January 6, 2015, Prescott- The man whom I am helping, with some aspects of his current homelessness, went with me to one of my favourite coffee shops, this afternoon. As we were talking about various subjects, the topic of girls and women came up. Specifically, his left-over pain at having lost his sister, to suicide, some years ago, because of their father’s failing to ever, once, validate her achievements or her worth. He has long known that gender has nothing to do with a person’s worth, and he misses her, to this day, as I would miss a sibling.
When I let the gentleman off, at a burger joint, and headed home for the night, I learned some things about how a person I love, as if she were my own child, has been treated, over the past few years. To say I am livid, is a mild understatement. There is not much I can do in this situation, ethically or legally, except vent, in the most opaque ways possible. There is no point in muddying the waters of a situation which will be resolved, by cooler heads than mine.
So, generally speaking, in this year 2015, why are we still debating the same issue that our grandparents were considering, in 1945? In 1905? Why is anyone, in his right mind, looking at a woman, or a girl, as deriving her worth only from the men around her? Why are anyone’s God-given talents and abilities subject to the sanction of an overseer? Why does any male human require the person who is potentially his life partner, his equal in every respect that matters, the first teacher of his children, to be subservient?
We, in this society, love to throw stones at the Taliban, and other groups whom we perceive as having a medieval mindset. Yet, so many men, right here, right now- and of EVERY ADULT GENERATION, decree themselves Lords and Masters. I could never bring myself to do that.
My late wife and I had our share of struggles, misunderstandings and long debates. None of them ever had as their core some sort of false notion about me being somehow superior in our relationship. We were a team, of imperfect humans, and we were going to make it work. So, we did, through all manner of mishaps and foibles, many of them my own, and we never, once, went to bed angry.
I guess it’s because my self-worth did not depend on her obeisance. It depended on her approval, to some extent, and on her support, which never wavered. Girls, and the awesome adults they become when given the love and support they deserve, are a cornerstone of humanity. I never had a daughter, but there are so many in my world, whom I am proud to call friend- and would be very proud to call “my child”. It will ever be so.