We are turning the page from 2020 to 2021. In contrast to a year ago, dark moods prevail. Except for where the light shines.
What is the light? This has been a year of doubts, fears, never-before-seen forced attacks on our nation’s Constitutional Republic. Citizens, cities and businesses have suffered economic attacks and setbacks unrelated to the prior vigorous health of the economy. Most of the inalienable rights enumerated in the Constitution have been jeopardized and infringed upon to shocking degrees. No one has been spared the consequences, directly or indirectly.
In the midst of storms, trials, difficulties, wars, the only coping mechanism (not an easy one), is to cling to light. Often that light is nothing more than hope. Without truthful information to encourage, hope itself loses hope. Think of what POWs endure, or populations stuck in never-ending wars, with no idea if and when freedom will ever come. Their hardships are likely physical as well as psychological. Americans have been spared most of those experiences, and also the lessons. Emotions strain to the breaking point, or must be numbed in order to endure. Many are at that point as we end 2020, without the just-described situational extremes. Coping skills are low.
The question to ask is, “Where is Light?” How do we find it? For that answer we must often look to the past. WHEN did things feel better? And WHY? What changed? How can we recapture what illuminated our path and our mood before? Feeling free to go out when we felt like it? Dining out with friends or family? Accomplishments and interactions at schools and work? The freedom to think and speak (in a civil manner) without fear of reprisal? Especially for inane reasons? The list is long.
Who or what is responsible for robbing us of positivity? Look carefully. The media has always known how to manipulate moods through the subjects they dwell on and the music they use for background. Watch a frightening movie scene without sound and the effect of fear is very much less, or even absent. Try it. Watch an uplifting movie, or a good comedy, and the aftermath is completely different. Who is dictating the narrative? Who is running (and ruining) your life?
One sure clue as to where light is not found is in the sensation of FEAR. Fear is destructive. And deceit is its bedfellow. Fear is the most powerful tool for manipulating people. It is the basis for abuse in relationships; it’s the basis for abuse in tyrannical governments. If fear is governing, something is wrong. We must look away from the fear and search for an antidote. And we must fight for it. Find someone who is not fearful to communicate with. They might know something. The light must shine in the darkness. In fact light is the only way to dispel darkness. It won’t go away by itself.
There is a reason why freedom of religion has been at the forefront of this past year’s struggles. Those who promote fear, seek to remove all forms of solace, whether spiritual or social. Given dominance they would destroy it all.
Peace and prosperity are dependent on a just society. Nothing destroys trust and joy faster than injustice and nothing creates fear faster than the destruction of a reliable Rule of Law. This is why the United States was founded on deeply thought-out legal and moral principles. When followed and adhered to faithfully, they stabilize government, the economy, and the expectations of the population to freely pursue their goals of life, liberty and happiness. The power to retain everything bequeathed to them resides with the people. Our founding fathers warned they had given us the toolbox, basically, to stay free for 200 years or more, but then we’d have tofight for it again. Because ignoble individuals arise. It is the simple lesson of history.
We must defend the Constitution and the principles it was founded on. Sadly, the minimizing of respect for the Ten Commandments has been much at the core of the disintegration of our justice system. If “Thou Shalt Not Steal” is thought to be archaic, the door closes for respect of personal property ownership and for its defense. The door opens for the destructive tenets of socialism, where individual and national sovereignty do not exist, where everyone becomes homogenized into one miserable, government-controlled utility, and freedom dies for all. Perhaps forever.
2021 is when and where the rubber meets the road.
Where will YOU be?
Copyright 2020 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
As 2020 draws to a close, we wish to thank our realwomenfightback.com followers for liking and sharing our posts and articles. We also apologize for our lighter than planned website activity as many factors contributed to draining our energies in other directions. Not unlike what happened to most Americans.
Who would have known? Who could have foreseen, what 2020 would be like?
Who would like a continuation of 2020, national demise, or a change for the better?
2020 has been fraught with unprecedented challenges, not unforeseen to all but a shock to most. America’s Constitution was previously under attack but what had been brewing for decades finally surfaced. And it was not good.
As per the old saying, “Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.” America which has been a defender of freedom, is now fighting to retain its own, and the reasons for its weakening are not without explanation.
Reviewing some of our past blogs and articles, we posted and recommend several subjects relevant to this past year’s ongoing difficulties. “The Power of One” addressed the power and importance of the single courageous voice and action taken in spearheading change. We encourage courage.
“Can We See Farther in the Dark?” reflected on a life-changing insight the author gleaned from a past period of personal life darkness that has enabled hope to endure through many other difficulties, including the present national challenges. The article answers the title, and the answer is “yes”.
And then we have the subject of the acorn, “Training Children to be Leaders with Vision…” — something President Truman often referred to which we know to be a prime reason traditional families are the key to stable societies and nations. Most people only see the acorn, not the tree, not the forest, not the panorama of consequences for immediate actions, either good or bad. Seeing beyond the acorn is vital for leadership. With traditional family under attack for several generations, it is no wonder we see the blind leading the blind, those without understanding eager to pull the foundations out from under our Constitutional Republic. Most have NO IDEA what they are doing or the disasters they are begging for. Hence the repudiation of our national heritage, contempt for the flag, the anthem, authority in general — all that others before us have toiled to build and defend, all of which can be torn down in no time at all.
We have much more to write and contribute, but presently await the fate of many things including the questionable future of media forums. Pending various outcomes, we hold the line. We have spoken for what we stand for. We do not believe in failure. We do not support weakness. We do believe in fighting to the finish line. May God bless all engaged in the battle.
Quoting from Winston Churchill: “Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
IF WE wish to live in freedom, we must learn the lesson of vision. And try not to forget it again. It must be passed on diligently from generation to generation. We must choose.
2021 is up to “We the People”. One nation under God, or not!
Copyright 2020 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
Bringing order back to the traditional family PART 1 of 3
In recent decades we have witnessed radical changes in the way the roles of men and women are viewed. Those roles, and their purposes, may be one of humanity’s greatest enigmas. They were once understood and embraced for their inherent benefits, but today confusion reigns.
In this short series we will examine the foundational pillars of family, marriage, why things got twisted and, given the breadth of the subject, limit ourselves to identifying what basic steps can be taken to restore what was first intended.
Men and women were intended to be complementary — perfect partners for special purposes, not opponents.
Given human beings are not perfect, imperfection always results, and marriages have been no exception; they do take work in order to make them work. The challenges can be the spice of life, or its undoing. The ideal family is something worth aspiring to, as it fulfills the most important purposes for life itself, leads to better health, longer life and many enjoyments.
Nothing in this series is meant to exonerate or grant license to excesses of behavior on either side. Power, gentleness, kindness and authority can reside in one man. Women can be strong, talented, yet feminine and gracious. Both should respect each other, be each other’s cheerleaders, and work in harmony, if they choose to.
There will be a lot in this series about choices.
This is not intended as a religious article, though references are inevitable. We must launch from basic understandings found in the account of the Garden of Eden. It is there only that the how and where of the foundations for traditional marriage and family were first established, and it is the only way to also reach the right conclusions.
As an aside, there is no “apple” identified in the Eden account! No one knows what that fruit was. It does not matter what it was. It symbolized a very important CHOICE, one of the first made by the first couple. In fact there were two choices involved in the account of the “fall”. The woman made one, then the man, and that is where our story begins. The continuation of the same pattern of choices accounts for much of the chaos we witness today.
Knowing the cause of a problem is the first clue to reversing it.
Analogy of the Two-Headed Snake
Before we proceed, it is interesting, pertinent and humorous to bring up two-headed snakes. For those who’ve never heard of those, yes, they do exist. I saw one at the San Diego Zoo a long time ago, bearing a simple sign explaining they are rare and usually do not survive long! In the wild they are rapidly doomed. They can never agree which way to go, when or what to eat, and sometimes attempt to consume each other. Sometimes each head has its own brain, and sometimes they share one. Either way, it’s not a good combination for survival, but it is a formula for constant strife and stress!
“Divide and conquer” is a formula for failure. Without clear leadership all the wrong things happen! [Eastern Kingsnake. See National Geographic footnote for more details.]
There’s a specific reason that man was created first, and then his very, very valuable mate, the woman. A surprising insight into the woman’s role as “helper” will be covered in Part II of this series.
Man was instructed early to separate from his parents so as to set up his own household. (Gen. 2:24) This would not have pertained to the first man, Adam, for obvious reasons. In order to ensure the man would fully develop as a leader/caretaker, he was to carry that responsibility on his own without leaning on his parents. No such instruction is given to the woman. Women usually want their own domains to manage, and they have their husbands for support. The major part of leadership training is to have someone to lead. There is no point in erecting pillars without a purpose, and a bridge will not exist without its supports.
