(sidenote: This is not a political post, nor expresses my thoughts on gun laws or reforms. This is my personal reflection on issues that go much deeper than laws and legislation.)
I opened my Oula.One class last night with this question as I looked around at a room full of beautiful women and girls. Where are the boys?
This latest school shooting has once again rocked me and our country. We can’t seem to agree, as a society, what to do about it, but I think we can nearly all agree that it is absolutely heartbreaking and not normal.
So I’ve been thinking about this issue in two different ways.
1. What are we teaching our boys and men about their role in society and what is expected of them.
2. How are women modeling through our actions and words, a more equal world.
/// M E N ///
I am very curious about why it is almost exclusively males who are committing these horrendous acts, which brings me back to my question last night in Oula.One— where are the boys? Are we providing them with enough opportunity to feel their feelings, connect their mind and body in gentle and soft ways, or are we expecting them to be strong, tough, powerful and stoic? I read on Facebook about a man who turned in one of his automatic rifles and he was absolutely ridiculed by other men in the comments who many of which asked him “did you turn in your man card, too?” This question really got me thinking… do the males of our country feel that to be a man you have to have power or control? That you must always be ready to defend or protect or be ready for any type of threat? That you aren’t allowed to be vulnerable? That being soft and open isn’t what is expected of you in this society? Because if that is the case, then we all need to do better with our sons, husbands, brothers, friends, co-workers, fathers…
Maybe men actually wouldn’t like Oula.One and want a different type of experience. But maybe they aren’t coming because they feel they are expected to be sharp, hard, fast, strong, competitive, gain, earn… and that just ins’t what Oula.One is about. But maybe first they need to know that it’s ok for them to be vulnerable.
/// W O M E N ///
How are we modeling in the way that we speak to ourselves and in our communities that we are competent and capable leaders within our families, workplace, or communities? Are we overly apologetic, are we the first ones to back down from our beliefs, do we always default to someone else? Do we guilt-trip ourselves when we take time for self-care, do we accept guilt trips from our partners for the same thing? Our kids are watching. Our boys are watching us in these roles and they are learning. What are we teaching them about power? About respect? About equality?
We are all in this together. And I’m very, very curious about how we, as a society, are creating a culture in which it is now the norm for us to murder one another. Our boys need to know that they are allowed to be vulnerable. As women we need to step up.
Women, bring your boys. Men, we will help you lead.