Every woman that has read More Than A Neighbor has told me that it resonated with them on some level, seeming very real and affecting them deeply.
While the writer in me is very flattered by this, the human in me is saddened. Why does a woman struggling through the after effects of an abusive relationship resonate with so many women?
Today I posted the following on Facebook, “A peaceful world is possible, the only thing keeping it from happening right this moment are the people who don’t believe it can happen.”
While I hate to say it, us men (as a whole) have a lot of changing to do.
There is still an overwhelming need in the male world to be MEN! Not just men, but MEN!
Now, on the surface there’s nothing overtly wrong with being a MAN! Wanting to be helpful by fixing a shower without the first understanding of plumbing is, I’m told, endearing for the first hour or so. And love of outdoors got the world through the crummy boring ages and into the age of technology where we can comfortably fish and hunt as well as run and compete in the Olympics from our living rooms.
The line is crossed when we stop being civil to a point of fault.
Sometimes a group of men will have a very intellectual and eye-opening discussion that leads one of them to have a new idea on how to fix his car, another to know how to get his wife to stop being mad at him, and yet another interested in a new way to cook steak.
Unfortunately, there are also these men-only discussions that devolve into playing up our sexuality and degrading women, authority figures, and anyone else we can think of. It may not be the norm, but it’s certainly not rare.
Ladies, you can ask the men in your life if this has ever happened to them. As a man, other men that we’ve never met will start talking to us about really racist or sexist things as though we are all in a club. Yeah, no joke. It happens.
This type of action indicates a base level of anger and hatred. Is it sometimes just a racy joke that they feel couldn’t be said in front of ladies, yes and I applaud you for not saying it in front of ladies but that is different than actually coming up and spewing serious hatred and negativity.
I guess in that I’m glad to proudly wear my Cross necklace now, as I get less of these occurrences.
I’m going to come back to this and jump to the youth of the world. The internet and social platforms available today have led to kids learning things and words way earlier than they would have 15 years ago.
When people complain about ‘men’ saying vile things, spitting out cuss words left and right and talking overly sexual around women, I of course think of one place, Xbox Live. Yeah, 15 years ago it was a strip club but not anymore.
And most of these ‘men’ aren’t men though a few are. While I’m all for some good trash talk during a game of Madden or a round of Unreal, what happens now is far beyond and far below. If the powers that be would learn anything from the masses it would be to have an age limit ability on the rooms we play in. (Note: One that works)
If a woman speaks up in one of these rooms, our testosterone filled mini-mes lower to a level below insect. It’s really mind-numbing and frustrating. It makes me long for the days of Madden ’95 where the only person I could hear talking crap was my brother. And HIS sexist jokes were time tested and mother approved.
But this behavior seems to be seeping it’s way out of the internet and into the real world at an alarming rate. It’s not just verbal abuse but physical as well and it’s turned into a lack of responsibility as well. Finding a woman who has children whose dad won’t call and talk to them let alone visit is way too common. Finding a man to be a GREAT dad is even more rare.
And I know it’s not across the board but it is getting to be a little much. For the peaceful world to occur, we need peace at home first. A ‘change starts with me, not you’ approach is key.
So are these boys being raised by the aforementioned
troglodytes MEN!? Sure, but unfortunately the numbers don’t add up. The number of ‘trolls’ on the internet go far and beyond the non-men MEN!
Parenting with Silence
If you are new to the blog, I was mainly raised by my grandparents. They not only valued a civil attitude, respect towards everyone especially women, as well as a positive view on ones own abilities, but they also SHOWED it. They SAID it. They TAUGHT it.
Today, we first have the issue of fathers not being in the kids life. These children have a good chance of learning respect for women due to being raised by a mom OR a good chance of learning everything on the internet because the mom works 2 or 3 jobs to support her family minus one and the kids never have a parental figure to explain or say, ‘hey don’t watch that.’ (This refers to tweens and teens old enough to stay home not the little kids being taken to daycares and families houses.)
But ALMOST worse than an absent father, is an absent father that’s around all the time. If you’re just there, being a warm body in the home, you aren’t teaching your boy to be a man.
Stop Excuses, Start Teaching
We have to stop making excuses about working too long, being too tired, or not knowing exactly what to say/do. We can find time to watch every football game in a season but not read our baby a story once in a while we aren’t investing time in a quality future for them OR us. It starts young. I know the teenage years are more fun in some ways, but really when you find the different things your young one can do with you they will be some of the most precious memories you will ever have.
And then when they are becoming teens, we have to talk about how WE respect their mother. How WE feel about hitting or yelling, verbal abuse, physical abuse, or even how we act in the workplace.
Mold your children in your image, and make your image a positive one. Make your image something that your children will want to be.
Life’s Still Fun
You can still have those ‘guy’ moments with your boy. If two guys can’t fart around each other what has this world come to? And dirty jokes have taught humor to many a ‘I don’t quite understand it but I know it’s funny’ boys throughout the years.
But we can have guy talk that isn’t showing our children that it’s OK to degrade women or anyone else for that matter.
We can rise above and we can be the men that leads the next generation into a peaceful world.