15.  Being a Male

Are there any other roles which are affected by your spiritual work?

Well, my "role" as a male is affected.


In what way?

A little noticed effect of the women’s liberation movement is that it also resulted in the possibility of men’s liberation as well. Men have become free to develop their innate qualities which might years ago have seemed relatively unmanly, such as the expression of kindness, the recognition of one’s emotional life and the will to nurture.

The other component that I try to work on is to recognize when the old superior-male / inferior-female roles start to rise up, where the woman is supposed to be the servant of the man. Thankfully, my wife is pretty quick to reflect that back to me if I falter.

It truly makes me very sad when I see people in relationships that preserve those old superiority/inferiority models. Unfortunately, I see it more than I would like to.


Can you describe something specific about how you try to change those roles?

I can say without false humility that I’m the cook in the family, at least when I’m home before dinner time to prepare meals. I think my two boys believe that it’s the man’s job to cook in the house. Once some friends gave my wife and me a special cooking utensil as an anniversary present. My oldest boy asked what it was, and our friend said that it was a gift to celebrate the birthday of his parents’ marriage. "Oh," he said. Then after a pause he added, "What did you get for my mom?"