Posted in Education, Relationships

Got Man Points?

A man and a woman
Image via Wikipedia

This message brought to you as a result of my daughter asking, “Is there such a thing as “Woman Points?”

     One really can’t answer that question without first asking “What is the thing about “Man Points?” As much pitting against the genders as there is coming from both sides, I wouldn’t be surprised whatever the answer was of who started this ridiculousness in the first place.

But it does beg the following questions:

Who came up with the rules?
What are man points (or woman points?)
How do you gain or lose points?
Are there differences based on culture/geography?
Are there certain times where the rules and conditions are suspended/ignored?
Who’s keeping count anyway–is there an invisible point balance following men around?
How do you assess who has how many?

      Anyway, I took a stab at what I could intuit would be cause for gain or loss of man points.  This intuition/recollection of course being the result of a couple of decades mixing with other adult males and listening/observing comments and criticisms made by men about other men:

Gain Points                                                    Lose Points

Hunt or own a gun                              Cook better than a woman
Follow or play sports                           Like or do any crafts 
Fix your own automobile                     Still live with your mother
Go to bars & check out women           Comment on a woman’s clothes
Drive a truck                                        Focus on clothes color matching
Scratch yourself or spit publicly           Clip coupons/go “sale” shopping
Open doors for women                        Clean up after yourself
If you don’t fuss over your looks        Spend >5 minutes on appearance
Responsible but socially clueless        Squeamish or too picky

     I did some Google searching and found out there’s even an iPhone “app for that!” http://themanpoints.com/index.php The sad thing is it that it is a “tracking application” for keeping count of how many good deeds you’ve done for your significant other–pretty pathetic if you ask me.  It even will produce a report for you on your “ManPoints Statement” so your good deeds don’t go unrecognized.  What!!!!  Not only are you not man enough to do “WHATEVER” is your responsibility to share around the house or parenting, it sounds like you need to schedule yourself for a chest implant to pin your points on!!??!!

Here’s another stab someone took at defining what a real man is:  http://www.askmen.com/money/mafioso_60/98_mafia.html in an article titled, “Top 10:  Traits of a Real Man.”

     My thought is that we lose opportunities to learn and grow as individuals when we prejudge others based upon differences in how our gender is expressed through appearance, verbal patterns, culture or gestures.  Sometimes it is difficult to become accustomed to extremes or unique expressions, but underneath it all…we all share the same basic human needs/desires!  If you make the personal/physical investment in time to commit your life to another human being (especially if kids come into play) then you owe it to each other to share all responsibilities equally to the greatest extent possible. 

     Twenty years ago, there was a difference between women’s work and men’s work due to societal ignorance and stereotypes but with the advent of the industrial revolution, and companies like Craftsman and Black & Decker (and others), there’s nothing stopping either gender from accomplishing great things indepently of each other or as a team.  Also, any male with a mind and a heart in the right place can learn to nurture and care for children and hearth with as much devotion and commitment as any woman.

Ladies please, give us some honest feedback concerning this topic!

Posted in Relationships

A Gender Betrayed

Women may agree with an assessment I’ve come to conclude–men just aren’t ready for marriage or committed relationships until they’re at least 30 years old or so.

The seed of these thoughts emerged while I was showering this afternoon after my treadmill workout.  And please forgive me, there may be exceptions to what I speak, however, I’ve yet to meet one:  A man, who is a true asset, a compliment to his wife, mature enough to journey in lock-step with his bride–without causing grief, sadness or disappointment – regularly.  Maybe its circumstance, maybe a combination of a lack of instruction, poor communication skills, or that we’re really as fragile as the fairer sex are accused of being?

When I reflect on my own relationship with my wife, I can honestly say that I wasn’t fully prepared for the reality of dealing with young children.  I knew that I wanted a family, and was in love with the idea of being a dad, but man is there a lot of work, repetition, and challenge with caring for our young.  NOTHING in life, except experience prepares you for the reality of being one hundred percent responsible for the care and health of another human being!

labrador puppy at age 2 months
Image via Wikipedia

During the child-rearing years of family, both husband and wife, dad and mom need to be a team–on the same page!  Too often because of the tolerated and accepted stereotypes of testosterone carriers, we’re let off the hook, excused from particular parenting chores and responsibilities because we’re ‘not used to it’ or ‘not as good as it.’  The new world of parenting and navigating the emotional landmines of decisions often lands squarely on the woman.  Late nights with sick children, taxi service and household management when the husband is away on business trips; more on her plate.  The laundry service, the menu planning, cooking, baking, doctors appointments, clothes shopping, parent/teacher conferences, enrollment in clubs and athletic teams…it never ends.  Parenting is the boot camp of independence for many women who learn in the school of unfair and hard knocks that they can stand on their own two feet and don’ t need a man to be a success.  Frustration is the bitter wine shared between the lonely stay at home mom and the dad who all too often puts self before the family.

