Men and love


I just finished reading a book by Wilma Mankiller titled everyday is a good day. For those of you who don’t know, Wilma was a chief of our people, specifically the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma. One of the best chiefs we’ve had in recent times, and some say the best.

In this book Wilma brought together women from many different tribes to discuss various issues and ideas. The aspect of this book I liked the most is they discussed. They state their point of views, but very few things they say must be done. Of those things they speak of their people, and the environment.

I would suggest this book to anyone, man or woman, it has great insight. I would also like to reiterate that the things said are the views of these women, and will not be how every first nations woman thinks or sees things.

One of the discussions in this book was about love and got me to thinking. It showed me new things, but also clarified and helped me understand things I had felt when I was younger.

It also partially inspired me to start this blog, to put my thoughts out there as a man raised in the American society. Another inspiration was a blog titled generation y by Yaoni Sanchez. A Cuban woman who goes through hardships daily to give herself a voice. Other inspirations were a brother of my heart, and sisters of my heart, that have helped me see the value of having a voice, and having a voice heard.

Growing up, I saw many men speak about gentleness as weakness. Using descriptions that implied any man who was gentle in any way was more woman than man, and not deserving of being called a man.

I didn’t understand this. As a boy my father was abusive, uncaring, and distant. What I wanted and needed from him was love. Grandfathers were much better at giving love than middle aged or younger men were. But that was also dependent on the grandfather. It also seemed easier for them to give love to a girl than a boy.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, my sister had three children, two boys and a girl. I was told by many women, including my mother and sister, that it’s very important to love all the children the same. Boys are different from girls, but the love you have for them shouldn’t change or lessen for either. In trying to do just that, and in an attempt to not treat these boys like my father treated me, I gave them the same love I gave to my niece. I love each of them for their own personal traits, try and help them be good boys growing into good men. In just showing them the love I have for them, they still know I love them. They have not become girls or feminine in any way. But they can be caring and loving.

I think we men in America have learned a poor example as far as love goes. We do not have to be soft as far as being a pushover, or allowing yourself to be used. But you can show a gentleness as far as an understanding that a boy is not a man, and they are an innocent and deserve a protection because of that. As they grow they will encounter hardships as a part of life. But they should not have hardships thrown at them to “toughen them up”. Teaching them to recognize the protectiveness inherent in them and allowing them to discover where it applies through watching us, and their own actions, can develop a great strength that works off of that love for their family and others they wish to protect.

Love from a man can be applied differently than a woman applies it. But a woman is different than a man, and that in itself is a whole other blog. But it does not mean a man cannot love or should not love in great amounts.

In the way we treat a woman, a love can be applied without them being the woman that put us in their heart for the rest of their life as a wife. We can love a woman for being a woman and the way she acts with us and others because of it. I think we also need to understand that this love for an aspect of a woman does not mean they are “the one” for us. We can love our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, and we do not desire to take them as a wife. The same can be done with a friend and we can love them like a sister.

But in giving that love, we will learn from them their differences and see that they fit to us in a way that balances us out. We see that women in their way see the world differently than we do, and can teach us many things that we cannot see, and don’t normally occur to us.

I think it’s also imperative that we protect that difference of women. Losing it, we lose a better part of ourselves. Not to mention a way of caring for children that we men cannot produce. Also a giving nature that is essential to society.

Beyond and a part of all this, it is much more difficult sometimes to love in the midst of struggles. We men tend to get a hardness when faced with a struggle, and although it is an important tool, it can also be a deficiency in certain situations. Sometimes war, sometimes peace, without the ability to love fully, we cannot find the peace in ourselves, or find the piece with others.

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8 thoughts on “Men and love

  1. meoquane and jess

    Wilma was the good woman and did much for her people, and we know
    many the men do not know how to show the love to think they are
    made to be weak. But they are made to be stronger for this and the woman
    and the little ones to and makes for the living and not just to survive..

