He's in high school, a new driver...my home is located about 35-45 minutes away from his private school. In the morning, he drives now as I sit in the passenger seat. Mom and teenage son...His cell phone makes a sound, which lets him know a text has arrived.
He has his eyes on the road and says "Mom can you open that text cause it's probably from Dad."
I reach over, pick up his phone. I see it is not his Dad. I see a girls name and the words "When are we going to f*&#@?"
MY RESPONSE TO SEEING THIS:
My internal dialogue: "Holy shit, these teenage girls today are so bold. I can't believe it. I can't even imagine. Gosh that's young. These kids are kids. Are they kids? Yes, they are kids. This young lady is not old enough to be sending this to a young man. What is she thinking? Where is her mother? and does her mother know she is texting boys in this way? Oh man..this is intense."
It's one thing to be 16 and 17. It's an entirely different thing to be the parent of a 16 or 17 year old.
The outward conversation between my son and I
Me "Well, this is not a text from your father. It's a text from a girl"
My son "What does it say?"
My internal dialogue "I do not want to tell you. What I want to do is delete this text, or text her back "Young lady, you are far too young to be sending messages like this to a young man."
But I do not do that (I really really want to though)
Instead I read that text out loud to my son.
My sons response... "Oh. Sorry mom." He was genuinely embarrassed.
I can't remember exactly what I said to him after that- but I'm pretty sure I did say something along the lines of "this is why catholic school girls have the reputation that they do have and does this girl have a mother and if she does have a mother I wonder if she knows her daughter is sending these kinds of things to boys?"
Oh, the age of texting and sexing and body images being sent back and forth and all of that....This is parenting 101 and this was in the year 2009. There are advances now....
In my mind, I can hear myself saying something about school is for learning and how he needs to respect all girls no matter what but I'm not even sure if I did or I didn't at this point because that was a long time ago.
The only thing I have absolute certainty on was he and I created a new agreement/boundary
Me: "Don't ever ask me to open up your text ever again...."
Him: "I won't"
With the final seed of "Condoms, always wear condoms."
The image above projects me in this moment with my son. The image of the woman's head behind her actual self, looking down. That's my mom head in these moments. I am leaving my adult who is free in her own sexuality because I am an adult who has already went through these things and I am looking at the bigger picture as it relates to my son's age, this girls age.
How these young people are just starting out.
How these are the beginning days of either good memories or bad ones.
How this can be heading down a road of shame that becomes hard to eradicate later...depending on how it goes from that text to what happens next.
A lot of people think being sex positive is the solution but there is more to it than that. There is a lot more to it than that. Being sex positive comes with having the broader awareness and insight into all pieces of the pie.
I think of this young girl and does she know what this is and can do to her actual sense of self? Does she take responsibility for protecting her own inner body? Is she really prepared body, mind and soul to be offering this to another human being? Will this damage her or empower her? I can't know that, my son can't know that. She's young, what if something terrible happens to her and she ends up shutting her sexually down completely and she goes the other way...Even if her parents are sexologists who have been educating her since birth, that is not the only factor involved, there is also the actual world, the peer pressures and the young person's full world all around them....
It's easy to say sex is natural and it's also easy to say "Wait" yet, these young people are experiencing hormones rushing through their bodies for the first time. It's all so new...There is the sexuality we are born with and then there is hormones being activated.
There is a lot.
I care about my son and I care about this girl. My mind is expansive in this way.
I think of her parents. Not just at the level of if they know-she is sending boys these kinds of messages or not...but also, how easy it would be for her parents to skip over her being responsible for what she sends out and if she were to get pregnant as a high school student, would they have the level of maturity to really understand their daughters role in that or would my son be seen as the ugly monster who stole their precious daughters future from her? Would they have the maturity and the expansion to know that my son's future is also being altered here? Or would they just view my son as that boy who took advantage of their sweet innocent daughter?
Because for me, I would see two young people who had equal responsibility in the co-creation of an unplanned pregnancy and my focus would be on my own son (not their daughter) and him taking responsibility for his part in the creation. While I would always have awareness of that original text "When are we going to F*&%" that does NOT exclude my son from being responsible for who he is and what he does from that text on. It just doesn't. He is still responsible. To me, they would both be. Text or no text. Short skirt or no short skirt.
If someone hears this meme above and hears me say "You are saying boys should respect girls even if they don't respect themselves"
You bet your ass I am saying that.
And here's why....
The "go to the good girl - stay away from the bad girls,' has a similar theme.
And it goes far beyond the psychology of longing for what we think we can not have, the forbidden fruit or the care and protection of our girls. Although, there is that. Because boys who are taught they don't have to respect all girls..don't and they will take what she offers them and think it's okay to do that...without having to respect her. It's a terrible seed to plant, generally speaking.
Yet to respect all girls...minimizes all kinds of things. But that's not all for me.
This for me is also about the care and protection of our boys.
