Monday, August 31, 2009

Why do we even need to change?

I suppose it is a matter of perspective and priority. I feel like for all we’ve accomplished on this planet, we are still a mess. We still kill and wage wars. We continue to practice environmentally destructive behaviour against mother earth. We are still driven by the pursuit of more wealth and power, often at the expense of families and children on the other side of the world. We continue to elect and then turn a blind eye to leaders who wish to plunder and profit. We persist with using the wrong measuring sticks to judge happiness and success. Men continue to let bravado and testosterone drive the bus rather than compassion and reason. And as a whole we have long since lost sight that we are all connected to one another on this planet. When we kill, or bully or overpower, we are truly killing, bullying and overpowering our own children.

The short version of why we need to evolve as dads is because we need to evolve as men. We need to shed the illusions of power and wealth to help create harmony on this planet. Evolution takes time, however. At the rate we are going, time is a dwindling luxury, but hopefully our evolutionary steps as men and as dads will translate into huge strides for our children.

Fathers and men of this generation have made significant progress over dads of previous generations. But there is much more work to do. Until we strike a better balance as a planet —between the pursuit and the distribution of wealth, between the striving for and sharing of power and between testosterone and estrogen we will not evolve.

We have made mind boggling advances in science, technology, engineering, human kinetics and the ability to make something that has no chemical resemblance to butter make us say we can’t believe it isn’t. Don’t you think that parenting—particularly from a man’s perspective, needs to make this quantum leap, too?


  1. I have to say that there is no advancement in expressing hatred for half the human race, in this case, the male half, as you do. There is nothing "advanced" about male bashing, nothing advanced about subjecting one group to hatred or negative portrayal because of their gender. How is that an advancement? How is that new? The world has always selected certain groups to be singled out for hatred or scapegoating. In this case, or in your case, it's men who are to be the objects of hatred. Hatred for any group is not an "advancement". It's just the same thing humanity has been doing for thousands of years. Why does hatred suddenly become a good thing when it's directed at men, or at our fathers? You complain of "so much hate and so much suffering." Yet you think it's fine that men, half the human race, should be the object of hatred and blame?

    "We have made mind boggling advances in science, technology, engineering, human kinetics..." How many of those advances were made by men? You say most of the suffering in the world is caused by men, but you don't say how much of the reduction in suffering is also caused by men. Why is that? How about some simple fairness? How about looking at your own contribution to "hate"? Someone expressing hatred for an entire gender, and his own father, is in no position to lecture others on the need to eliminate "hate" in the world. By the way, the internet that you enjoy using, was created by men. Do those men deserve credit or praise? What about men like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela? Why don't you write about them? Why don't you write about the men who run volunteer to run the Llittle League and the Boy Scouts, the men who are the volunteer firefighters? Are we so busy hating that we let our hatred blind us to all the good that has been/is being done? Why don't you write about the men who devoted their lives to advances in medicine that have resulted in a dramatic reduction in infant mortality so that your/my children are free of the diseases that once devastated millions of infants? When you eliminated suffering in your mentality, then you can lecture others. As far as "suffering", how much human suffering has been eliminated or reduced by men? And why don't you write about that?

  2. Liam,

    I'm not sure through what sort of life experience-lenses you are reading this blog, but you've utterly missed the point and read something into this that just isn't here.

    This blog is not about man bashing or "expressing hatred toward half the human race"--this blog is about love.

    I have a wonderful relationship with a wonderful father. As a father myself, I am trying to take what I learned and take that a step further. I hope my sons will do the same.

    Men of previous generations have been shackled by so many societal pressures--don't cry, don't be emotional, go out and earn money for your family, but abdicate all loving and caring parenting to your wife. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone, I'm suggesting men need to be allowed or rather encouraged to explore feelings and to let love be the guiding force in their lives. Those brilliant men you mentioned--Gandhi, MLK, Nelson Mandela---they have done that. They have transcended the old paradigm of what it means to be a man, and have set a brilliant example for all of us, and how we should be and act. However, those men are the exception rather than the rule.