    • m & j: thank you for your words. Yes, much stronger for the love shared, like the rope with many threads, the more threads, the stronger the rope. I think many have forgotten this difference between the living and the surviving. Surviving can be simply not dying, but living can be having all the needs and being truly happy every day.

  2. An excellent first blog that hopefully will lead to self examination by those who

    stop by and read.

    The core value of loving a woman, children, or anyone for that matter should

    be respect-without that it cannot exist. Men and women both have unique

    strengths and weaknesses-I believe that to be by design-two streams that in

    flowing together produce a strength greater than otherwise possible, an

    act of nurturing that lends itself to growth and an understanding that it is

    about something more than me.

    In the cultural breakdown that is consuming the nations our women have

    suffered disproportionately-too often the victims of physical and sexual abuse.

    In such a circumstance it can only follow that the little ones will likewise suffer.

    We can not forget that as men our greatest responsibility is the welfare of

    our women and children-that is the true warriors way-not youtube videos or

    attempting to shift any part of the blame that is ours elsewhere.

    Many say we must move forward-and there is a truth in that, but there is also a

    truth that a part of this journey must be back-back to traditions that uphold

    and honor women for the gifts they bear and the manner in which they

    balance the scales.

    • Rez: thank you for adding that, respect is no doubt the core. To respect another even an enemy is very important. Respect for a storm can help us survive it. Respect for our women can help us understand them. Respect for our children can help us to give them all they need. Respect for our Elders can provide us with great insight. Respect for the plants and animals can give us a healthier place to live, and cleaner food, not to mention a more peaceful surrounding.

      One thing that really touched my heart about the women in this book, was that even with themselves and other women being treated very badly, they look at the men having their way of providing taken away, and have compassion for that. But with that, it’s the man’s responsibility to find another way to provide.

  3. Tali Uquelugv,

    So good that you started this blog. And started it with such great, heart-warming, full of valuable observations and so different way of thinking from many other men post.

    As mother of two sons I say to you BIG thank you.
    Those words I needed very much to see said by MAN.

    “Boys are different from girls, but the love you have for them shouldn’t change or lessen for either.
    In trying to do just that, and in an attempt to not treat these boys like my father treated me, I gave them the same love I gave to my niece.

    I love each of them for their own personal traits, try and help them be good boys growing into good men.
    In just showing them the love I have for them, they still know I love them.
    They have not become girls or feminine in any way.
    But they can be caring and loving.”

    Because that is how I treat and raise my sons and it’s good to know I am doing right thing then.
    I don’t expect them to be “manly” , all my hopes and efforts are in this that they going to be themselves.
    HUman first of all – then a Man. For Woman.

    How be be Man for men they will know by themselves as they are already a Little Man Boys who suppose to grow up to be Men, not only males.

    And myself from position of mother as I look for them now and think about future, I believe it’s my big part of job to do to accept and love like I love my sons all female friends, relatives and Wife – so my sons can love freely all of the women in their lives and do it greatly, showing it to every one individual way while also always standing tall for any and every woman / women to care for them protect them , respect them, help them, accept them,enjoy their company and behave way that makes women of all ages happy to have man around, to trust men and rely on man, to speak good words about men 🙂

    Thank you very much for helping me to realize that clearly and now being conscious of it all 😀

    Same way as Twyla B. Baker-Demaray said in her article (http://www.lastrealindians.com/2012/01/12/in-defense-of-the-native-man/)

    “What makes me grasp this, more so than being a sister, a daughter, or even a wife – is that I am a mother.

    I look at my three sons and realize that though I may have suffered hurt, pain, and sadness through my relationships with men, Native or otherwise, in whatever capacity, I now understand that their hurting me likely stemmed from someone else hurting them – including from other females.

    As a mother, I shoulder as much responsibility for raising respectful, responsible, and caring young men, as my husband does.

