This blog is intended primarily for my fellow males. It was prompted by two events this past week. First is that I was at a restaurant with my son waiting for our to-go order. We were at the bar area and Hunter and I were being goofy as we normally are. He was sitting on my lap on the bar stool. I was hugging him and just playing with his hands. A man came to us and asked us our names, which at first was odd. He said, ”It is so good to see you loving on your son the way you are. I wish all fathers would do that.” Hunter did not understand the depth of his comment and I was quite touched as what we were doing was not intentional, and in fact, we just got lost being silly and were paying no attention to who was watching us. The next evening, watching Bill Maher’s epilogue on his show, he gave a fascinating perspective on the state of masculinity in his epilogue. Basically suggesting that because man’s primal and instinctive roles of hunting and fighting (defending women and children against other foes) have essentially eroded with time especially the last 100 yrs, we have substituted them with violent hobbies and behavior like owning guns, paranoia, obsession with violent or destructive sports like football, fighting unnecessary wars, to name a few. Concurrently, Maher continues, we are avoiding what our role requires of us now; intimacy with people, collaboration with others, finding intelligent and peaceful solutions to conflict. We have even created violent metaphors at work like “kill the competition,” “fight for your rights” and “beat the other team.” Compound this with a culture that suppresses emotional expression amongst boys, and a workplace that implicitly discourages emotions, and we have a generation of boys and men who are emotionally illiterate. More importantly, they are lacking skills for intimate relationships and workplace collaboration and conflict resolution.
This week, for all my male readers, take inventory of five people at work you need to work with very closely for your success in 2013. Give each one a rating from 1-10 with 10 being a very high level of intimacy and one being a non-existent one. Do the same for people outside of work but equally important to your emotional health. Be honest. Think about what you can do to increase this rating with each one. You may find it a pleasant surprise that if you do increase it with these folks, then your own health and success will increase too.