    I really think you need to read this blog again, as well as some of the other entries. I want to make this planet a better place, and I feel like suffering comes when we don't allow ourselves to express our true being. This is what I hope to do, is encourage other men, specifically fathers, to embrace the limitless, inexhaustible love brought into this world by their children, to free themselves of the old "macho-provider" paradigm, and to find better balance in their lives. When the inner torment stops, the outer conflict does as well.

    I wish you peace.


  3. "I wish you peace"

    There is no peace where there is hatred. Where is the "love" for the other half of the human race?

    "social pressures...go out and earn money for your family"

    Yes, do go out and earn money for your family because your family needs food, and clothing, and shelter, and medical care, all of which requires money. Why are there so many women in the workforce today? Why are there more women in college than ever before? Because they know it is essential to "earn money for your family." If you are critical of men for thinking they have to earn money then I assume you are equally critical of women who provide for their families and themselves, right? Do you tell women that earning money for their families means that they're abdicating all loving and caring?

    If you believe love is the guiding force then wouldn't you have to show that love yourself? Endless criticism, hatred, putdowns, insults, etc, is not showing love.

    Those brilliant men "transcended the old paradigm of what it means to be a man," No they didn't. They embodied the "old paradigm" of what it means to be a man: they were leaders, they were courageous, they risked and gave their lives to protect their "families". Perhaps you think they should have instead stayed at home with the children, but that was not their idea of what a man does. Their idea of a man was someone who took the leadership role, was courageous, didn't back down in the face of danger, and was willing to die for his "family." Very much the "old paradigm." And as a result they were/are loved and admired and looked up to by millions of men and women.

    "those men were the exception." Of course all leaders of mass movements are exceptions by definition. All prominent persons are "exceptions." Leaders are admired because masses of people believe they exhibit the qualities that are beneficial to them and their families.

    "the old macho-provider paradigm"

    You're criticizing men for being providers? Do you also criticize women who are providers? How can anyone live without providers? They don't give away food for free. You know the saying, "you can't live on love alone"? Food and clothing and shelter are necessities, and no one is giving them away for free. Are you suggesting that all the millions of women who work outside the home are trapped and need to "free themselves of the old 'macho-provider' paradigm? Of course not. Men are condemned for the crime providing for themselves and their families, yet women who do the same for the same reason are not similarly condemned.

    There is no excuse or justification for hatred. And where there is hatred there is no peace.

  4. Liam,

    I can only say that the only hatred in this blog is coming from you. Perhaps you can't see what I'm trying to accomplish, or perhaps you and I simply don't see eye to eye.

    The key word to me here is "balance".

    Men embracing their role as a financial providers, leaders, and caretakers is a great thing, if that's what they choose. What I am arguing is that men need to be applauded and encouraged to have feelings, show emotion, and raise their children. I celebrate families who have decided that what's best for them is mom goes to work and dad stays at home being a loving, caring dad. That would have been impossible a few generations ago. Now, thanks to many brave men and women who have stood up and said, "no, I wish to do this differently than society expects me to" men and women have much more freedom to create the family life they wish to have.

    Obviously, I don't know you at all, Liam, the same way you don't know me. However, you strike me as the sort of person who carries the same rant around all the time and is looking for a place and an excuse to unleash it upon the world.

    I don't think this blog is the place; your anger is misguided here.


  5. "loving, caring dad."

    Indeed loving and caring is what we need. That's what I found missing in your post, and perhaps i responded in anger because of it. I apologize for that. I think we can celebrate families with working moms and stay at home dads, and yet not condemn those men of past and present who work outside the home and have accomplished many beneficial things for their families and for all humanity. Perhaps we can agree on that.

    Also perhaps in the future in addition to the great leaders such as MLK, etc., who all had wives who took on the home and family responsibility, we will have larger numbers of women who become leaders in various fields because they have husbands who stay at home and focus on the family and home, allowing women to flourish in their chosen careers. Agreed?

    Thank you for the dialogue.