Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 19th 2014 Contents 16|
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By Liana Goddard
LAST WEEK, WE began the discussion about the crisis we are
currently facing regarding masculinity. And I put forward the
idea that our role, as women, in the development of masculinity
The most important and influential way that we can change
things as women is because, in reality, we are the caregivers of
young males. We mother boys, we are the baby sitters, the
teachers, the involved grandmothers. We cook their food, we
wipe their bottoms, we comb their hair, we supervise their
homework. Unfortunately because of where we are today with
masculinity, our men are not as involved in the care of children.
And that includes male children. So much of what our boys are
going to be tomorrow is because of US. Because of what we
do or don't do in their lives. No longer can we wait for men to
figure this one out. We're the ones in the trenches with these
males that we so love.
This is not a blame game. We're all in this together. And while
women are, in truth and in fact, way more directly responsible
for the care of boys, and while women are more directly respon-
sible for providing for the physical, emotional, spiritual and men-
tal needs of boys, our society, both women AND men, is
responsible for ensuring that women have the support and re-
sources that we need to do this job well. Our society is respon-
sible for ensuring that we women are not shackled by poverty,
by lack of education, by scarce resources, so that we can do our
job well. This may not be our job forever. I hope that I live to see
the day when fathers are much more involved in the lives of
young people than they currently are, but I'm not talking about
hopes and dreams here. I'm talking about where we are at the
moment, right NOW.
Consider being assigned a task in your job and when you get
there the tools for you to do this have not been provided. No
cleaning products or brooms/mops/sponges for the cleaner. No
shovels/weedwackers/manure for the farmer. No
books/chalk/desks for the teacher. You probably would try to
find another job, wouldn't you? And yet every day we leave
women completely unequipped for the difficult task of caring
for children. And then we wonder why things are the way they
What are some things we are doing to lead to a nation where
men have low emotional resilience, where uncomfortable feel-
ings in men will often lead to them lashing out instead of sitting
with these feelings, where our men are turning to addictions of
all sorts --- pornography, alcohol, promiscuity --- to cope with
their daily lives.
NUMBER ONE. I referred to it above but I'm going to say
it again. We're leaving children to be parented by exhausted,
stressed out, financially challenged mothers and other female
caregivers. It's NEVER a good equation. Do a simple online
search. Find a country where parents, especially mothers, are
well supported and you'll find a country where the present is
much rosier than the countries where parents are poorly sup-
ported. Let's solve this in Trinidad and Tobago. We have the
money, we have the expertise. Let's do something about this.
Let's support parents properly.
NUMBER TWO. We are not giving males the spaces and
tools to develop emotional competency. In other words, males
are not able to live comfortably and "awarely" with their feel-
ings. And considering that feelings are a neverending accompa-
niment to being a human, where does that leave them? Unable
to cope with the every day, every minute, every second experi-
ence. Unable to cope with romantic rejection without killing
their ex-partner and sometimes even the children. Unable to
feel slighted without shooting the person who insulted them.
We have really poor emotional resiliency here as a nation and
our men even more so.
We are leaving males with the inability to recognize their feel-
ings. They often can't tell you if they are feeling sad, anxious,
angry, irritable, satisfied, or any of the wide range of feelings
that normal humans experience all the time. I ask all the time. I
ask teenage boys in the street, I ask men at the river, I ask the
taxi drivers and the punch sellers. And even if they are aware
that there is such a thing as feelings, they are unable to talk
Let's start there. Let's go no further for now. Those are pro-
posed first two steps. Support parents and give boys the sup-
port to become emotionally resilient. How are you, as an
individual, supporting these two things? How are you under-
mining these things? Look at the videos below and read the ar-
ticles to see which things YOU are doing.
Of course, we can't conclude this issue in less than 2,000 words.
We didn't get here overnight and we're not going to be able to
do a quick fix to get out of our current situation. But we need
to start strong. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction. And
it will be continued. Thanks for patience in reading to the end.
Some tools for you
• One of my favourite parenting sites. Here's a general article
on dealing with children's emotions. http://www.handin-
• One of my favourite books. Helping Young Children Flour-
ish by Aletha Soulter
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