The woman was created second as the man’s helper. She was not created to be inferior, not to be his supervisor, not to be in conflict. She was to be his closest friend and companion, to become as “one flesh”, a relationship like no other. There was an order being established for the benefit of all. Equal in many ways but different in others, the interdependency was designed to refine the best qualities of both men and women and to provide the highest level of care for future children. It’s a priceless exercise in partnership and teamwork, and the ultimate in character-refining. Not a bad thing.
The man was told it would not be good for him to be alone; he was incomplete. The woman by herself would also be incomplete, as we shall see. Their purposes are masterfully intertwined. The union is a formula for personal growth like no other.
Children were not created first and then parents to take care of them, just as eggs were not created and then chickens to hatch them. This is an important point for establishing priorities. [This site’s article, “The Four Seasons of Parenting” examines that closely.] The relationship of the man and the woman, husband and wife, must solidly come first.
Before proceeding, let’s go back to the original account and pierce through the fog.
It Was Never About the Apple, only the LABEL — and its Price Tag!
We are told a test was set up. This was after an unstated length of time following much instruction.
The test was set up in the form of food. That seems to be one of the hardest things for people to resist, maybe because it seems benign and the need for it so easy to justify. It is also tempting to bypass warnings and not read “the label”! But this was more than food; it involved a life or death decision. This decision had a very high price tag attached to it.
We know the woman was lured into eating a fruit, the only one labeled “off limits” out of hundreds or thousands of other choices available. The tempter completely twisted the “label”, lying about the consequences of consuming it. The Creator had warned that eating it would lead to the death cycle entering Creation (Gen. 2:17), and the tempter completely undid that by saying: “You will NOT surely die.” (Genesis 3:4).
Now Eve had a choice, and she made a decision to believe the lie, perhaps the first one she’d ever heard.
Eve’s first choice, if she even wavered, could have been to use her power of free will to follow the Divine instructions she’d received. That would have stopped the problem right there. With any doubt she might have consulted with her husband about what to do. He was expected to be more resistant to persuasion than his wife. In haste perhaps, not wanting to appear indecisive, Eve made her own decision, and she made the wrong one.
In the New Testament we are told Eve was “deceived” (I Timothy 2:14), but her husband was not, so Adam’s decision was a conscious one.
Something differed in the way both of them could be influenced.
Some decisions are made for instant gratification and others based on weighing long-range consequences. Immediate desire, needs and emotions, fuel the first type. They are typical of the manifold decisions women must make day by day and often minute by minute in fulfilling their typically multi-tasked jobs — all the details they are well gifted at managing. The second types of decisions require more restraint, careful thought, patience, self-discipline and a tough focus. They cannot be swayed by emotions or the appeal of the senses. We see these processes being tested in the first couple.
Do we have a single-headed unit or a two-headed snake? Who is going to make the key decision here?
The Beginnings of Conflict
Eve failed first. Whatever she had been told and taught was quickly superceded by the smooth talk of the deceiver and the visual appeal of the fruit. Appearances had an impact on her. So did auditory influences. (Gen. 3:4-6) These are strong qualities she possessed to be the wonderful woman she was created to be, loving, caring and responsive. She and her husband could in fact reach balanced viewpoints by counseling each other. Both had been warned that this particular wrong choice would alter the course of human existence. Now her eyes and ears cancelled out the warnings. She is also lured with the promise that somehow consuming that fruit would make her “wise”. Whatever that meant to her at the time, it was an appeal to power.
It’s interesting that an appeal to power would be an enticement, because the power Eve already possessed, that to control herself and humanity’s destiny, was stronger than any she was being offered.
When Eve offers the same fruit to her husband, he fails, too. Why?
Why did Adam abdicate his leadership? He was the one better endowed with the ability to resist temptation, to take the long-range view and to overrule the bad advice. He was well instructed about his role as leader in the relationship. Adam is not as easily lured; his brain is wired to better resist. He can set aside what he sees and hears. But he has a weakness.
The strongest conjecture, a logical one, is that given the warnings received, and with Eve the only woman created at the time, Adam may have feared losing her, or looking weak to her. Would she follow his lead? Or not? What would be the consequences? Perhaps he was overcome by his own feelings for Eve, or not wanting to conflict with her. His mind may have whirred for a moment with conjectures.
Adam made the decision to subjugate his higher instructions to something more subtle, but to him it was not the “sight of the eyes” or the smooth talk of the tempter. It is a persistent foible of men, affecting even many of the greatest spiritual leaders of the Bible, including Abraham, to listen to their wives at the wrong time. There has to be a reason the tempter approached the woman first and not the man, where he would likely have been soundly rebuked! Adam certainly was not created weak or unintelligent, or with a poor memory. But what he feared overcame him. He was afraid of something...
Right away, in abdicating, the first man failed to hold to his God-given focus. If it had entered his mind that the all-powerful God who created all things, including the first woman, could certainly create another, we again would have had a different outcome.
Thousands of years later Abraham, the “Father of the Faithful”, was tested on giving up his promised son Isaac. What precisely helped him hold strong was believing God could resurrect the young man. (Hebrews 11:17-19) That was faith superceding his paternal feelings. Perhaps Abraham remembered the reason for Adam’s failure. Very likely he had learned his own lesson years earlier when he caved to the very bad idea from his wife Sarah to procreate with her maid Hagar. Sarah ran out of patience waiting when God’s promised son for them was delayed. Abraham’s mistake led to a lot of grief.
Choices and Consequences, from Bliss to Strife
Marriage was created to be a wonderful gift. It required the right balance of relationship between husband and wife, leadership and compliance, cooperation with wisdom.
The Creator of all, after fully laying out and instructing about choices and consequences, left those choices and consequences up to the first man and woman. Self-governance is the only kind of governance that really lasts, and sometimes it only matures through making mistakes. Dictatorship is not the goal. Peace is the goal.
With Eden lost, the first couple had a problem, one that could not be undone. So the story begins. The two-headed snake has now appeared in the family. The order is upset. The earth under the dominion of fallen man is also affected.
Life is going to be difficult.
Wrong choices often have unintended and far-reaching consequences. There is no way the first couple had not been warned, but as all parents know, the learning method of “hard knocks” seems to appeal to most human beings. Therefore we cannot blame Adam and Eve because everyone since has continued repeating the mistakes.
When confronted with their error, the two adults now act like children and pretend not to know what happened. They aren’t fooling anyone. When asked about what they had done, and why they were hiding, Eve blames the tempter, and Adam blames her. This is off to a bad start. Neither takes the blame to themselves. There is no record of apologies, only defensiveness. Attitudes take the place of innocence.
When additional consequences are explained, one specific phrase in the text only comes clear from the original Hebrew. That is at Genesis 3:15 where Eve is told, “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” (Emphasis added).
This does not mean she is going to adore her husband and he is going to beat her down!
The word “desire” in that passage is the same word used at Genesis 4:7, when words are spoken to Cain before he killed his brother Able: “…sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Italicized emphasis added).
The translation is confusing to the casual reader. Sin obviously did not “desire” Cain, but to overtake him. If he did not quell his anger and envy, he was going to move on to violence, precisely as happened. In other words, sin to Eve would be her desire to rule over her husband, even to exploit him, and if she did not resist, her husband would now have to rule over her not in peace but in conflict! This is a formula engendered by Eve’s first error, and Adam’s bad decision.
Before and after.
From that time forward life now will depend on harsh conditions. Outside of the pristine garden, the man must work “by the sweat of his brow” to provide for his family. Conditions have changed. Deplorably. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain the long-range purposes for these consequences, but they are solid ones.
We can imagine Eve no longer trusting Adam’s leadership, grumbling at the hardships, even though the pressure he had caved to came from her! Instead of blaming the tempter she would end up blaming him! Suffering along with the bad consequences, she might well become contentious on other decisions, plus question and challenge excessively. Meanwhile Adam would be increasingly frustrated, doubtless feeling diminished and defeated by his failure, as a man would be, knowing what his fault was, but forced to endure consequences with the same wife who never stops reminding him!
Can the couple ever have peace?
The answer is yes, but now it will take work.
“What if” Eve had used her intelligence to stop the tempter instead of letting herself be misled?
“What if” Adam had stood his ground and refused to follow his wife’s error?
“What if” we started doing things differently now?
In Part 2 we will look at the consequences of the upset order.
In Part 3 we analyze simple and specific steps that can be taken to reverse relationship damages. The two-headed snake must be eliminated.
We cannot restore the Garden of Eden. We can only change ourselves.
Copyright 2019 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved. [Sharing is permitted only with full and appropriate credits included].
Part 2 of 3 (Strongly urge reading this series in sequence!).
In Part One of this three-part series, we examined what went wrong with the first established relationship between men and women. The model was broken due to bad decisions on both sides. Neither wanted to take the blame but both shared the consequences.
The woman, once started down the wrong path, was inclined to want to rule over her husband. When innocence was destroyed, so was trust.
