At the age of 55 I found myself a 1st time father; the joyful dad of a beautiful baby boy. My insightful wife pointed out that while my home office had four walls of books on business and personal growth, however, there was absolutely nada on raising kids. As I began reading, it struck me how many lessons were universal. How many unsettled issues can remain in adulthood? Hidden, lingering symptoms of childhood waiting to be resolved.
“Too many boys fall into the trap of embracing the image of stoic masculinity they see in the mainstream media— a template that has been adopted as the inflexible code of their peer group. Driven by psychological self-protection; they feel that they must be respected. Working hard to maintain a masculine persona to achieve that end.
So much of their energy is devoted to sustaining this defensive perimeter, seeing threats where they don’t exist;
Staging preemptive strikes against any feared incursions into their fortress of solitude. And whose preferred mode of dealing with emotional pain is drowning it in a six-pack of beer.
– Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, Michael Thompson, Dan Kindlon
There are many, many ways to adopt dysfunctional behavior templates, unthinkingly ingesting role models from TV, the movies and junk fiction, copying coping strategies designed for laughs and prolonging drama, not for forming deep, meaningful human relationships.
It takes wisdom and maturity to realize that strength and vulnerability not only can go together, they DO go together. Only the weak need to cower behind defensive walls; life is to be lived and that means sharing yourself and being fully present.
“My sense of self is anchored deep within, from that flows wonderful peace.” – Affirmation by Nathan S. Collier, 1952-
“As bodies unclothed must be, so souls uncloaked must be to taste whole joys.” – John Donne, 1572-1631 (liberally paraphrased)