Ultimate Juggler

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Girl Power

"What girls are discovering, to their infinite heartbreak, is that boys will happily agree to any form of sexual experimentation a girl cares to offer, but will reserve certain honors for the girls who build power in the ancient ways. If you want a boy to invite you to the prom, or to treat you well, or to speak highly of you to his friends, or to spend long hours thinking about how he can work his way into your heart - if what you want from him is courtship, romance, and respect - the very last thing you should do is ambush him with a sexual favor. That girls no longer know this to the marrow of their bones - that this knowledge comes to them in a slow awakening of misery and shame - is testament to how badly our culture has failed them." (emphasis mine)
Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic (April 2006)

This quote was written by the author, Ms. Flanagan, in response to letters sent to the editor about her article on teen sexuality that was recently published in the Atlantic. I remember reading the article and finding it very interesting.

I am including the quote in my blog and adding emphasis because I would like to express my agreement that our society is letting down today's young women by not teaching them how to achieve their dreams, goals and desires. I wonder how many of us in the company of tomorrow's adults (i.e., parents, educational providers, family members, etc.) even know exactly what their dreams and desires are. And if not, I wonder do we care to find out?

I would suspect that today's youth are full of dreams. I would also guess that the age-old goal of finding true love and receiving it might make their list of desires for the future. I could be wrong, and a formal survey might is definitely in order to establish this assumption as fact, but for the sake of limited time and resources, let's agree that many teens are interested in relationships and sex. I am around many parents and know that as a whole parents are very interested in helping their children succeed in school and at their extra-curricular activities. Many of us are also saving and sacrificing for their financial futures. But are we helping to guide today's youth toward achieving goals in their personal lives, for e.g.,in the areas of love and self-respect?

Today, young women are at a turning point in history. For the first time, we have reproductive and sexual freedom coupled with experience. In the sexual revolution of the 60's we had freedom, but not the experience. Today, we have a generation who has experimented with that freedom, making the young women of today knowledgeable about what sexual freedom does, and doesn't, give to a woman who chooses to use it indiscriminately.

But do today's young women really know? I would say that they know about sex, contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases. However, I wonder whether they have a view on changing societal norms and relationships between the sexes throughout history? What about love? Only perhaps if they are reading literature from different genres and time periods and/or are being educated in these subjects.

This is where I think our culture needs to step in and add to the knowledge of our young women and men so that the can have the power that comes with adequate knowledge. Freedom without knowledge is not power. It will only be when the kids today are equipped with how to achieve their goals can we say they are truly emanipated.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No More Tears in Heaven

It is Wednesday night now and my nephew of 21 years of age took his own life about 50 hours ago. I won't say much about him out of respect except that I will always think of him as someone who had the utmost of ideals and who struggled to function in a world that did not live up to his expectations. Goodbye Chris, I will always miss you and admire you for your dream of a better life. You were not wrong in what you wanted. I hope you have found it now. May your soul be at peace.

As a mom of 3 boys, my nephew's death caused me to look at my sons and my role in their life in a different way. I hugged my 5 year old more often over the last couple of days and spent more quality time with him. I worked hard on my office work so that I could free up more time to be there for my three guys in the next couple of days and over the weekend.

I remember being age 20 and, although independent and living on my own, how I felt so scared and confused about life and my future. Now 37, I hope I never forget this fact when my own children are that age. I want to stay involved in their life as a friend and a guide. I think that children are always our children and they need us to be there for them, even when they don't ask. We need to stay connected with them, especially when they are spreading their wings and learning to fly on their own. Life can seem so daunting when you are trying to make it on your own for the first time.

My heart is so saddened for the all of the young people who are suffering a silent anguish right now and contemplating ending their own lives. May they please speak up to someone and voice their thoughts. I wish I could tell them that life DOES get better, yes it is hard, but over time the problems will not seem so great. I hope that this never happens to another person - it is such a terrible and tragic waste.

Goodbye for now.