A True Balance For Our Sons
Article ID: 11075
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: February 25th. 2007
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For generations, families in the Appalachians have handed down herbal lore, faith healing practices and general beliefs from our Irish and Cherokee foremothers. It's taught us how to come into womanhood with pride and grace and given us knowledge to heal and care for our families.
Being the first in my family to comfortably use the term ‘Pagan’ when describing my families traditions and myself was a stand-alone event. Then I decided to teach my sons the craft as well as my daughter. That in itself was alien, but the feeling of confusion and incompetence it left me with was astounding.
This gift of knowledge was something that I wanted to share with all my children: The foundation I gained from my family. The beautiful lessons and devotion of the God and Goddess that I have added myself. Mostly I have just put words to beliefs, defined and refined what was already there. Blessing Mother Earth for her gifts and praising God for his protection.
I really wanted my boys to carry this knowledge with them. I wanted them to be able to heal, to understand and feel empathy, to know the signs of the weather and to be able pass this on to their own children one day.
The biggest obstacle I ran into was how to translate everything into terms for budding young men. Everything is so orientated around the woman's mysteries that there are not many books or lessons for men. In addition to being dumbfounded by the whole male/female issue, I had the added problem of them just being young boys. Their natural response to every question was a normal, "I dunno" or "Uh-huh".
Unlike most young girls who are chatty, open and very willing to communicate their needs and wants, young boys are more reserved. I decided that action was key and talk was okay as long as I didn't require and in depth answer. Now don't get me wrong, they retain just as much and maybe more than my daughter but in order to even begin, I had to accept them for who they were. I had to take a step back, breath and decide where and how to begin.
So we set off sewing sachets, identifying herbs, planting magickal gardens and making incense. My boys are very good-natured and they whole-heartedly entertain me throughout all of these tasks. We have a lot of fun up until I open my mouth.
It's obvious that they connect to the God aspect more than the Goddess. For now, I am their Goddess. I am their role model and their mother. What they want and what they need is a male energy. How to be a man, how to understand who they are and what's happening to their bodies. An example of a strong outcome that they can identify with. Just as us women feel when we truly connect for the first time with the Goddess giving birth to the world. They needed it from the other point of view.
How do we teach our sons to embrace these beautiful lessons and still be able to function and live in today's society and do/be what is expected of men? One of my most heartbreaking memories concerns my oldest son.
He had a collection of simple stone necklaces that he wore on occasion. Nothing fancy or feminine. One day he came home from school, took his necklace off and told me that he wouldn't be wearing it anymore. After hours of probing I got the information that I was searching for. Someone had made fun of him for wearing it. That was the first break I saw in him. The separation of being who he was and turning into a person that society would easily accept.
I truly believe it's much harder for men. I would much rather declare that I am a witch while standing on the rooftops then to declare I am a man in today's world. And while men are more and more able to be who they are, and we as a human race are more accepting of differences everyday, we as woman really need to reach into ourselves and make a larger effort to understand what's going on.
Men need their spirituality just as much as we do. Men need to be loved and appreciated for who and what they are. They need us to lay our past hurts, stigmas and assumption aside and embrace them. Make the choice to teach our sons how to be men AND spiritual, sensitive and loving people at the same time. Teach them how to live in society and still hold on to that nurturing self, even if it must be reserved for more private and intimate moments in their lives.
So how does a woman, whom can never "really" understand what it is like to be a man physically, teach her sons this much needed wisdom?
For me, it was balance. Insert more male energy into my everyday life. Try with all my might to identify and understand, at least as far as I could possibly go. And to really, truly love them for who they are.
I have had to teach my sons about privacy even more so then my daughter. I have watched them hold back tears so to appear strong, feign off fears to avoid ridicule and to learn to hold their own in the world of men. But I have also seen who they really are inside. Both strong and gentle.
They have been taught to hold onto what’s there instead of killing it off or walling it away piece by piece. In my opinion, this is the turning point. You can either teach them it's wrong to feel or you can teach them there is a time and place for everything.
I know there are going to be readers who say, "Just teach them to be strong and to be who they are no matter what!" And, of course, we all have the right to raise our children with the morals we see fit. But before you make that assumption consider that women are different than men and we cannot conquer society in one generation.
I, personally, have no intentions of making my children my own personal spiritual martyrs. And while we cannot change everything, we can change ourselves. We can learn to teach our sons lessons that will live on, beyond us. Perhaps their children will be even more open and the cycle will continue and grow.
My daughter has learned from this experience as well. She too will be more balanced and perhaps more understanding of men mysteries in general.
The lessons this has taught me are invaluable. I logically understood the balance between male and female before and the necessity for both, but now I feel it. Now, it's not only in my mind but also in my heart and every inch of my being.
I celebrate manhood, as only a woman can, from a nurturing and thankful point of view. What a beautiful thing it is to be a man.
And a woman.
Location: Saint Albans, West Virginia
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