Women, Teach your Sons

I watched a powerful and inspiring video by Lisa Nichols (see at bottom of this article) about her choices that led to being in an abusive relationship and struggling with depression.
I listened to her share the story of how her father took her out on a date as a young girl and treated her like a queen.

At the end of the evening, he told her "I showed you what you deserve to be treated like, what you choose to be treated like, is up to you."

I remembered my own Dad.
I am one of the lucky ones. My Dad, Father of FIVE daughters- did exactly the same for each of us.

I remembered how on "date night" my Dad would go out of the house and walk up the steps to ring the doorbell to "pick us up" for our date.
"If a boy ever honks his horn for you to come out to the car- you won't walk out that door- I will." He used to tell us.

I watched another great video a few days ago that I shared on my Facebook page- of men discussing sexism.

One of the things they said was how Sexism isn't a Women's problem... it's a MEN PROBLEM that women have to deal with.

I thought that statement was profound.

I reflected upon myself as a mother. Who better to teach BOYS how to treat a Woman... than a woman?

We've been relying on men to teach men how to treat women and girls... but where are the females? Does a man REALLY understand the dialogue that goes on in a woman's mind and heart?
Perhaps some do.

I see a difference in "women vs men mentality" weekly if not daily as I work in the Fine Jewelry business.
Women and Teen Girls will comb over the jewelry cases filled with rubies, diamonds, necklaces, rings and more and say (ALL THE TIME) *Sigh. "I wish I had a guy that would buy me that." My reply to them is ALWAYS the same.

"I wonder if RIGHT NOW, a guy is out there looking at a Four Wheeler hoping someday he'll find you to buy it for him?"

When MEN come into the Jewelry store... they buy themselves watches, chains, dog-tags etc. Single men, married men, retired men, widowed men... if they want something, they find a way to get it.

This routine behavior I witness over and over again- reflects to me the gap between gender thinking. As progressive as our culture appears to be... we still have dominant cultural expectations based solely on being a woman versus a man.

Years ago, I dated a man who had never had children. The relationship never really started or got off the ground, but there was a conversation we had that he said "It's intimidating to date a single mom with 3 kids because it's a lot to take on. I'm not sure if I can take care of you all financially."
I was offended and confused.
"I don't understand why you think that's what I expect?" I replied. At the time, I was supporting my entire family financially and had been for years, I had my own career, car, home, and money. I lived in my own place and fed my kids with or without struggle.
I realized that it wasn't something I PROJECTED out onto this man- but that it was his OWN cultural expectations of what his role would be, that created that conversation.

As the pendulum swings; later on, I was in a relationship with a man who wanted to "take care of everything" (at least on the side of appearances) It was important to him that he always paid for dinners and activities for my kids and I whenever we were together. It was also important that he was acknowledged for it and "seen" doing it by other people.
He would comment on the "way it looked" if I carried my purse into a restaurant or retail store. It gave the message he didn't take care of me.
This was a volatile relationship and after a handful of times being stranded after an argument with no money or purse or way to get home or call an Uber... I refused to go without my purse regardless of his bruised ego.

FINALLY, I learned balance.
The relationship I'm in now is about partnership. We are both equal and empowered. Neither of us has an addiction to being the "Savior" for one another. We support each other, encourage one another... but most importantly- recognize that we are EACH capable of whatever we want.
We have communication about finances, we pamper EACH other- we are BOTH romantic for each other, we BOTH pay the dinner bill off and on or fill each others car with gas or pay for popcorn or movies... WE ARE EQUALS. That doesn't mean that there aren't weekends he doesn't pay for every cent... in fact, it took MONTHS into our relationship before he felt comfortable when I offered to pay for one of our dinners. But his "come from" wasn't about ego- it was his love and respect and wanting to serve.

                                                                                                photo credit Hannah Celeste Photography

Early into our relationship, we had a conversation after having some financial setbacks come my way- I was sharing about the pressure I was feeling and he taught me about how he viewed me by his simple response. "I know you got this. You'll figure it out- and if you need money- you know you can ask."
With that simple statement he told me he viewed me as powerful, capable and competent... it also told me that he was there as a support and safety net if I didn't catch the trapeze bar when I jumped.

                                                                                               Photo credit aircraftaerialarts.com

I remember shopping with my sweetheart in a jewelry store last year on vacation and looking over some expensive pieces, deciding which item I liked best.
The salesman there looked over to my sweetheart and asked which one I had permission to get.

My Sweetheart laughed. "She can have anything she wants. It's her money and her business."

What a window into the way our culture thinks. Even in our "Progressive First World" country. The automatic assumption that the man I was with was paying for my things.

The POINT is: It's up to ALL of us to teach mutual respect of each other regardless of Gender.
It's not a MAN'S job to teach their daughters how to be treated- any more than it's a WOMAN'S.

Last night I took my boy's out on a "date." I took them out to teach them how to behave on a date.
Yes- I had them open doors for me, and pull out my chair.
I explained that whoever is the one who ASKED the other person on a date is the one who is expected to pay.
That you don't have business going to a restaurant unless you can afford what's on the menu plus appetizers and tipping well. And ps. your date MAY order the MOST expensive thing... to be prepared if so.
I taught my son's that if they take someone out on a date, they get to take the lead; they are the one's to plan the overall evening, to put their names on the waiting list at a restaurant- etc.
It's not because they are male, but because they are the one's who initiated the date.
                                                  photo credit Eighteen at the Radisson
As a Datee' I taught the boys, if someone takes YOU out on a date MALE OR FEMALE- order whatever you want, but it's typically good manners to order something right in the middle of the price-point on the menu.
To be grateful, but there's NO strings attached regardless of what you choose to eat or drink.
They used their napkins and correct silverware.
We laughed and shared stories.
When the bill came, I taught them how to TIP.
Divide by FOUR. (25%) ALWAYS err on being generous. You'll get better service and it's an act of abundance that brings you abundance.
PLUS... it's easier math. Just DIVIDE the bill in half twice.

Then... they walked me to the car, gave me hug, and opened the door for me.

It's MY RESPONSIBILITY as a MOTHER, as an ADULT, to teach my children the "rules" of dating. The way to treat another human being.
It's not a MAN's job- it's ALL of our job.

My boys' will grow and do whatever they do. They have lessons to learn and mistakes to make. But as a Mother- I'll do my best to teach my best.
And if NOTHING else.... we got to spend some time together and laugh and try new food.

It's time for change. It's time for accountability for us all.
It's time for equality, where we question dogma and where we offer mutual respect.

I'm excited to see the next few generations. They are strong, they are growing up with a greater sense of the world around them and global community. We all have a part to play. Let's make it Balanced and Honoring of ALL humans. Women and Men.

Learn more about me at https://www.katiejodrum.com/

See the Lisa Nichols Video here:


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