Men often become discouraged when the ones they need and want respect from the most tear them down. Feeling defeated they may withdraw. Or they may lash out in inappropriate behaviors. Either way if a man is under attack from the woman it makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to retake his position as leader, especially if his attempts are criticized, resisted, and as these days, maligned as “toxic masculinity” and other such previously non-existent and demeaning labels.
What is the point of destroying men and boys? What consequences have been reaped as a result of sidelining the irreplaceable attributes of men in favor of what some called “equal rights for women”, when in fact what they meant was “unequal rights for men”? Did it in fact start with toxic feminism?
The Great Deception
Initially the woman’s role was to be the man’s “helper”. This was a massively important job and the term deceitfully used to motivate women to believe their role was inferior. Some of the motivation came from the men themselves, no doubt, but what ensued only made things worse.
It is helpful to look at the original meaning of the word.
In a right relationship, there should be no victims, and no oppressors!
Going back again to the language of the Old Testament, where the introduction of man and helper begin, we find a surprise.
Both the Old and New Testaments are very specific in which words are chosen for what purpose. Often one word in Hebrew or Greek has many detailed forms in the original language, but ends up translated as the only one available in English. Meanings are lost!
The word “helper” in the ancient text is simple to look up. The word for “helper” used at Genesis 2:18 and 2:20 for the woman is also the same word used in Exodus 18:4 and Joshua 1:14 with some very powerful illustrations. In Exodus 18:4, “helper” is used to describe God himself as the helper of his people! And at Joshua 1:14 the same word is used to describe the task of Joshua’s “mighty men of valor” — the most powerful warriors in Israel! (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The word for “helper”, number #5828.)
The role of helper is that of one who surrounds, protects and aids. Not someone who cowers, is disrespected or abused.
The woman in her supportive role is the perfect complement to her man. She is his safe harbor, his champion, his chief companion. She enhances his reputation. She helps him as he provides for and protects her. His children are safe with her. He has no need to worry she will damage him or do anything but good. That confidence fuels his enthusiasm for providing for and protecting his family. Without those motivations life is pretty flat.
Once feminists got their short-sighted ball rolling, making women feel inferior for being “helpers”, the true slavery began — that which led to the intractable need for two incomes where one used to suffice.
There is nothing wrong with women wanting to expand and use their many talents and skills, but as matters escalated the family structure disintegrated, children suffered in many ways, and the entire economy is twisted as a result. Everything from the day care industry to “fast” and processed foods developed from the needs related to working mothers, who gradually gave up their own food preparation. Our nation’s health has greatly suffered as a result, and stress has increased for everyone.
In the mid-1980’s it was estimated the value of all the jobs a woman performed in the average home would have cost $50,000 per year through outside sources (at 1985 costs). That was the value of her presence, an earnings equivalent that no family could afford to pay! Given her massive contribution, the family could function on her husband’s income. And the women had all the scheduling flexibility so many now crave and wish they could reclaim even while working outside jobs. Instead of being the free employers of their own time, they press for employers to make up for the problems through benefits that should never be the employer’s domain. When benefits are mandated, other payroll allocations are suppressed. There is nothing “free”.
Many men today could adequately cover their home expenses if the outsourcing costs were stopped.
Birth control of course did not always work, was easily ignored, tampered with or even sabotaged. And as financial benefits became available to unwed mothers, more chose to lean on those rather than marry. Financial independence appealed more than family and marriage. What seemed like a good and noble idea was injecting more damage into the equation. Impediments like the marriage tax penalties did not help.
Eventually, part of the misguided effort to erase the separate roles of men and women was to “equalize” the playing field in child-rearing. Absurd concepts were put forth that both parents are equally responsible for all functions of child care and other household tasks, as if each was not limited by their own 24 hour days, and as if the jobs that men do are not usually more taxing than the ones performed by the women. Not too many women enjoy laying asphalt or hanging from skyscrapers, and not too many are on the firefighting crew that shows up when the house is on fire.
Division of labor is well known in employment. One never sends two people to do the job of one. It’s inefficient. In the single-income household, the pattern allowed for maximization of time and energies for both spouses. Assuming neither was lazy and both doing their jobs, a hard day’s work meshed with a well-run household and led to valuable family time and enjoyable evenings. Not so any more…
A Hard Look at the Statistics of Failure
The subject of family break-down is so large that we can only scratch the surface.
The single most damaging effect of feminism, besides the crushing devaluation of the roles and strengths of men, and the demoralizing of boys along the way, has been the tearing down of moral restraints and the huge escalation of fatherless families.
If the two-income stranglehold is a trap, the single parent arrangement is even worse.
Over 25 million children today, in the United States, are being raised with no father in the home. 40 to 50% of children are in a single-parent household or will be at some point, usually with the mothers. Multiple millions of others have already reached adulthood without the experience of a father in their background, or the wrong idea about fathers due to negative experiences. Boys cannot be expected to understand a father’s role if they never knew one.
The worst afflicted are the African-American households. In1965, the Moynihan report stated that 25% of African-American households were led by a single parent (usually the mother); today that figure is an astronomical 66%. The 25% figure (24% to be exact) now applies to white, non-Hispanic families, and the numbers keep growing.
Children without fathers in the home are almost twice as likely to be hyperactive as kids in homes with two parents. 63% of youth suicides are kids who grew up with no father in the house. 90% of all the runaways and homeless kids out there grew up in fatherless homes. 85% of the children with behavior disorders, 71% of high-school dropouts, 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions, and 85% of youths in prison grew up in homes without a father.
Why the hyperactivity?
In the mid to late 1990’s, famous broadcaster Paul Harvey cited a serious study about what had recently been labeled as “ADD”. The study concluded that “ADD” should rather be spelled “DAD”. The profound studies signaled unequivocally that the restlessness of children was due primarily to emotional insecurities, stemming from absent fathers. The report was quickly buried.
It does not help that healthy physical activities, the kind needed for boys to vent their energies and build their self-confidence, barely exist today. Texting and playing video games do not count.
A study by criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi found “the absence of fathers” to be “the most powerful predictors of crimes” among males. 75% of school shooters are documented as coming from fatherless homes.
The most reliable predictor of crime is not poverty, it is not race, it is growing up without a dad!
Scholar Brad Wilcox adds that fathers are the key role models for their sons when they maintain proper authority and discipline. Doing so helps boys develop self-control and empathy towards others, precisely the traits lacking in violent youth and not coincidentally, in men who go on to repeat not being kind to their families. The presence of mothers, however strong and well-principled, is not enough to offset the absence.
Bringing some findings up to date. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson did an excellent series in March-April, 2018, conducting in-depth interviews and presenting reports on the tragic decline of men in America. Parts of the interviews addressed such facts as women taking over mens’ jobs, outnumbering them in higher education, and now constituting a majority in managerial positions.
Starting with the decline of male teachers at the lower educational grades, and the lack of inspiring fatherly influences in the homes, boys are depressed, and yes, many of them, instead of putting their energies to use, find themselves “diagnosed” with “DAD” (to use the right letters) and put on drugs to keep them down. How disabling.
The whole idea of “father” is wrought with cynicism to those who have never known the benefits of a good father’s leadership — the special warmth, strength and encouragement a father can provide. The missing experience is otherwise projected into disrespect of other authorities, a misunderstanding of authority in the workplace as well as in government and law enforcement. The trend is unmistakable, and so are its sources. Daughters suffer in their own way, negatively fashioning their expectations of males, and suffering great loss of self-esteem which they then seek to build from wrong sources.
Fathers who abandon their children and mothers who take their children away from their fathers have no idea of the price the kids are going to pay. If they know, they don’t care or choose to ignore the information and warnings. This is outside those cases due to abuse, of course, or other extreme conditions warranting separation. Most of the attention is paid to allegations of fathers abandoning children and not to the women who drive them away. We will not make that omission.
The bottom line is that the abdication of marriage as the secure place to bear children, for the good of all concerned, was a huge and predictable mistake.
While a full 92% of Americans still believe that our nation can only go forward if American families are made stronger, there is an avoidance of discussing what family model is the healthiest. Political correctness has vastly increased the price tag.
In the End, Breaking our Men Breaks Everyone
For as long as traditional family structure held as the norm, there was not as much negative to talk about as there is now.
Expectations for marriage, futures, children, were not questioned, and most were satisfied with the formula. It was great for the children, granted women what today they admit craving the most — flexibility in the use of their time — and it allowed men to focus more single-mindedly on their work, careers and providing for their families. This is not to downplay the need women have to develop and utilize their talents. The right family balance should allow for that and depending on other factors, permit some employment outside the home, just not to the detriment of the family’s primary needs, and certainly not to its destruction! We’ll have some interesting observations on that in Part III.
In Part III we will ask where and why we have lost our hearts.
Men and women have lost their hearts for each other, for their children, even for any children.
These are times like no other. And repair must begin in the heart.
Copyright 2019 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved. [Sharing only permitted with full credit for authorship and sources.]
Part 3 of 3 (Strongly urge these 3 articles be read in sequence. Not recommended for those who are committed to hating men!)