In many respects, we’re like a young Labrador pup!  You know how they are?  Running through the house, playful, cute….and destructive!  Lordy, the trash isn’t even safe in a home with one of these best friends!  One morning, you’ll awaken to find your favorite slippers torn and soggy; or groggily walk down the stairs to get your morning coffee and step into a pile of puke on the last stair step.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun, look adorable in pictures, even more serene and attractive when asleep.  The commitment level associated with the care of a young pup is a long-term endeavor.  Notice any parallels ladies?

While finishing up my shower with these thoughts racing through my head I felt great compassion for my wife and this same story that is being played out on life’s stage throughout the world every day.  It DOESN’T have to be this way, but it won’t change until our theories and instruction for future generations are shown that gender is not an excuse for poor communication skills, respecting boundaries, being consistent or holding true to our commitments.  I really think the whole marriage vows practice should be re-examined and revised, that interpersonal relationship skills should be a course taught in school and required for any couple who find out they’re expecting!

I have four older sisters, have been married for almost 19 years, and have two daughters and one son–been surrounded by estrogen my whole life–and think I have the inside scoop!   I believe that civil society would be better off worldwide if both genders were on equal footing.  Guys, we have so much to learn and much work to do within ourselves.  It’s not all about toys, fun, fame, power or control!  There’s a deeper purpose and meaning to our existence, its time we explore together and help each other be better men.  Our wives and women worldwide deserve it.

Posted in Relationships

From Passion to Parent – We Men Can do Better

Gentlemen,

I’m writing because there’s something that must be said.  I speak from personal experience, both as an observer from childhood and as a husband/father.  We can do better!  Just ask your mother or your wife!  On the average, regardless of origin, age or class, women bear the brunt in the familial relationship.

I know there are exceptions and some men are great examples of how to be a true teammate in the marriage relationship.  Most women however could, can or have thought the following:

How is it that even though we both work, I still end up doing most of the:

Grocery shopping/menu planning
Cooking/cleaning
Arranging for babysitters
Picking up the kids from school when one gets sick in middle of the day
Staying up with sick kids in the night
Handling the more emotionally sensitive discussions

Now I realize that some of you may bristle at reading this post.  If the truth fits though, perhaps there’s some chance/hope of change.  Most fathers begin their parental journey lacking necessary skills to embrace the responsibility in a fashion that allows women to feel they are “on the same page!”  Many of us are too absorbed in the feelings of loss created by displacement in what seems relationship priority.  You may feel as though this bundle of joy has ousted you in #1 position with your bride because you’re not able to spend the kind of time you used to spend with her.  You may also feel like no matter what you do, it doesn’t seem to be good enough.

This relationship evolution (from the passionate/blissfully spontaneous intimacy of just the two of you, to a now exhausted, frazzled, lets  just stay at home)  will never remain static.  Get used to constant change and many surprises.  If you find yourself in a rough patch, relax–its normal and it won’t always be like this.  The parenting years are some of the most stressful and create a great deal of introspection and comparison between how you remember being parented (what was and wasn’t okay) and how you want to parent.

The real key to harmony once you split yourselves up by creating more mini-miis is to mentally condition yourself to always approach every situation with a questioning mental posture.  If you attack the situation with suggestions and assumptions, you might as well take off your size 10 shoe and begin inserting into mouth!  Seriously, plan your time–print out a blank calendar each month and put the important things to accomplish on it and post it on the fridge.  If you don’t know what she’s planned, your spontaneous after work drinks with the guys just might have hijacked her schedule to have her one and only ladies night out event.  Guys, let me tell you, there’s no greater stress that having to juggle everything on that list above , maintain a house and full-time job!  Take inventory and see where you can help out.

Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, homework help…as much as you can anticipate and take care of  is greatly appreciated.  Where you begin to sense distance and coldness in your relationship is when she feels abandoned and saddled with the responsibility for everything.  She’ll be gritting her teeth, cleaning puke off the floor from one of your sick kids remembering “for better or for worse!” while you’re snoring away.  Its times like those that begin to create the irritable exchanges, the brief looks that once were longing, and the quick peck on the cheek instead of the passionate embrace.  Don’t let the little things in life, forgetfulness, procrastination, and obliviousness our gender is notorious for ruin the adventure of sharing your life with another.

Women, can I hear an amen?

Posted in Uncategorized

Because of You…

Reflecting on the meaning of the life of my Grandmother
I realize that every person in our lives provides meaning
Adds value and context to our existence
Helps define your place in the world

Mentally walk with me a moment
Strawberries, Bananas, Christmas Trees, Fresh Cut Grass
If you pop a pistachio nut or a peppermint into your mouth…
You name the sensory stimulus (a song, a flavor, a smell)
These scents and flavors immediately transport you
To a specific place and time

People, I realize do the same for me
When someone comes to visit you that you haven’t seen in a while
Or that certain someone stops by the office or calls out of the blue
That expression, their eyes, voice, smile, their walk or laugh
Fill out and remind, reassure, and reaffirm the meaning of
your relationship with them and their purpose or value to you

Some people’s voices are like a hug, a rush of excitement
Or bring to you that warm comforting familiarity
Remind you that there are more ways to live life
Bring a sense of reassurance that everything’s going to be just fine
So to each of you who have played a part, entered stage right into my life
Thanks, to all of you, for adding context, providing meaning
For being…..you!