Keeping boys connected where they can be a whole person who has feelings, thoughts, emotions and is allowed to be connected to his own sexuality without being taught to call girls sinner, sluts and whores for having the same exact longings and desire that he actually has...well that just seems like a step in the right direction to me.
We need to care about their insides as much as we care about their outsides or what they can produce in the world.
Religious SIDE NOTE....yet ties in....
The nature of what it means to be a christian (in my mind) includes embodying the teachings of Jesus Christ, yet for some reason a lot of christians seem to focus more on passages that justify their inability to behave like christians and help others in deeper ways. Instead they judge and condemn in ways that blow my mind because they are not even close to being able to embody a jesus consciousness. This scares the shit out of me sometimes. It truly does.
The christians that I know and revere are the ones who embody jesus consciousness. And that's a Christina thing. (that's a ME thing) Just my preference to be around those who embody that.
I don't believe in throwing out the baby with the bath water so I've kept and still have my bible and I love and can connect to a lot of what's written in red where Jesus consciousness exists.
It was a sad day for me to learn....
Mary Magdalene has conveniently been re-created in assumptions and accusations in ways that are subjective rather than based in truth. These accusations can not even be found in the four canonical gospels. She traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. There is nothing actually written to support or indicate one of the 7 demons Mary Magdalene was cured of existed in her sexuality as a woman. There are many different demons and how they attack a person according to Christianity. Magic is considered a demon. Astrology is considered a demon. Moral impurity is really just scratching the surface as it relates to the possibilities as far as demons are concerned. Enmeshed stories blending together combined to make a more compelling story perhaps. One scene eventually bleeding into another.
Of course that is possible..people do that every day!
We are still doing that with our stories.... extracting context that is really important and adding in things that aren't even true. We lack honor and integrity every time we do that. To ourselves and to each other.
I like the false version a little more actually because the teachings of Jesus there aligns with "Respect all Girls, No Exceptions."
Yet, the story of Mary Magdalene is still not powerful enough to have Christians "Get it," anyway.
Baseline: To be comfortable talking about feelings and emotions includes being comfortable talking about things like Sex. That's a baseline level of maturity in my opinion.
Privacy being honored is wonderful. Yet, privacy is sometimes just code for shame and when it is, that is sad and often very dangerous.
Let's talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
'Cause that ain't gonna stop it
Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows
Many will know anything goes
Let's tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course, how it should be
Instead, feel your suffering, rest with it, embrace it, make love with it. Feel your suffering so deeply and thoroughly that you penetrate it, and realize its fearful foundation. Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing, from the moment you are born. Two hours of absorption in a good Super Bowl telecast may distract you temporarily, but the fact remains. You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering.
By eliminating the safety net of comforts in your life, you have the opportunity to free fall in this moment between birth and death, right through the hole of your fear, into the unthreatenable openness which is the source of your gifts. The superior man lives as this spontaneous sacrifice of love.”
― David Deida
Often his life has to essentially- repeatedly fall apart in one dimension or another before he gets to a place where he even considers the possibility that there is indeed a void deep within that only he can fill because he's been taught to be filled one must look to the external world.
Often, they were taught how to be a man and sometimes that meant care more about your credit score or your image than your soul and in that teaching, those whose credit scores have lowered end up carrying shame.
There is no real one specific formula that works for all men that I can see, other than his own reconnection to himself. His ability to keep his heart and head vibrating as one. And that feels like something only other men can pave the way to....
What Is a Rite of Passage
Sociologists have identified three phases that constitute a proper rite of passage: separation, transition, and re-incorporation.
Separation: During this phase an initiate is separated in some way from his former life. In the case of the Mandan tribe, the young man was isolated from the village in a hut for three days. In other tribes, boys’ heads were shaved and they were ritually bathed and/or tattooed. In a more modern example, when a man has just enlisted in the military, he is sent away to boot camp. His former possessions are put aside, his head is shaved, and he is given a uniform to wear. During the separation phase, part of the old self is extinguished as the initiate prepares to create a new identity.
Transition: During this phase, the initiate is between worlds-no longer part of his old life but not yet fully inducted into his new one. He is taught the knowledge needed to become a full-fledged member of that group. And he is called upon to pass tests that show he is ready for the leap. In tribal societies, the elders would impart to the initiate what it meant to be a man and how the boy was to conduct himself once he had become one. The initiate would then participate in ritual ceremonies which often involved pain and endurance. In the case of the new soldier, he is yelled at, prodded, exercised, and disciplined to prepare him to receive a rank and title.
Re-incorporation. In this phase, the initiate, having passed the tests necessary and proving himself worthy, is re-introduced into his community, which recognizes and honors his new status within the group. For tribal societies, this meant a village-wide feast and celebration. The boy would now be recognized by all tribe members as a man and allowed to participate in the activities and responsibilities that status conferred. For the soldier, his boot camp experience would come to an end and both his superiors and his family would join in a ceremony to recognize his new status as a full-fledged member of the military.