Launching 2020 as the “#NotMe” Year
In this series of articles we have been exploring what led to the breakdown of the intended great relationship between men and women. It began with a breach of trust and only in restoration of trust can healing be found.
The arrival of the “Me Too” movement made it clear why men cannot trust women, now less than ever. Decades after events, alleged or real, women have the ability to arm the press in their favor and destroy the lives, families, health and careers of men they may or may not have known. Lies abound and facts do not restore reputation or losses once damage has been done.
The Hindsight of Failure
In “Reversing Eden” we seek to reverse damaging trends by replacing negatives with positives. The “#NOT ME” woman is the one who can be trusted.
Turning the calendar page from 2019 to 2020, we relate the need for 20/20 vision, both past and future. Do we see clearly? Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Those who ignore it will learn nothing. And those who pretend they are stuck in the repeat cycle are missing the point! It is possible to reverse course!
“#NOT ME” is a decision. It is a pledge to oneself and to others, to live up to standards of good character and responsibility. It means not jeopardizing others at any time present or future for simply living lives that crossed paths with ours. It means telling the truth, ALWAYS! Not supplanting truth with “hearsay”, the legal term for rumor. If it wouldn’t stand under judicial scrutiny, don’t say it, don’t repeat it with the purpose of doing injury. It’s pretty simple. Do no harm!
Feminism has left a trail of destruction in its path that cannot be undone, as countless millions of lives have been altered and shattered in the process, even while some blindly prided themselves on benefits.
A wrong course can only be helped by a strong reversal.
We only scratch the surface but I am sadly reminded of the Titanic. Like many great ideas, the supposedly unsinkable ship received many warnings and resisted several options to avoid impact, but only reversed engines after it had hit the iceberg. Too little, too late.
As with the Titanic, in the relationship crisis, in the breakdown of traditional family, it is mostly the men who went down with the ship. Even as by order of custom and priority, women and children were to be saved first, so it parallels with the damages of toxic feminism, unfairly focused on women only. The radios were turned off and warnings ignored. The men gradually fell silent, post-impact, but the consequences continued to escalate. The children themselves were voiceless and remain so.
To validate why this writer is not writing from a vacuum, I include a brief snapshot from personal experience at a time when warnings were being issued, decades ago.
In the mid-1980’s, representatives of three of the largest business advocacy organizations in the country requested I appear before an Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times. My purpose as their spokesperson was to change the newspaper’s position on an anti-business legislative issue which the paper was promoting, involving misguided family law issues. The issues were harmful to small business and biased towards women’s interests.
As with many such legislative issues, the one I was to contest was being pushed by activist feminists and certain left-leaning organizations. It was not the first time I’d been asked to counter, just the first at the Los Angeles Times. No legislators or others would dare because as was already known at the time, any male opposition voiced to feminist ideas was instantly smeared in the press. There were negative consequences for those exercising the courage to speak the truth. Fake news reporting is nothing new. The long-range analysis of the consequences of events was spurned and despised. Things have not changed, only gotten worse, due to lack of organized opposition.
When I finished my testimony and questioning, mouths fell open, and the L.A. Times reversed its position. It had never occurred to anyone that the short-sighted sponsoring of legislation intended to harm men and male-run businesses might just come back and hit a women business owner as it had me and others. All of a sudden it “mattered” that a woman might be affected? How maddening! How utterly and blindly biased!
Hypocrisy flourishes where vision is non-existent.
Too Little, too Late?
Three decades after my task before the Los Angeles Times, a number of notable, revisionist feminists are waking up to what amounts to “too little, too late” reactions to the cumulative damages. Some are writing books and filling auditoriums to speak about the mess feminism has created. We covered that in a prior article. Alarmingly, some now want to create a new bureaucracy to fix what they and their peers created unfairly to begin with. NO! That is the wrong formula. Let the men, those closest to “ground zero” fix it and lead the way!
Those who claim they “never saw it coming,” or “Who would have thought…?” are not leaders but followers. Their eyes only open now because the previous errors are finally visibly imploding.
WHO saw it Coming?
Well, most of THE MEN saw it coming! So did some far-sighted women, those censored in the past along with their male counterparts. The process perfectly exemplifies the concept embedded in the story of Eden: Eve saw the apple, not the future. She thought she had the better vision, all while being deceived, so she yanked leadership away from her husband.
It should begin to make sense — WHY man is inherently the better leader.
Men’s and Women’s Brains are Different
Situationally, men have predominantly straight-line, focused thinking capabilities. In this they have a natural leadership when it comes to making decisions and taking action. Women are stronger in peripheral vision but may have no idea what the men are “seeing” in the distance. Their strengths are in the details and they are often more oriented to committee deliberations. When it comes time for action, when it is time for a decision, those in leadership have to know they also bear full responsibility for the consequences and have the courage to bear the consequences. They may have to act alone, without the consent of others.
Eve could have left the figurative apple alone and not used her manipulative skills to tempt her partner. Adam could have chosen not to cave to his partner, leading instead from his long-range perspective. Unfortunately both failed.
Those are not idle conjectures or personal opinions. SCIENCE has slowly been catching up with old wisdom, as stated in this excerpt from recent findings regarding the differences between male and female brains:
“Researchers have discovered structural differences in the brains of men and women including a larger total brain volume in men and higher tissue density in the left amygdala, hippocampus and insular cortex. Amber Ruigrok, Ph.D., carried out the study revealing the asymmetric effect sex has on a developing brain. She said:
“For the first time we can look across the vast literature and confirm that brain size and structure are different in males and females. We should no longer ignore sex in neuroscience research, especially when investigating psychiatric conditions that are more prevalent in either males or females.”
“As scientists gather more information about the specific differences between men and women, it’s generated numerous questions. Roger Fillingim, Ph.D.,from the University of Florida, has spent years researching differences in pain perception and what implications they may have for pain management. It is important to note researchers have consistently found women suffer from anxiety disorders twice as much as men and that this may be related to life experiences or genetic and neurobiological factors.
“Gender differences affect the ways in which men and women use logic and solve problems.Even while at rest, neurological activities in the brain are different.”
Interestingly, management decision-makers are advised to keep one pessimist around for advice. Not because much of what the pessimist has to offer is fun for the optimists, but because he/she may have just that one out-of-the-box insight or warning into a problem that could impair or improve the success of a project — that one thing that the single-track executive might not think of.
In a couples parallel, men would do well to listen to their wives, consider their input, but not abdicate leadership. Anxiety, emotions and nagging should not be the drivers in decision or policy-making. It is not bullying to take the lead; it is leadership. In a properly working situation, if there isn’t 100% consent on a decision, one needs to just let go of the reins and be supportive.
The women who launched feminism jeered at warnings, reacted defensively to criticisms and embarked on a power trip headed straight for the iceberg.
It is clear what has not been working.
As we covered previously, first-wave feminism sought initially to redress a few perceived wrongs, focused on gaining the right to vote. It sounded good, but not all good “ideas” are worth implementing, let alone legislating. Feminism went grossly overboard and even pushed criminalizing fathers in family law, and employers in the workplace, for not meeting their escalating waves of demands.
Second-wave turned to male-bashing and descended to an increasingly toxic level. Fueled by promiscuity, encouraged by the availability of contraception, marriage was no longer a goal, it’s absence no longer a restraint.
Third-wave feminism grew quickly from the second wave, eager to neutralize the entire concept of masculinity — comparing men to women, shaming them for being men and calling them “toxic”.
Men are not “broken women”, but women can break their spirits.
Diminishing men out of their roles as leaders, providers and protectors leaves them no purpose. It breaks their morale, their hearts, and their courage. Men tend to live up to what they are most appreciated for, and the role bashing also crushes the boys who witness it.
Boys are not “toxic”; they are under-challenged. They are not “ADD” — it is those without fathers who are usually mistakingly diagnosed. Boys are under-exercised and stuck in an educational system designed to maximize the needs and talents of girls, not theirs. Plus they are taught mostly by women and not men. Boys are made to feel like misfits, so they fail. And the girls fail, too, because they lose sight of the happy hopes that used to engage them just a few decades ago. Many today were raised and stuck in a broken system and have no idea what they are missing!
Now that women are described as “no longer being women”, the fun has gone out of relationships. Humor evaporates. Men are not sure how to speak to them, even worse how to consider befriending or dating. So more and more, men avoid the risks.
Even in business circles, Harvard Business Review(1) reports that 21% of men are more reluctant to hire women for jobs requiring close interaction; 19% of men are more reluctant to hire attractive women; and 27% of men avoid one-on-one interaction with female colleagues. And those figures go up every year. Why shouldn’t they?
Feminists are full of hypocrisies. Most women really do not want to bear the full load, but pretend they do. They want time off from work, flextime, benefits to allow them to live two lives at once. When they originally vied for equal pay and shunned traditional roles, they did not foresee the economic and business consequences. As statistics now bear out, forcing equal pay outside the discretion of employers’ judgements eventually led to LESS pay for men! Now many women who would like to be full-time homemakers cannot because their husbands’ incomes are insufficient to support their households! The two-income household has become a trap that few can escape.
