Today, more and more community activists are endeavoring to reinstate men to their “rightful places”. This has frightened me over the years because what is perceived as the man’s “rightful place” is based on a traditional role of male supremacy and gender inequality. And it is my opinion that this is what has led our society and many other societies into the gender-war arena. Male supremacy is not always presented in overt terms, but it is subtly propagandized by spiritual leaders who sway thousands to hear and believe what they call “thus saith the Lord”. The greatest voices to maintain the “woman’s place” in society are the spiritual leaders. I believe this is the number one reason we have a male leadership crisis.
I need to remind you that the male leadership crisis is not the overwhelming increase of female leaders but the failure of males to work as team players and co-transformational leaders with their wives in their homes and other females in society. When female presence becomes intimidating, those who believe in male dominance say the male response is diminished. Hence, for the male to feel “like a man again,” he resorts to other means of power dominance – family abuse, perverted sexual relationships, or criminal activity. In reality, spiritual leaders haven’t done much to teach men how to share leadership, negotiate, or become partners with the ones they promised to “cherish until death”. The emphasis from the pulpit has been for too long that husbands are to lead rather than cooperate and become true partners with their wives.
There is clearly a male leadership crisis in our country. However, the problem is not the overwhelming presence of female leadership, but the diminishing force of male leaders. Male leadership should not be in competition with female leadership, but in cooperation with it. Also, it is a mistake to believe that all males are destined to be leaders in the home, community, school, or church. Leadership is a gift not based on genetic or hormonal makeup. Leadership is a calling not a biological structure.
We are reaping the traditions of our past – a past that so glorified the power of male leadership that we have never learned how to collaborate, cooperate, or effectively negotiate with the leadership strength of our female counterparts. In fact, the male ego internally defuses the recognition of any possible female gifts of leadership. What segment of our society has been mostly affected by this tradition and the lack of collaborative male-female leadership? It is the home. It’s the home that rules the nations, not the man nor the woman.
Men, if we want a better society with less violence, more productivity and growth, then we must be willing to sit at the bargaining table with our female counterparts and learn how to respect, appreciate, and value our differences. Thus, creating a unifying and stabilizing force that can stem the tide of family dysfunction.
God designed it so that society, community, and the home, cannot survive without male-female collaborative leadership. During ancient Bible times, when a man got married, he was not allowed to go to war with the army for at least one year after the wedding ceremony. He was to remain at home with his wife. Today, men are doing the opposite. They are trying to get out of the home after marriage.
Our elementary schools are badly in need of male leadership. Not as opposed to female leadership, but in collaboration with it. Our boys are in crisis because the fathers are not in the home, neither are they in church or school. The mother is then left to carry the load. This is causing us to raise a society of angry, empty, and desperate males, whose leadership skills are centered on guns, drug sale, sporty cars, sexual escapades, and a pocket full of money.
Please, dear readers, let’s not make our forefathers’ mistake: Making our men feel that their task is to take over leadership, and that if they fail to do so, then society will suffer. This is a formula for a sick society. In today’s post-modern society, our task is to teach our men to lead their own lives first, not the lives of others, and to become productive, happy, well-balanced persons. Another important task today is to teach our men to collaborate with female leaders. Thus, creating what I call the male-female collaborative leadership force. If we continue to train our sons to believe that women are in competition with men and that their style of leadership is not as effective, then we will continue to have war and not peace.
• Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to email@example.com or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002.