Opinion Column

What’s a son to do?

By Al Collins

Al Collins.

Al Collins.

There is a species of skinks, placed on the endangered list, whose counts and audits showed a remarkable decline in numbers year after year. The decline was across genders but in particular the male skink was disappearing  at an accelerated rate. This species was sufficiently localized that counts were quite accurate and behaviour could be studied easily. Eventually the story was told that no males of this species existed and only females now represented this particular skink on the whole planet. The surprise of this story is the continued existence of the skink.

As a population refused to decline and disappear, questions about how and why were posed. The answer became clear with the discovery that this species now carried both reproductive systems in every skink. Each was now female by all external  presentation but capable of reproduction by carrying both male and female biology. The species had changed, while observed, from two genders equally represented, to both genders now represented in each individual, and the surviving representatives came from the female side of the family tree.

The discussion, amongst skinks, must have been the debate about the value and usefulness of two genders and the apparent disposibility of males in this species. The story is not, that males were useless and so disappeared without any other change. Clearly males disappearing changed the species significantly. In this sense both genders have an impact through their presence of through their loss.

Observers of our species may wonder about us as much as others wonder about skinks. From afar, the view of people in our culture presents images that stream the empowerment and validation of women. The nature and ability of women is promoted across television, advertising, news, sports and entertainment. Multitasking, family raising, professionals, engaged on the world stage, capable of living without the limitations of overload, chaos and failure. In many ways the competence of women is seen as the saving grace for men in their lives and may well be the standard for men not being in the lives on women.

The ascension of women is often couched in terms of the unfairness of men. The lists of wrongs seem to appear daily and the requirements for remedy echo more and more stridently. The call for men to do better seems legitimate. The model for what better looks like is decidedly absent. David Beckham’s abs, Ellen’s dancing, disrobing helper elf. The loud, hollering party animals of social media fame claimed by digital barons as the criteria for value.

Too often men are represented as dressed by; covered for on social graces, no chore slackers, non communicative, world wrecking bullies with the emotional content of a good hammer. Whatever truth this carries, it comes with the quandary that these descriptions become self fulfilling in the absence of alternative images, the existence of which seems measured on the same scale as unicorn hunts. As hard as we work toward, this will happen best within a context of better men.
Genders are different, and sometimes confusing, but equal happens while acknowledging differences not while grinding off those edges and points insisting while working that equal must mean same.

-There is a foolishness that equal must mean same. Must be outgrown and set aside when joining the company of men.
-Recognize that no life is successful without the benefits of others, therefore grace, acknowledgement, thanks and appreciation are required, always.
-Your strength is never to be absent, nor the gaudy billboards of a Vegas strip. It is to be certain, trusted, and a guaranty of safety.
-Caring and loving are the awards given by others in their assessment of you – they are never just your words hijacking qualities by volume, bluster and anger.
-Fair and faithful are never options with this package. They are essential, required, equipment marking who you are or are not.
-Room and patience are the garden in which you grow young lives and the love of your life. Impatient narrowness is a hard packed clay that will not grow life, neither that of the lowly departed male skink or the needed good men.

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