Studies show that women, even those who uphold feminist values, still preferto date and marry men who earn more than they do.(2) The hard-working tradesman who earns less than the woman’s white-collar job is sidelined. Yet the most dangerous and under-appreciated jobs that keep our society functioning are still done by the men. With few exceptions.
These are some of the consequences of the absurd and misguided “war on men”, which is in truth a war on everyone.
The sunken ship doesn’t float; what a surprise.
Some say that heterosexuality “doesn’t work”. I’m not sure how they explain how we all got here if it doesn’t, but in theory, when you don’t practice something the right way, you reap what you sow, not what you hoped for.
Is it the fault of the men that life has been difficult and filled with drudgery, or the fault of both?
Have all forgotten the two-headed snake? The one that doesn’t live long? (Ref. Part I of this series).
In order for a man to step forward to do his job in full confidence, the woman must take a step back first. It is a significant sign of respect and support. That was the sequence that first went astray in Eden.
Men have carried on their duties and obligations for the most part without the level of complaining and blaming levied at them by their confused partners. They have done most of the heavy lifting, most of the bleeding, and their share of the suffering throughout history. Advances in technology have made women feel “equal” to men in the performance of jobs that never existed in the past. That is a distortion that quickly rights itself when the heavy lifting is needed. It’s something to think about. (See our article, “To be Cherished, Cherish HIM!” July 19, 2018).
Men and women have not fundamentally changed but many have lost the balance of traditional values that previously fostered stability in families. Those values once brought fun and joy to life. When families are strong, a nation is strong. Today mental and physical health problems are at an all-time high due to the absence of that foundation. Fathers, men as leaders, are desperately needed and so are women who will respect them. How a mother relates to her husband exerts a powerful influence on what kind of men boys grow up to be, and what kind of men girls seek for in relationships. The kids are watching. All the time.
When men feel defeated, they won’t talk about it. It’s discouraging and pointless to do so. They will not be seen marching in ridiculous parades or launching “hashtag” campaigns to draw attention to their woes. That is also held against them as some sort of deficiency, instead of a badge of honor. It is up to those who berate, disparage and mock them to quit. Show them respect and the men will heal themselves.
“#NOT ME” Means Taking Full Responsibility
Taking full responsibility for one’s personal actions, choices and decisions should be the hallmark of a “#NOT ME” approach to life. It is the opposite of the cowardly “Me too” victim mentality. It is about not tempting others, not putting oneself in tenuous situations, not blaming others for what one could have avoided, and certainly not revisiting past mistakes that one had choices in. Total personal responsibility. Not like the two in the garden, one blaming the serpent, the other the woman.
Most women silently resent men who don’t lead and lose respect for them. Yet they do everything they can to deter them from doing so. It’s one of those situations that is very confusing to men, conducted almost as a fail-fail test, where the man feels “damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t”. The answer, of course is for men to lead anyway! That is their job! They should lead with wisdom and kindness, without caving as Adam did to Eve, or Abraham to Sarah, or as in endless examples that altered the course of history.
“#NOT ME” begins with finding Our Hearts
The unrelenting nature of feminism, almost impossible to oppose, has led to some very ugly results. All sources agree that men are failing in body, mind and spirit. They are discouraged. Yet those very men are the fathers, brothers, husbands, friends, co-workers and sons of women who are penalized along with them.
What impels women to want to destroy the men they were created to be best friends to?
What happened to the woman’s heart? A high percentage of young people today do not even want to have children. Only 43% of young people view having children as a desirable life goal. Millions are aborted and millions more pregnancies are prevented to avoid the inconvenience. Why?
Immorality destroys the heart. It leads it into darkness. That is an initial place to reverse course, a decision to be taken individually. Don’t conceive children without the proven plan in place to nurture and care for them with a father present. That means commitment. Just say, “NO”. In an age of alleged assertiveness among women, it’s amazing how many lack the ability to say that simple word when it’s most needed. For a person with integrity, there should be no breaching that pledge. Once a decision is made, you own it. Period.
Those aspiring to a perpetual single lifestyle, or married and childless, are missing some of the greatest components of human happiness. Love grows with giving, and there is no more giving required than in the care and nurturing of tiny human beings.
Those values were at the heart of traditional marriage, ensuring commitment, steadfastness, trust and security, without which most of our causes of mental, emotional and even physical stresses and illnesses emanate.
Without child-rearing many of life’s greatest joys and lessons, both highs and lows, are never experienced. Without family and children there may be fewer or different complications but equally fewer challenges and rewards. The family was never just about producing new human beings, it was the primary tool for developing the best attributes of human character.
Take The Pledge!
“#NOT ME” is about leaving the allegorical apple on the tree.
It is about being the woman who rejects toxic feminism and is willing to turn over a new leaf in her relationships.
It is about being willing to let go of the reins in the long-term interest of all when that is the best service to be rendered.
It is about exercising feminine leadership in the way only women can, not by trying to be men, but by exercising to their fullest all the gifts and talents given to them, and letting the men be men.
It is not about being suppressed, but about not suppressing others.
Women hold the power to restore hope, confidence and joy in others. It is not a power to be disdained but cherished. It complements the powers given to men. Embrace it.
Copyright 2020 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved.[Sharing only permitted with full credits as to authorship and sources.]
Recommended reading: Books for mutual understanding: Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn “For Men Only” and “For Women Only”. Simple, straightforward books to help men and women understand each others’ thinking.
Much can and has been said about the great sacrifices made in creating the Constitutional Republic we know as the United States of America.
The deepest and wisest principles ever applied to human government were carefully embedded in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We owe our long continuance, prosperity and peace to the founders and those who have defended them and us since 1776. One nation, under God. The legacy has been unparalleled.
All Presidents have faced difficult times — perhaps none more critical than now, when erosion from within has been undermining everything this nation stands on and for, even to its very sovereignty. The infrastructure is being shaken, but it must stand. Without it we fail and fall. Those tearing at the foundations have no idea or possible regard for the consequences and outcomes, and others need to fight back.
For those fighting to save, rebuild and restore, I post this short message today. Quoting from Michiavelli, in “The Prince”, words dated 1513, nothing could better sum up the present circumstances and sadly, the challenges, not to create something new but to save and restore. May our President’s courage be richly rewarded:
“… THERE IS NOTHING MORE DIFFICULT TO PLAN, MORE DOUBTFUL OF SUCCESS, NOR MORE DANGEROUS TO MANAGE THAN THE CREATION OF A NEW SYSTEM. FOR THE INITIATOR HAS THE ENMITY OF ALL WHO WOULD PROFIT BY THE PRESERVATION OF THE OLD INSTITUTION, AND MERELY LUKEWARM DEFENDERS IN THOSE WHO WOULD GAIN BY THE NEW ONE.”
Copyright 2019 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
[This article will be one of many chapters under our title series, “Reversing Eden”. The purpose of this series is to address areas of conflict between men and women that can be improved with understanding of their God-granted differing qualities. We hope the ideas presented in these articles can help smooth the path back to what was originally intended — peace in relationships!]
I begin with a brief story. The story is true. It happened to an elderly widow I know when she was very young. In her late teens or early 20’s, she was working for a woman whose son took an interest in her. No special relationship was formed, at least not in her mind. The young man, however, was thinking something else, though nothing formal ensued, to be either declined or accepted. He enlisted in the military, and told my friend that when he returned he would marry her. My friend heard not one word from him for five years. Meanwhile she married and had two children. One day the first young man, now an accomplished and confident soldier, appeared on the scene, totally shocked she had not waited for him! What was he thinking? What HAD he been thinking for five long years? Or did he lose track of time?
Women often complain that their men don’t seem to mind time the same way they do. They are right. The women may badger, complain, belittle the men and guilt-trip them for forgetting details that are simply not on their minds. They get busy at work, forget to notify they will be late. Maybe it’s safer NOT to notify, because they get chewed out anyway (damned if they do and damned if they don’t). Cut them some slack. Maybe they are too tired to think but won’t say so.
Sidetracking for a moment…
It is difficult for most people living today to remember a time before instant communication. Those who were around even before telephones are for the most part no longer with us — centenarians excepted. Some remember when phones were unreliable, hard to locate and expensive to use. Snail mail was the routine and that worked for centuries. People lived without communication. By boat it took months to get mail anywhere. Wagon trains were not very helpful either, but better than nothing. The pony express was an improvement. Trains and planes came later. Never mind the internet which has destroyed all aspects of patience. We once survived without it.
Since forever, men have always had jobs to do, often very tough jobs. Work is their fulfillment; it is how they fulfill their existence, using their talents and providing for others. Providing and protecting is their mission. They need to be appreciated; they crave respect for what they do. It’s not complicated, or shouldn’t be.
