last years, robbing it of its power) but nonetheless, what an awesome responsibility.

What does a boy need from his mum?

To be told he is the most handsome.

To be told he is the cleverest.

To be told he is the best.

He needs to be perceived by her as the ultimate alpha male.

For this is how he wants /needs to be perceived by his wife one day.

He knows that among males, he will have to earn that title, he will have to prove it, he will have to fight for it, he will have to take on tasks and succeed in them to make  it true.

But with his mum, with his wife, with his lover, he just wants /needs to be perceived by her as that, whether it be true or not.

In business, he will know where he is on the pecking order. He will know this by the title he bears, by the salary he brings home, but the car he drives, the home he owns, the neighbourhood he lives in. He will know this. He will see the truth, he will know the reality.

But does he want his wife to know it? No. He wants her to believe he is so much  more than what the male world assigns him to be.

He wants to be king of his castle, so that he is worthy of a queen, or princess. He can only treat his wife as the queen, if indeed he is the King.

It’s primal.

It might sound like the biggest load of B/s you have read, given the deconstruction of the patriarchial society. Given the blurring of gender roles and norms (and THANK GOD ALMIGHTY FOR THAT) Given the way in which men and women in a great many societies in the 21st century are able to define themselves, and the relations that they hold to the opposite gender. Yet, there is no denying the basis of truth this holds.

 

Take a boy of 2 years old, who is abandoned by his mama. (No judgements, just an observation of what happened. She may have a myriad of reasons, some perceivably viable, justifiable – who cares, that is not the topic of this debate) the facts are that the hypothetical child has been abandoned by his mother.

The way in which he interprets his world is – I was not good enough for a mother’s love, support, warmth, comfort.  She left me, she went away. That is the effect I have on woman. The cause and effect relationship.

So, he may grow up surrounded by love, by nurturing care givers, by grandmothers, teachers, father, stepmums. And he may grow into being a very stable, responsible, mature, well educated member of society, functioning very well. Yet subconsciously, on some level, somewhere, deep within the recesses of his awareness, inevitably, and unavoidably that message he interpreted as real, will exist.

And God knows, he may marry a Saint. But, perhaps, on some level, beyond his current awareness, he will deliberately, in spirit, although not deliberately in cause and effect behaviour (for our hero is well educated, refined, a scholar and a gentleman) but deliberately, his behaviour will manifest  his core belief system. So he will do or say things, in overt or very insidious ways to validate his core belief systems. So he will sabotage his marriage. Because our need to be right is such a primal survival instinct. To be wrong could jeopardize survival. On a primal level. So because he needs to be right, he will ensure that his marriage fails, because his core belief is that he is unlovable, that he deserved to be rejected, that is is unworthy of female love, affection, nurturing. So in tiny ways, perhaps by rebuffing her attempts to nuture him, perhaps by being unaffectionate towards her. In a million permetations and variables he will ensure that he sabotages his relationship, so that he can prove what he has known since he was a baby.

Oh my God. As a mother of boys, what a weighty responsibility.

I have a serious responsibility right now, at ages 5 and 3, to my boys’ marriages. To their wives. I need them to step into a marriage believing that women are trustworthy. That women are loving, accepting. There are SO VERY MANY things I need to model for my boys that they may have as building blocks for their wives. My beauty, my gentleness, my intelligence, my wit, my ability in any and all aspects. I have to let them translate that into core beliefs. That women are vulnerable, that women are strong. That women are real. That women are mysterious and ethereal. That women are intelligent. That women are light-hearted giggling fountains of tinkling joy. That women are self sufficient, that women are reliant on the men in their lives. These sound like contradictions but they are not at all. My boys need to see and experience me in ALL my facets, my weaknesses and my strengths. They will then automatically never objectify women, because I was never just an object in the room. An ornament. Nor was I a bully. But that I could be a reasonable, rational being, who could sustain an intelligent conversation, yet dissolve into tears at a silly advert, because my heart overtakes my mind.

Their father can not model that for them. His role is to teach them to survive. My role is to teach them how to live.

Oh my God. Why are we not taught this before we conceive these precious precious men?

Do I need to be perfect? No. Impossible.

Do I need to make all the right choices in life? No. Impossible.

Do I need to run after them, wait on them hand and foot? No. Debilitating.  For them and myself.

Do I need to never correct them ? No. That would be foolish.  (How I correct them is an entire chapter on its own.)

So what do I need to do?

I need to tell them, constantly and at every opportunity, that in MY eyes, they are the best. They know it’s not true.  Not always. They see that the other kid is a much better soccer player, or baseball player, or chess player. The have the hard core evidence. The world tells them that all the time. They need their dad to give an honest account. Well done my boy, for trying, next time, use this strategy. But they need to believe that I believe that they are the cleverest. They need ONE person in the world, just ONE, to believe that they are THE most handsome, good looking, intelligent man on planet earth. If it can’t be their mother who believes that, then, I beg of you, who would it be? They need to know there is ONE soft place in the world to fall. One place where total, unconditional acceptance is always present. Mum. In mum’s arms. In mum’s breast. In mum’s eyes.

Because if my mum thinks it to be true, then why wouldn’t my wife think it to be so? And if my wife thinks it to be so, then  why wouldn’t I do everything in my power to validate or confirm that belief that she has? And if my mum and my wife think it is so, then my daughter will too. And if my mum, my wife and my daughter believe that of me – that I and I alone are the most dashingly handsome man on planet earth, and that I am the most intelligent, and wisest man, surely, I would believe them above the opinions of strangers? And if that becomes my truth, then there is NOTHING that I can not achieve. For at core, at essence, I believe I am everything I need to be. Total strength.

Lbelief patterns, then why do I need to bully others to prove myself strong? Why would I need to empower myself at the expense of others, if I am already and already contain all the power I will ever need. And why would I have to waste  my life in acquiring the trappings that indicate my power to others, like cars, and other such essentially useless (except as tools I use to fulfil my destiny) items.

It is at this place of strength, that a Ghandi, a Mandela, an Abraham Lincoln, a Mother Theresa is born, and can serve society, because they know who they are and can get on with living the life the were destined to live.

 

(tiny foot note to self: Please God let me be the mother that raises a boy like that. Make me ever conscious and ever aware of this. Keep me vigilant over my words and deeds, that I may stand outside of myself on a daily basis and watch how I interact with my boys, and hear the words that come out of my mouth and self correct at every turn,  a thousand times in one minute if necessary. If only my boys learn one thing – that in this mama’s eyes – they are PERFECT. ABSOLUTLEY perfect. They can just BE. Because all the things they think they need to achieve, do, show, to prove their worth, to me – they already ARE. They are already brilliant. Beautiful. Successful. Smart beyond book learning. Worthy of love in every way. They needed DO or say anything. I ALREADY KNOW WHO YOU ARE MY BOYS. I ALREADY KNOW. …… I am beyond privileged that you choose me to be your mother.