    How can I model this behavior to my sons (and really, to my daughters) if I teach them through my actions and words, that Native men are second-class citizens, irresponsible, loutish drunkards who can be expected to disappoint you at every turn, and that they are not even worthy of the respect of Native women?

    I cannot.

    When I look at my sons and I see their innocence, joy, affection, and their abounding love for me, for their sisters, their aunts, grandmothers, and female friends.

    I can see the companions they will become- the wonderful fathers to so many children that they are destined to someday be.

    For the love of my children, and the generations they will create after me, I can see no other path, except to foster that.”

    • Creator made in each of us the knowledge to be good human beings, we just have to listen.

      You are stopping the cycle, and starting a new one. My childhood is cloudy, but I remember my mother holding me, kissing my boo boos, and doing her best to teach me how to be a good man.

      Teach your boys to respect themselves, and respect others in the same way, teach them that the knowledge is in them, to listen to their hearts. To be strong in who they are.

      You are a good mother, they will see that, and that will make a difference.

      Thank you so much for this link, very insightful words, and they taught me a lesson as well. She makes a great point that it is each of us that breaks the cycle, collectively we can bring about a better way.

      I have for the last few years gotten caught up in worrying that I did not know enough to teach the children I will have the right way to be. But I am beginning to see that as a trick of sorts. I may not know all I’d like to know, but just maybe, I know enough.

      I greatly appreciate you sharing your words.

  4. “I may not know all I’d like to know – but just maybe, I know enough.”

    One brilliant summary. Perfect point.
    I tip my hat to you, Tali – I absolutely believe you are 100% right and correct in THAT matter 🙂

    To teach children…
    Myself I would rather say “help children to learn” as it is better way because then we are also learning by answering their questions and repeating/reminding own knowledge, values, understanding, beliefs for them to help them learn from us who we are and why we are so. I have learned that from my sons- answer questions and ask questions to find answer together. 🙂
    So they ask me for everything- from stories about their grandparents, country – to learn how to write, draw, read…for all science – biology, geography, physics, chemistry. Faith and beliefs. Life and Death. Work, tasks, duties, to learn skills of cooking, cleaning, repairing, building. caring, fixing. Joyful and tearful times and feelings.
    So as parent I am helping them to learn about anything and everything they want to know and understand, answering their questions and listening to their answers. With best of my current knowledge about myself, my beliefs, information I received during education and those I research to give my sons honest and credible answers, no lies or stereotypes, no mistakes and made up theories. To also help them to learn how to properly search and evaluate information in future so no one can manipulate them or enslave them in any way. So they may be free.

    I may not know all I’d like to know – but just maybe, I know enough… 😀

    Just my humble opinion and own little point of view …

    • Also living what you teach, and not just the I told you so, provides the best example, and teaching that will reciprocate when they are older.

      Understanding what the little ones are around will even effect the growth of their bodies is of great importance as well. Western society with all it’s knowledge, still understands very little about the interconnectedness of things.

      Since the mid-1800s, puberty–the advent of sexual maturation and the starting point of adolescence–has inched back one year for every 25 years elapsed. It now occurs on average six years earlier than it did in 1850–age 11 or 12 for girls; age 12 or 13 for boys. Today adolescents make up 17 percent of the U.S. population and about a third of them belong to racial or ethnic minorities.

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199501/the-invention-adolescence

      This article shows clearly that science fails to understand the causal link between media and puberty. Freud was a nutcase himself, but he may have had some validity in parts of what he said.

      Part of my role as a man is protecting little ones, just as a woman has this role, though they may be applied differently.

      In fulfilling this role, protecting their innocence is a part of that. Protecting their innocence can mean also lack of knowledge. We all know and feel that a child shouldn’t know about sex. Yet so many listen to music, watch movies or television shows that are filled with it. Children absorb this the same as anything in their environment.

      Talking with the old ones, learning from their accumulated wisdom, and working to apply what they can teach in our lives helps be a better parent also.

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