Men often disappeared for years, fighting wars, in maritime work, exploration — even cattle drives not that long ago required months of absence. On the other hand, those men whose entire lives were occupied in small towns and villages were fairly predictable, but again the only communication was face-to-face. What did women do in the interim? They waited.
Today no one wants to wait for anything. Countless stories abound of tired soldiers returning from months of exhausting “duty” only to find their houses, bank accounts and possessions raided and gone. Divorce papers on the table. One sad soldier was able to locate his dog which had been given away. The pet was all he had to start over with. Some go through this more than once before they give up completely. Others give up immediately and re-enlist. Some commit suicide. Often because someone didn’t wait for them.
Women experience time differently than men and in very small increments.
There are excellent reasons for that. Women are the detail life support of the family, and by extension, in much of what they do for society as a whole. Not much of what their jobs entail can wait very long to be accomplished. Babies don’t wait. Neither do school buses or scheduled appointments. There is no “time out” from the clock when caring for children, families, just as in the management of clerical and administrative details on most jobs. Everyone else’s timing often depends on the woman’s efficiency and it’s not a small responsibility.
Men, meanwhile, have other gifts, matching their responsibilities. They can be very tunnel visioned. They can focus hard and long and accomplish amazing feats. They can literally make themselves “stop thinking” about distracting subjects, even if that means people they care about. All that is very useful when working scaffolding on a high-rise building or pulling off some project; it’s no time for unrelated text messaging or phone calls.
Men have a capacity to store things in mental “boxes” until they are done with one and handle each one at a time. Don’t try to talk about one when they are busy with the other; they may not hear you!
The woman never forgets about time. Never. She is trapped in it. Ruled by it.
The woman’s mind is completely different from the man’s. In one sense it reminds me of the old-fashioned turntable recordings, which in this application means that past, present and future are constantly rotating around each other as reference points. That is why “the past” is often brought up when men resent it. It’s not that she chooses NOT to forget; often she can’t. Everything is on constant replay because it connects and relates to other events present or future. It’s very helpful for planning, as well as for training children. It can also do damage when used to revive painful reminders, something a woman would do well to avoid. There are some things that men prefer to forget. Miraculously, they are actually able to do so; that’s the truth; they may not be lying!
Another pertinent analogy is that the woman’s mind operates like a computer screen with dozens of pop-up windows. The “windows” concept is why a woman can be occupied with one task and suddenly remember something that needs to be on the shopping list, or the phone call that has to be made “right now”, etc. It all seems disconnected but it’s not.
If a woman seems obsessed with the details it’s likely because if for once in her life the details are all taken care of, she may just have a moment left over for herself. Which seldom happens. One upset in the details and there goes her plan, unless she’s more resourceful than most.
Now I’m going to take “time”, lift it to a different dimension, and shed light on a historical reference that is easily glossed over without picking up the significance.
Who created time?
God created time, when he established the creation, the seasons, and the first day and night cycles, based on the physical heavens. He himself is not bound by time. We are told, “a day with him is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day…” (II Peter 3:4, Ps. 90:4). Our purpose is not to elaborate on that but to preface the following story. If not familiar to all, it leadsto an important point worth absorbing.
This particular story is about the Biblical patriarch Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel. Jacob, as we know, was a bit of a wheeler-dealer. After getting himself in trouble for securing the birthright away from his brother Esau, he fled to the safe distance of his uncle Laban’s vast estate, fearing for his life.
Laban was also a wheeler-dealer, and Jacob was going to be learning some hard lessons for 21 years.
Jacob fell in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel, and was subsequently tricked into marrying her sister Leah instead. That was in keeping with customs of the time and place, that the eldest daughter was to marry first.
The “bait and switch” marriage must have been an agonizing shock to Jacob, as it is to us now upon reading it. The uncle then stipulated that Jacob must work another seven years to obtain Rachel’s hand in marriage. Tragically, what would likely have been a wonderful marriage between Jacob and Rachel turned into a terribly confused and dysfunctional family with more than one woman bearing Jacob’s children, but that is another subject.
Here’s the catch, and the pertinent passage.
From Genesis 29:18-19: “Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter. And Laban said: “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me, So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.” (New King James)
I have tried to imagine the agony and grief Rachel must have gone through day by day as this mess unfolded. She expected to be married to the love of her life, and found herself usurped by her own sister, by order of their father. For seven years she endures her expected husband living with Leah. Did those seven years seem like “a few days” to Rachel? I choke at the thought. To her, every day must have seemed like a hundred. And they were painful days. Later the strife which ensued as a result of the non-monogamous marriage carried forward to the half-siblings as well. That’s how we end up with the brothers selling Joseph into slavery years later. The situation spawned jealousy, because Jacob always loved Rachel, and Joseph was her son.
Meanwhile, Jacob, with his undying, passionate love for Rachel, focused for seven years on his work because she was his motivation. He did it for her. His God-given masculine qualities are what enabled him to carry through and follow through. Though he must have been traumatized by events, he was able to function, bury the thoughts, and work.
A woman can only puzzle at how seven years would seem like “a few days” to a man. But this story tells us that a man’s conception of time approaches a quality closer to God’s own. Which is why he needs his helper. Because he is only human. He can’t do the big stuff and the little stuff at the same time. Can love bridge this gap? It should!
A man can sideline feelings, ignore time, and not even be aware he is doing it. A woman cannot ignore time, details, and is unable to detach emotions. That is an important understanding.
The stress a woman takes out on her man is often due to some detail interference with her planning. Her mistake is turning it into personal conflict; his in not taking it seriously.
Both need to understand where their viewpoints are coming from!
Using Kindness to Overcome Conflict
In any area of conflict there is usually room for personal growth, especially between people who care about each other and are willing to work on the problem.
Differences in time perception are absolutely real and are at the core of many unnecessary arguments and conflicts.
Since God is not bound to time as the created universe is, it is quite possible he purposely designed the man’s mind with the capacity to “space out” time, so he can do his job and specifically ignore distractions.
When a man forgets details — anniversaries, birthdays, the kid’s football game, the item on the shopping list, etc. — is it the proper response to assume his forgetting was deliberate? Is the proper response to nag, complain, badger and accuse? If he forgets to tell his wife he loves her every day, does that mean he has stopped loving? Or is his ability to focus to the exclusion of interfering information the more natural explanation? Yesterday and today may be the same to him. He told you yesterday, that carries forward for… seven years… and beyond?
Not to the woman!
On her side, the woman needs renewal every day, if possible. If she is craving her man’s attention and getting none, she stresses. His love for her is her motivation, just as doing his job for her is his. She needs reassurance. That is not complicated, or shouldn’t be, if she’s mature and not clinging out of co-dependence (that’s another problem).
Assuming people are literate and can talk, this should be easy to resolve. Women have the upper hand in initiating communication in this area, simply because they are the ones on top of the details, and men are the ones who don’t notice.
Men can improve in paying attention, and making time to listen.
Women need to be reasonable, time their demands, and be patient.
If a man tells his wife on Monday that he loves her, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to hear it again on Tuesday and other days of the week. She has not forgotten what was said before, but the turntable in her mind needs a new track engraved every day. Remember her life is running on a different clock.
Barring evidence to the contrary, women, give your men the benefit of the doubt. Cut them some slack. Stop blaming. Stop expecting. Let them focus on their work. Clear the decks of details for them and let them be free of those. If they are going to be late for dinner, have a “Plan B”, skip the fit, and be kind to them. A reasonable man won’t mind the cold food; it’s better than your tongue-lashing. Putting the meal ahead of their job is not going to put them in a good mood in any case.
On the flip side, men need to be aware their focus is often perceived as neglect in other directions. They should resist letting themselves feel diminished if they are wrongly criticized and say so. It is not warranted. To compensate for the problem, make time with the spouse to talk. Try to fix a time when you both can do so calmly. Knowing the opportunity is coming can be especially helpful to the woman.
If a man is doing his job, be thankful. Be thankful he has a job. Joblessness can be a man’s greatest misery, and he will make it yours as well. He also needs gratitude from those he loves.
In the process of meeting this subject of time, somewhere in the middle, there is so much room for love and kindness to grow. Make the most of the potential for conflict to grow in kindness towards one another. Plus, if there are children watching, they will learn from what they observe, and love you both all the more for the security they glean from your peace.
Copyright 2019 Nancy Diraison/DiraisonPublishing. All Rights Reserved. [All Photos Dreamstime stock photos.]
[Suggested Reading: “For Men Only” and “For Women Only”; terrific books by Shaunti and Jeff Feldham].
Teaching children to say, “No”, and when to do so!
I’ve always been fascinated with the decision-making process. Making decisions seems to be one of the greatest difficulties in life. Some people, for fear of making mistakes, avoid making decisions as often as possible. Others charge right in and wonder, “What happened?” afterwards.
When it comes to teaching children, it is easier to teach them when to obey than when not to. Each challenge will be different, probably unanticipated, and most likely we will not be there to advise them. Can they say, “no” when they should? Can they resist peer pressure or any pressure that goes against their parental guidance or consciences?
