What should we teach our children?

Last week, I was discussing the challenges of being a single woman in today’s world. We talked about what lessons should be taught to daughters and to sons and from that conversation comes this article. Below are my primaries, to which you are invited to add yours either in the comments section or in a private email.

First and absolutely foremost for me would be the Oneness of God. Not Jesus, or Moses, or Buddha, or Muhammad, or whomever, but rather God. Not Jesus as God, but rather God because to state it is Jesus, means the exclusion of all who are not Christian. In his Oneness, exists our own. It is the recognition that no one is a sovereign (Hi Arabic Dictators!!), but that we both share, and are a shared humanity, and so none of us sit alone. Rather, each one of us is an integral thread within it, and if I fray, so too will you.

So. I do my best to live this. And I would be a liar if I didn’t tell you that I have lost a man or two to women who behaved otherwise. Meaning, where I have chosen not to act, out of respect for another woman, other women have chosen to act, with no regard for other women. And though I have sometimes struggled with this in the past, at the end of the day, 87.3% of the time, I am happier for my choices.

Ultimately, to hurt another is to hurt ourselves, and to improve the station of another is also to improve that of our own. What asshole would argue with this? Especially if every day we are working to ensure that our heart is kind and compassionate and still open to vulnerability?

Second, you have enough bad behaviours and will make many (so many!) bad choices on which to focus; don’t judge the behavior of others. In moments of volatility and emotional distress, I often fail at this and have to then reign myself in, so I get it. And you should too, that it is not easy but it is critical. And where we drop the ball, we have to run after it and pick it up hard and fast. When you are struggling to grab that ball, then at least do your best to temper the judgement with compassion because your time will come.

Third, your time will come to fall and to hurt and to commit a really fucked up and devastating moral error. Trust in that reality because we are humans and our biggest gift from God is the freedom to choose, and sometimes that actually means “…to choose to do the wrong thing, and then suffer the consequences.”

And when that happens, may you be surrounded by people who — though they may disagree with you — will put their arms around you and hold you as tight as you need and for as long as you need until you are whole again, with absolutely no judgement whatsoever.

Fourth, respect yourself. Always.

I have said that the amount of respect we afford others is a direct reflection of how much we respect ourselves. Even when we don’t like someone, we should still respect them, if for no other reason than we are all One (see Number 1 above).

And on the most powerful drivers defining the human condition…sex and love…

.X. Love with as open a heart as you possibly can. Keeping in mind the above foundations, do not act from a place of fear; do not shy away from what your heart might scream at you. If you care about someone, tell them. If you want someone tell them. Do not manipulate or play games or wait for the right moment – this is it. Right now. Just get on with it because you or they could be dead tomorrow and your night is lost. We see God with our heart’s eye, so pay attention to your heart (but only in a healthy love, and not in an abusive one).

Love is a two-way street, and both are responsible for its maintenance. With that, sometimes even the greatest loves become disenchanted and disenchanting, and so long as you gave it your all and did your best, it is alright to walk away carrying only the best memories forward and into your next relationship. That something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean that it — or you — are a failure, and where two people don’t evolve in a compatible way, it means that both of your paths are meant to grow in the presence of someone else’s love. Accept this with grace and go easy on yourself.

.Y. Treat your body like the playground that it is. But within confines, because as has been noted by endless many throughout the ages, sex is not merely physical. It is emotional and it is psychological before it is ever physical (at least the amazing sex is). If you choose to give it away at every turn, be cognizant of the repercussions which that will bring.

In Islam this is recognized fully, by the way, and sexing your partner as often as possible is aces and highly recommended, else He would not have given us the orgasm, or the multiple.

To the boys: Have patience. Never expect sex, never demand sex, never ever belittle or humiliate a woman with whom you have been intimate.

To the girls: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait for the right man — not your first love, but rather your right love. Wait for the man who does not ask it of you; the one who does not expect it of you; the one who treats you and your body with the reverence you deserve, the one who wants to know your heart before he dives in to read your body.

To the both of you: Love of GOD, please don’t videotape or photograph yourselves. Please. Believe in the power of imagination instead, and leave some mystery to be desired. And, keep your mouths shut about the details. Look, we all need to speak to our BFFITWWW about the towers of experience in our lives and this is one of them. But out of respect for your partner, speak in general terms, not in specifics. (Also, see Number 3 above.)

.Z. As already mentioned, sex can be wielded as a weapon to oppress, manipulate, abuse, and harm women more than it can be used to do the same to men. Sex, when right, is the most incredible tool of communication, filled with warmth, kindness, loyalty, adventure, and a right good laugh.

Where it is the first, we need to teach our daughters that this is unacceptable, and we need to teach our sons that they are abusers when they behave in this manner. Absolutely under no circumstance is either acceptable.

Where it is the second, then by all means: indulge. And when you indulge, remember that you don’t have to sleep with them the first time, my love; and, you don’t have a de-facto obligation to sleep with them every single time after that. There is no room for coercion or obligation in the bedroom (or bathroom, or patio, or kitchen, or pier, or treehouse, etc.).

With all of the above in mind, I will close with one of my favourite quotes from Clarence Budinton Kelland, and leave the rest to your capable hands: “My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

Note 1: All of the above is written, as always, in Heteronese. Change to your sexual orientation as required, please.

Note 2: Re abuse – I above only speak about women due to sheer statistics; with that – men can and are abused and I do not mean to detract from their experience.

Image courtesy of VoiceOfUnity(dot)com.