During the all phases of the process, the men who have gone through the ritual themselves guide the young initiate on his journey. By controlling the rite of passage, the men decide when a boy becomes a man.
The greatest difficulty in establishing rites of passage today is recreating the “re-incorporation” phase of the process. Today boys are rarely an integral part of any larger community, much less one that recognizes and agrees on certain rites of passage. But they can be reconfigured for the modern age and still act as meaningful transition points in a boy’s life. Rites of passage should serve as a catalyst that propels a boy’s passage into manhood.
What this essentially says is: it is men who initiate other men into what it means to be a man. (Not women) And it does not start or stop with their father. There is an entire tribe and the values of that specific tribe. The tribe of men.
Separation. Transition. Re-incorporation.
If it is men who control and decide when a boy is a man, men are their own answer. Mothers are notorious for stopping their boys from learning how to move through their pain....and some of these rites of passages have gotten completely distorted. Such as in college. Some of the sorority stuff is really not at all okay. Yet, neither is allowing a boy to flounder through detached from his own heart and not provide him with at least some sense of his own journey, his own rite of passage process....
I think it would be amazing to have one for all types of men. How powerful, no matter what their sexual orientation may be. Respecting all girls, no exceptions... This applies to the gay community too. You don't have to be sexually attracted to a woman to respect her. And sometimes, some gay men get grossed out by female body parts. The same body parts that carried them and brought them into this world.
Instead of reinventing the wheel....maybe take the wheel and recreate it as something that can work now, in alignment with now
I have no idea or clue on what it would look like to create a Rite of passage to serve as a catalyst that would propel a boy's passage into manhood. I don't even know what the heck it means anymore to "Be a Man"
The more I learn the less I seem to get it.
Yet, It does feel like if the world was loaded with various rituals for boys designed and factoring in the world they live in right now...and parents were willing to endure Separation from their children...as boys are taught to respect all girls without exception....
I think there might be a shift....
But I'm just thinking out loud
Boys need men in their lives in my opinion. Someone older and much wiser who has already traveled and can see clearly....
There was a moment when my son was 13 and I allowed him to move in full time with his father. There is more to that story and that story actually began to take place when a little boy said to his mother, "I want to live with my Dad," a few times a year, then that turned into a few times a month. And his mother's response was "When you are 13 years old, if you still feel this way, you can."
That was actually years in the making...
...if I had to go back....
I would have applied the wisdom I now have before I allowed this to happen.
My one and only stipulation lives inside of respect all girls, no exceptions and that includes me.
My responsibility in assuring I was being treated with respect regardless if I was perceived as a good mom or a bad mom. I did not lean in. I was not mindful. I did not share my truth in a reverent way.
I did not articulate "Under no uncertain terms does my decision to allow him to live with you- full time- mean, indicate or translate you now have the power to disrespect me in any way, shape or form -for any reason what-so-ever. There will need to be clarity and a commitment to his respecting all girls and women and that needs to include me at all times." If you can not agree to this one thing.... he will not be moving in with you full time.
All of the other practicalities, realities or whatever difference we had between homes...to this day, this would literally be the only non negotiable. Because if there could be an agreement on that base line fundamental -elementary level where there are no mixed messages going down...HE gets to remain deeply connected to all of himself. Like me, hate me...whatever...
Tribe consciousness. That invisible cord between him and me. The point isn't me, the point is him. The point has always been his ability to stay deeply connected to all of himself.
Under no uncertain terms does my decision to......(insert all of it here) mean, indicate or translate you now have the power to disrespect me in any way, shape or form -for any reason what-so-ever.
All of the other practicalities, realities or whatever differences we may have....this is non negotiable. These are my terms.
Again, not just because of me, although that is really enough on it's own...but also because there is now a little girl and a teenage boy who both need to experience respect all girls, no exceptions and this once again...includes me.
I mean, make no mistake, I was saying plenty and being crystal clear about many things.
"Respect all girls, no exceptions"
That one thing would have had so much power. I'm talking serious power. Immeasurable power....
Why do I believe this to be true?
When I say: Under no uncertain terms...
The weak, disconnected robots bail out...
The strong, connected to their hearts who do respect women...aren't afraid of a little thing called "Respecting women"
It's been a real eye opener.
I'm still in transition.
I am no longer part of my old life. I am being taught by the Hawaiians. I am having to pass tests that show I am ready for the leap. In many ways.
I have daily opportunities to practice being direct with a dash of reverence.
Transition: During this phase, the initiate is between worlds-no longer part of his old life but not yet fully inducted into his new one. He is taught the knowledge needed to become a full-fledged member of that group. And he is called upon to pass tests that show he is ready for the leap. In tribal societies, the elders would impart to the initiate what it meant to be a man and how the boy was to conduct himself once he had become one. The initiate would then participate in ritual ceremonies which often involved pain and endurance.
So we shall see...