A terrific management principle I embraced years ago is this one: “The hallmark of a good management decision is how quickly it can be reversed if it turns out to be wrong.” Let’s see how that can be applied to child rearing.
There is a lot to that statement. It spells out the truth that even the best management decisions, made by skilled professionals, CAN turn out to be wrong! Decisions are made from information that could be faulty. Also circumstances and people involved can change. If the equation changes, then there needs to be another plan.
Let’s face it, human beings are not perfect. Even in the best of circumstances. Children most certainly need to be helped to understand how to think through decisions.
Moving forward with a decision takes courage, and so does backtracking one. Both can be correct, and both can be bold, but the second takes some humility. Changing a decision is not the same thing as breaching contract, by the way. That is a separate subject. Marriage is one example where the decision must be made carefully, and the bedrock of lifelong commitment adhered to faithfully. Sadly society has almost completely undermined that, destroying one of life’s strongest teaching models of fidelity and steadfastness. It’s a primary reason faithfulness and trust have vanished, because those were qualities best learned in functional families.
There can be many twists and turns to decision-making.
I pondered how to make decisions over a specific repeating situation when I was in my teens. My family lived in a west coast area separated from beaches by high hills and twisty roads. On those rare occasions when my very busy father decided to call it “family time” and insisted we all go to the beach with him, I faced a problem. The combination of his hasty driving and the hair-pin turns on the mountain roads made me horribly carsick. That made the beach trip a terrible experience, lasting until long after we got back home hours later. What was the point of going?
I thought about deciding to stay home, and at first did not want to face the static from my dad. Eventually I realized I had to do something different. I had to make a decision. The first time I stayed home I was miserable the whole time. I was bored and felt like I’d missed out on something. Even the dog had gone and I was alone! So I thought it through again and realized I needed to OWN my decision. In other words, decide to stay home but have a plan to occupy myself in ways that satisfied me and made good use of my time. I only had to execute that once to realize it was the answer. Make a decision and decide to be happy with it. OWN IT. My responsibility.
How Children Learn
Children can be helped to make wise decisions every day. It’s one of the best ways for them to learn responsibility, provided they also understand they “own” the results. If they make a mess, they clean it up. Not somebody else. They can make decisions about their attitudes, how they spend their time, how they choose what to eat and many other details. If they ask, “Why?”, that’s OK. Nothing wrong with wanting to know.
Teaching children to make their beds every morning sets a tremendous precedent for them. The military has long had that practice, and not without good reason. At the end of the day, if everything else has gone wrong, the well-made bed is something that started out right. Believe it or not, it is confidence-building. It is one thing even a child can have control over. Every small discipline helps. Mine started by age three and never missed a day afterwards. Expect more and they will do more. They will feel proud of small accomplishments, and having small accomplishments helps diminish the impact of other things that disappoint.
What about disobedience?
Can disobedient decisions be right? Under what circumstances? And how should a parent handle those?
Disobedience could be rebellion. It could also be the result of overwhelming curiosity. Or it could be heroism, planned or not. A parent needs to evaluate, so as to not discourage the higher motives. Obedience should be the norm, and disobedience the exception. Rebellion is another problem to be handled very differently.
A situation that happened to me when I was 8 years old illustrates an important point.
My mother had been waiting for baby brother to fall asleep for his nap so she could take a walk to the neighborhood market. We did not have a second car, as was common and not needed in those days. In the quiet neighborhood where we resided, there was no danger in leaving the house for 15-20 minutes, not in “once-upon-a-time America”. The store was only 2 blocks away.
On that day, rather than having me stay with the sleeping child, my mother needed me to help with the groceries. The trouble was baby brother refused to go to sleep. Through the closed door to my parents’ room where the crib was, we could still hear him blowing bubbles and making noises, indicating wakefulness. So we waited. And we waited.
Finally! My mother determined the baby was asleep, so she motioned me to be quiet and follow her. We wouldn’t be gone long. We had done this many times before.
But. Something was bothering me. I felt an urgency to take one more peek at the baby. I just HAD TO! Maybe it was an angel prompting me. Either way I disobeyed. My mother’s face changed from smiling to something vastly less friendly as despite her instructions I proceeded to just barely open her bedroom door an inch, then more than an inch… and then suddenly I flew across the room just in time to prevent a horrible accident.
Mother had forgotten to raise the bars on the crib! Baby had gotten quiet only to focus on figuring out how to hoist himself over the railing, from which point he had gotten far enough to be hanging upside down by his hips, head facing down towards the hard tile floor. Another second and he would have been down hard, headfirst, and forced to lie there until our return. We dreaded to imagine the consequences had I not disobeyed and caught him in time.
History is replete with stories of heroes who disobeyed orders. Many of them were military heroes [see reading suggestions at the end of this article]. The reason they are heroes is because they saved lives — not risking them but saving them, and usually risking their own. There is an appropriate time for disobedience. I had learned that early.
We do not want children to be robots. We do not want them to be afraid to make decisions. We also cannot expect them to run ahead of their learning years and make decisions too far outside their reach. Children need to be children. But they need to be taught. By those who love them the most. Whatever happens, they own it, and we own it with them. This also diffuses the “blame game” that is so prevalent today.
There first needs to be a platform established of good, solid values that children understand clearly and to which they must adhere — values like not stealing or lying, and following the Golden Rule. They also need to know and respect who their highest authorities are, so if someone else’s orders conflict, they can decide if it’s right to obey, contest, or report a problem. They will learn that many decisions take courage.
The best way to diffuse a bad decision is to confess and apologize. Children should not fear doing that. Confessing and apologizing are analogous to the management principle stated earlier, that of reversing course. Stealing and lying may take the wrong kind of courage, but confessing and apologizing take the right kind. Doing so may just prevent repetition of whatever mistake was made and maybe bring about a way to fix the wrong that was done. Admitting wrong and apologizing are good habits to build as they put down pride and replace it with humility.
The World is a Dangerous Place
Today more than ever, children are faced with choices never heard of before. It’s gone way beyond, “Say ‘no’ to drugs”. Can they say “no” to many other challenges? Can they stand up to intimidation, think through consequences in both directions? There are no locks in place against most temptations, since many are available from anywhere and everywhere, “no thanks” to technology.
Can our children resist peer pressure? That’s a big challenge, more for some than others, but the answer is, yes, they can!!!
Most importantly can they come to us for help if they make a mistake, without fear? They need to understand early that undoing a bad decision is part of the decision-making process to begin with. Failure only comes from doing nothing.
Also pray for them. Parents cannot be everywhere, but we know who can be. As when the time I saved my baby brother. By disobeying. At the right time.
More then ever, parents need to be spending time with their kids. However “hovering”, the helicopter parent idea, is the wrong way to do it. It has its place, in moderation, in some circumstances, but the most important thing we can do is teach children how to think and make decisions, when to say “no”, give them the chance to practice, and let them “own” their responsibility.
Copyright 2018 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
[All Photos Dreamstime Stock Photos.]
Additional Reading: One of my favorite stories about military disobedience that saved lives!
Most people, when shown an acorn, see an acorn. President Harry Truman was fond of a lesson from that fact. He knew that when shown an acorn, very, very few people can see the tree — the massive tree that grows from that one humble seed.
It has to do with vision. Not just physical vision, but far-sighted mental vision, the kind that connects the dots between events and consequences, the kind needed for effective leadership. To visualize the tree from the seed first requires relevant experience and education. A child who never takes a walk in the woods or is never shown a seed will be missing a strong object lesson. But the connection between the two needs to be grasped, just like the elementary principles of simple math, for logical reasoning to develop.
To lead with vision requires humility to listen for more information, wisdom to make the right decisions, and the courage to carry them out, because the right decisions are always opposed by someone. Always. Usually the opposition comes from those lacking the ability to grasp the negative consequences of ideas that may otherwise “sound good”.
There are consequences for all actions, just like for planting acorns. Parents have an enormous responsibility in teaching that process, and it begins with small actions.
Teach them about the tree!
When a child is taught not to run into a street or never to stick little fingers into electrical outlets, he or she has no idea of the dangers involved. Not at first. The child does not know about the “tree”. If he’s stubborn, rebellious, or just plain not listening, he may learn a lesson the hard way.
The first exposure to cause and effect is planted by parents. Since children have short attention spans, correction needs to be timely to be memorable. Delayed corrections may have no effect at all. Any ounce of prevention can be invaluable. Someone needs to be present when the lesson is needed.
The human brain does not begin to seriously question it’s “ideas” (whether to carry them out or not) until age 25, when maturity sets in, or should.
It is no wonder that without vision, young people are particularly at risk for making mistakes.
Some people are born with the ability to see the tree and others are not. That’s OK. It’s not a negative, just a difference, something to be understood and accepted. Those who lack vision have other gifts, but should learn to defer to the visionaries for guidance, especially in times of crisis when rapid decisions need to be made. The first visionaries in a child’s life are his or her parents, where leadership is first taught by example. Respect should be a natural outgrowth of that process, as good results are witnessed.
