Worth it

Friday, May 27, 2011

I’ve just finished reading The Broken American Male by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

In brief, this book paints a picture of what a broken man in society looks like, how men are made to feel like human doings and not human beings. They find value or feel somehow that their contribution is in doing. They do to provide, they do to move up the work ladder, they do to prove themselves in their work, they do at home (if they aren’t totally worn out from work) and they still aren’t as good as the next guy or more specifically as successful because they aren’t in the top lists and aren’t acknowledged.

This book also explains how their wives are unable to help their husbands because the broken male sees no value in himself and therefore is unable to see value or worth in another close to him. The broken male thinks to himself, how can someone love a failure. He is unable to be and therefore retreats to the TV or computer sinking deeper into seclusion from their families and the cycle of destruction begins. The author puts this down to societal pressures and how men are constantly comparing themselves to one another and how success is often measured in monetary or material things. Top lists aid in this feeling.

I’ve taken a few things to heart from this book and adapted what he has said for males specifically to something we can all do. I think these things are important for ourselves and our relationships.
The first is making our spouses feel wanted at home. The author suggests that children should greet their parents when they come in the door and that wives should ask their husbands how their day was. It is such a simple thing but when husbands get home, get off the phone, get off the computer, give them a hug and ask “how was your day?”

I remember one day, I had come home from a conference, I don’t go to them often and it is quite draining after a long day of concentrating. I ‘d missed two buses, had a huge headache and was walking up the street from the bus stop, an hour later than I had planned to. I saw my husband and son who had walked down to meet me, it suddenly gave me a boost to keep going to keep walking. Don’t we all have a basic need to feel reassured to feel worthy?

I don’t think this is purely a male problem, there are plenty of women who feel the same. Plenty of women at home feeling like they aren’t good enough. Perhaps your husband isn’t loving towards you or doesn’t help as much as you would like, perhaps he is distant. Perhaps he feels like a human doing and not a human being? Perhaps you feel unworthy and a human doing not a human being?

Feeling worthy is a gift you give yourself, you need to find worth in yourself and what you are doing at home - BEING a mother is important. Being a mother means setting an example of a successful life, a life where being on top lists and wanting acknowledgement is not everything.

Some examples adapted from the author are: cuddling your toddler so they know they are the most adorable person in the world. Reading to or saying a prayer with your child, playing or riding in the park with your child so they learn there is pleasure in nature and natural things not just man-made material objects. Studying with your teenager so they learn the value of relationship and being knowledgeable and wise.

You are valuable and worthy.  Will you give yourself the gift of believing in yourself today? What would you like to see different in your home?

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