Reverse is Not An Option


March 8, 2023- The forlorn young woman entered the classroom I was supervising, a bit into the sixth hour of classes and sat down on the carpet. I asked if she were simply late to class, she shook her head “No” and asked to be left alone. She was not in the class, but needed a safe space. One of her friends came in, shortly after, and sat with her until she was able to let her tears out and recuperate from what had bothered her.

Dealing effectively with teenagers, or with children, for that matter, is often a hallmark of discernment. Enforcing the letter of the law: “Get back to your scheduled class!” would have been an abysmal and tone deaf response. Going over and fawning over her plight, when it was obvious that privacy was in order, would have been equally ridiculous. She was bothering none of my students and, in fact, was going to be in the very next class, anyway.

Today is International Women’s Day. As with many movements where progress has been made, over the past two decades, there is push back from vested interests that seek to cast the advancement of women and girls in a negative light-equating giving equal rights to half the population with depriving the other half of “hard-earned” prerogatives.Yet, it is not the case that treating women fairly is the sole province of progressives. Many strong, independent women have been raised by parents of conservative polity. They may, or may not, share their parents’ views, but they are loved by those parents, regardless.

As always, we do well to remember that human rights are not a zero sum game. There is plenty of room for everyone at the table. One must choose what to do with money, time and energy. The same is not true, with respect to rights under the law. Those seeking to turn back the clock need to remember that, or choose to fail.

The young woman in question came into the seventh class of the day and cheerfully participated in the group activity, having gotten a handle on whatever was bothering her before-with neither “correction” nor pampering, from any adult.

Embracing The Whole


March 8, 2022- Two widely-circulated photos of recent vintage have circulated around the Internet. One is the shot of two conservative Congresswomen loudly heckling the President of the United States, during a point in his State of the Union address, last week. The other is that of a small group of Russian teenagers, sporting a nationalist, presumably pro-war, symbol on their outfits.

It is often tempting to think of women and children as universally being the nurturing and the nurtured, thus lending one’s thinking towards their being universally progressive and all-accepting. Such a mindset, not giving allowance for them as complete, complex human beings, besides being somewhat condescending, misses the chance to connect with a sizeable group of people who simply view the world differently-and not always in a bad way.

Those who resist progressive thought may have a thousand different reasons for their views. Not all of it, in fact very little of it, has to do with being brainwashed by men who are seeking dominance and obedience. I have several women friends who have stood up and thrown domineering, abusive men out of their lives-and who hold true to very conservative, traditional values. Many young people have done considerable research, across a variety of viewpoints and media, and still adhere to a traditionalist take on public affairs and personal business.

Where I draw the line, for those at any point on the political spectrum, is seeking to deprive those of differing viewpoints of their right to free expression. Thus, the whole idea of rolling back voting rights is anathema to me, whereas a return to the practices of respect for others, following a modicum of social order, that is based on civility towards one’s fellow humans and taking responsibility for one’s actions, are central to the core of my being. The first concept is a progressive value: Everyone over the age of 18 who is a citizen in good standing should be able to cast a ballot in their community’s elections, clear to the national level. The rest are identified with conservatives, but really do justice to every human being, regardless of where they stand ideologically.

I think of these matters today, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Let everyone live their truth, and seek to gently educate those whose statements and actions show want of adjustment, in light of facts.

The Fast: Day 8- Fidelity


March 9, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday was the official International Women’s Day.  I was in the company of my two beautiful co-workers, during the day.  Both have men in their lives, who are luckier than either woman might sometimes suppose.  As an aside, it occurs to me that every day should be Women’s Day.

My mind today, the last day before Spring Break, has been on fidelity.  Faithfulness is the mindset, and chastity the outcome, of a person who feels fidelity, loyalty, to another human being.

I was faithful to Penny, all those years.  There were times when other women would flirt with me, and she made it clear that we’d all get clobbered, if they kept it up.  She needn’t have ever worried.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  The proof of that became clear to her, when we circled the drain together, those eight years.  I stayed close; kept hope alive.  I guarded her from those whose sole concern was getting their hands on what little money we had.  I spoke up for her when an emotionally clumsy male nurse made her cry.

Since I’ve been back on my own, my fidelity has been to friends and to my charges.  Some get it; some don’t.  I have a friend, whom I have at times regarded as my best friend, who has adopted a distance, ostensibly for reasons of our differences in spirituality, which are in truth, basically semantic.  I respect that distance, and stay away.  Most of my friends, even the most emotionally needy, know  full well where my loyalties lie.

I spent this evening, with a few such people, in the comfort of devotional drumming.  We used Baha’i Scripture and prayers for this, but there are many traditions.  Here is the Indian drummer, Sivamani, accompanying a Hindu woman in song.

Always Regal


March 8, 2017, Prescott- 
Some thoughts on the occasion of International Women’s Day:

Women, at least from what I can see, want what men want-

Respect, dignity, appreciation, the right to strive, the right to achieve, the chance to succeed, avoidance of typecasting.

I would not be anywhere near the man I am, were it not for Mother’s diligence in her job.

I would be far lesser a person, had it not been for my wife’s undying love and encouragement.

I would not be as loyal a friend, had my sister not been the true and loyal friend she has been, for 64 years.

My world would be bleaker, without many female friends, ranging in age from ten to eighty.

Much is still made of beauty- but it is the kind of beauty radiating from within, that sustains any person, in perpetuity.

Comely women need to be viewed as humans, with the same needs and wants as anyone else, or the viewer is missing a variety of points.

When a task requiring many hands presents itself, a full crew of both genders is the most productive.

I shudder at a world, in which women are barred from exercising their talents and faculties.

Blessed International Women’s Day!