Those with limited long-term vision capabilities are not good candidates for all levels of leadership. What matters is that they work at a level where they can excel. Leading a sports team or running a shop is not the same as leading a nation. Different levels of experience and education are needed where risks are increased. The more visionary a leader is, the more courage they need to act when opposition arises. Bad decisions can be made by anyone, for various reasons, but for lack of vision the worst ones often result.
A Real-Life “Acorn” Example
Sad case in point. Recently horrific fires devoured parts of California. The losses and heartbreaks are beyond measure. Many acknowledge that poor long-term decisions have contributed to, if not directly caused, the jeopardy created by unmanaged forests. There were also long-term decisions made with regards to water management which greatly limited fire-fighting capabilities. Waters which could have been stored were allowed to dump into the Bay and the ocean to protect a tiny breed of fish.
I lived in California during most of my junior and high school years, and have an “acorn” story to tell which illustrates the point.
The community where my family resided was in Marin County. We were surrounded by hills, lush with green grasses in the spring which turned California gold in summer. The primary trees were oaks, some of them hundreds of years old, dotting the hills here and there and forming pleasant groves along the ravines and crests of the hills. For decades that valley had also been grazing land for cattle. The cows came and went, with plenty of grass to consume, causing no problems whatsoever. Their grazing kept the grass short and tidy, allowing it to stay green longer even without rain, as the fog and morning dews sufficed to keep it growing. Plus they fertilized as they traveled. Grazing herds improve soil quality overall, allowing it to retain more water.
As turnover occurred with the residents of that valley, eventually some people decided the cows were “not natural”, possibly interfering with forage for wildlife, and maybe transplanted urbanites also considered the livestock an eyesore. Perhaps some were afraid to hike up there for fear of cows. Who knows? A petition to ban the presence of cattle on the visible side of the hills was filed and won. Most residents never knew about it. It’s possible none would have bothered to oppose.
So the next Spring the grass grew. And it grew and grew until it was very tall and no one dared hike up there because of the unpleasantness. The higher the grass, the higher the jumping off point for ticks and other vermin. It wasn’t good for hikers, and dogs would come back infested. The view was marred, and instead of a parklike setting the area was a mess.
When a fire spontaneously ignited, late that summer, there was nothing to deter the flames. Thankfully weather allowed it to be contained before it spread over more parts of the County. For at least two days no one got any sleep, all on the verge of evacuation. Some houses burned.
Could this have been prevented? Obviously so.
During the same years, deer-hunting was also banned. Another short-sighted decision. Poor little deer. Over-protected Bambi grew in numbers until the herds became severely diseased. Their natural predators had also been banned. Eventually the authorities had to organize volunteer hunters to shoot as many as they could to keep the deer from starving and dying from their sad conditions. It was a man-made disaster, cloaked as misguided kindness. Another bad “acorn” decision.
To any far-sighted acorn-to-oak-tree thinking person, the initial petitions to bar grazing cattle as well as the managed hunting of deer bore predictable consequences. One is left to ponder if any rationale was offered to those seeking those petitions, to educate and inform why they might not be a good idea? They only saw as far as they could see, which wasn’t far enough, much of it guided by feelings instead of wisdom.
Can We See the Tree?
Ultimately, President Truman was the leader to whom it fell to make the decision to end World War II. He saved an estimated 3 million lives by deciding to end the war at the sacrifice of a comparably much smaller number. He had to see the tree beyond the acorn in deciding to drop the first nuclear bombs. Without his action millions would have perished in an unfinished war. Most of the lives saved were Japanese. Due to their high sense of honor it was known the Japanese would have fought and died to the last man, and that was part of the equation involved in the decision. Allied casualties would have been in the hundreds of thousands (possibly up to 750,000).
Harry Truman was a humble man who never sought the Presidency but had distinguished himself for his integrity and willingness to tackle corruption at other levels of government.
It is said that the best way to study history is through the eyes and experiences of those who lived it.And that is asolutely true.Without an understanding of history it’s not possible to develop vision for the future. Biographies are invaluable and a great replacement for the drier studies of history that grant no insights into why and how decisions were made.
By age twelve young Truman’s wisdom was sought out by his relatives due to his deep studies and understanding of scripture. There is much about “vision” contained in those words, some about good decisions, and a lot about the bad ones. There’s also much to study about courage and integrity. Applying all of those, as Truman went from rustic farming to fighting corruption in labor unions, he wound up as Senator from Missouri. He had no desire to move beyond that post, but fate had other plans.
To lead at any level requires far-sighted vision, selflessness and courage. Those with their eyes only on acorns, without focus on the long-term results of their actions, may be temporarily satisfied with short-term results, but in the end, there will be no lasting tree.
We can certainly help children study the simple lessons from acorns. Every small experience in their lives counts. Hopefully they can learn to plant good trees throughout their lives. All can turn out to be leaders no matter what they do in life. First they need to learn to lead themselves.
Copyright 2018 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved. [All Photos Dreamstime Stock Photos.]
[Recommended reading: “Harry S. Truman” by Margaret Truman; William Morrow & Company, Inc. New York, 1973]
If that isn’t potentially the most insulting question anyone can ask a woman who works 24-7 in a household I don’t know what is.
“Do you work?”
When do you not work?
I recall when my family lived in a suburb outside Chicago, circa 1960, and every woman “worked”. Every woman worked all shifts, day and night, tending to her family and household.
There was one aberration in the neighborhood — a curiosity, in fact. Just across from our house, another suburban home had two cars, not just one. Most needed only one.
Every morning the Mrs. exited her home dressed in high heels and office attire. She was gone all day and came home in the evening, just like her husband. Besides that they mostly kept to themselves. Children brought about interaction between neighbors, but that couple, though friendly, no one knew much about.
They were the only childless family on the block. I was especially aware because I was the chief babysitter for everyone else. In those days, you didn’t need CPR certifications and business licenses to babysit or run lemonade stands. It was pretty cool. A kid could learn many things by providing a neighborhood service and have a full piggy bank, too.
Of course we knew the lady in the high heels worked. We never questioned if the other women worked.
So what happened?
When did “work” become equated only to a standard paycheck? And when did it become demeaning not to have one? [This is despite the fact that studies showed a woman in the 1980’s doing all the usual tasks of running a household was worth $50,000 in equivalent outside services.]
For years before I had my own family, I was a manager in many businesses, launched newsletters, worked in many consulting fields and finally co-founded my own company all while running several other projects on the side.
Of course I worked. But not in the same manner of sacrifice as a full-time homemaker. I actually had moments to myself, time off, and predictable rewards. If I wanted to load myself up, all I had to do was ask to take someone else’s kids off their hands for an afternoon or longer and take them someplace. That usually eviscerated the rest of my stamina. It creates a drain that is hard to describe.
It is true that working for a regular job is instantly more gratifying. There are paychecks, bonuses, vacations to look forward to, and even appreciation from co-workers and superiors (maybe). You don’t get thrown up on. Not usually (not true in the health care field). Women who have worked office or other jobs and then transition to being stay-at-home wives and mothers often miss those benefits, unless they have a particularly appreciative family.
There is very little, if any, satisfaction of “completion” with any work done in the home. It’s always repeat, repeat, repeat, and human beings, especially little ones, being what they are, crisis follows crisis, problem follows problem, until notoriously enough, there’s hardly time to go to the bathroom.
So I think it’s time to level the playing field. There is no such thing as a super-woman if only because no one has more than twenty-fours in a day, and part of that has to be sleep. I know because if anyone could have done it all, I would have. I knew better. I’d already done everything, just not all at once. When I had children later in life, I focused on what I knew was going to be my biggest job ever. And it was. And still is. It cost me, but I gained something else.
I have a marvelous sense of completion. Hurray! I DIDN’T MISS ANYTHING! Any of my other jobs could have been done by someone else, but nobody — NO ONE — could be the one and only true “mom” to my children. I didn’t miss any of my children’s silly moments, didn’t miss their first steps or their first words. I searched out their talents and nurtured those, then home schooled through their elementary years. I missed no opportunity to teach and correct while we played. Kids who end up raising each other without an on-duty parent have no such advantage. There were tough moments, many of them. But when it came time for graduation, and for leaving home, I was ready. Totally ready. I had finished, done my job. No regrets. No empty nest syndrome either. Just an immense feeling of achievement and an eagerness to resume my prior interests having grown myself from the sacrifices I’d made.
So, did I work? What a silly question.
Please don’t ask women who stay home if they “work”. Those who manage or try to do both, kudos if it works for a while, but no one can be two places at once. Eventually the burnout comes, when time has passed, and there is no way to recapture the lost moments.
Copyright 2017 Nancy Diraison/Diraison Publishing. All Rights Reserved. [Photo public domain.]