suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: men

have compassion for the white guy: a woman’s thoughts on the 2016 election results

In the beginning, there was light. And not too soon after, came the white guy.

The white guy has been ruling the world ever since. The white guy always calls the shots. He’s the pack leader, the policy maker, the merchant trader, the lead teacher, the insider, the gatekeeper, the holy translator, the tax collector, the pulpit speaker, the declarative writer, the slave maker. People listen to the white guy and obey the white guy because he makes the rules… and enforces them by whatever means he deems necessary.

Times are changing, though, as times do, and the status of the white guy is changing with them. He is no longer the collective demagogue. His power recedes toward a more balanced place, as a diverse contingent of humans leans into American leadership — first inaugurating a brilliant man of color, and next a brilliant women of strength. The White Guy Only Club is quickly becoming irrelevant.

Can you imagine how scared and vulnerable the white guy must feel? If he doesn’t rule the world, what is his purpose? How does he define himself? Does he lose his place on the inside? What then? Who is he? Why is he?

He doesn’t know how it feels to be us. He doesn’t know the frustration or the fear, the dependence or the desperation, the lack or the limitation. The white guy only knows how to rule.

So what will the white guy do in response to his release from autonomy? Willingly share his white guy power by welcoming women and people of color into the fold with open arms? Abandon his role completely in frustration? Or take up arms and battle his way back to complete control?

Life happens in the transitions — those times when we humans show the best and the worst of ourselves. I pray that the upcoming transition is one of peace and fairness. I pray that the white guy thinks beyond his traditional status. I pray for love and forgiveness and perspective and radical acts of sanity (JKZ). I pray for my kids. I pray for your kids. I pray for women and men and light people and dark people. I pray that each of us who lives by faith acts in accordance with it. I pray for Americans to see one another as brothers and sisters. I pray for kindness, for surrender, for pause.

And I pray for the white guy. Because life happens in the transitions – and transitions can be really hard.

Headshot Vanessa 3

Vanessa Gobes is a meditation teacher and workshop facilitator, focusing her work in Greater Boston. She co-founded Chrysalis Meditation Center in 2015 in Winchester, Massachusetts, where she especially enjoys introducing mindfulness techniques to women and children. Vanessa continues to write about mindfulness, motherhood, and mayhem with humor and truth for a long list of online publications.


boys won’t be boys

Men completely baffle me.  No offense, guys.  As a gender, you’re real go-getters – strong, handsome, and a very necessary component in procreation.  But honestly, between the insatiable need for power (be it in the form of money, attention, strength or remote control handling) and the twisted inclination towards professional wrestling, porn and realistically bloody video games, I can’t decide if I should run away from you screaming in terror or just move into a lesbian commune and wash my hands of you entirely.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately thinking about men.  Young men.  Well, boys really.  I’m rearing one currently.  He’s four, the caboose on a train of three older girls.  Generally, he’s very sensitive and sweet.  He cares about people and animals.  He articulates his feelings and is well-behaved.  At least I think he’s all of those things…  until he finds a stick on our post-winter lawn and immediately begins whacking the dog with it.  Then imagines that stick as weapon and fires it dramatically at his sisters who are chalking quietly in the driveway.

There are more boyish antics, of course.  The tasmanian-devil-style thrashing he displays for what seems to be no reason at all.  The make-pretend enactments of a werewolf mauling a honey badger in the forbidden forest.  The wet sponge ambushes on his sisters at bedtime as they brush their teeth.

I never taught him these things.  I’m pretty sure my husband didn’t either.  We don’t initiate or encourage this type of play.  But he’s a boy.  And he seems naturally wired for bursts of destruction.

This is no excuse.  Absolutely not.  I refuse to lie down and say, “Boys will be boys.”  I’m fighting this overused saying, not with my sharp claws or stick weapons, but with kindness, discipline and love.

I’ve also enlisted my daughters to teach our wild little wolf cub how to become a respectable human being since girls generally enter life with more compassionate tendencies.  It’s not a hard lesson, really, this lesson in compassion.  But it needs to be taught daily.  Daily.  Daily.  Daily.

This past weekend I had 7 kids here for a sleepover.  We watched Indiana Jones.  During the blood and guts portions, they watched unfazed.  But when Indy started making out with his leading lady, the kids all belted out, “Eeeeewwww!!!  Disgusting!  Hide your eyes!”

I was appalled, “You little turkeys mean to say you’ll watch happily as bloody monkey brains are served for dinner but Doctor Jones planting a kiss on his girlfriend makes you want to throw up?  Come on!  Love is beautiful and natural.  Hurting people is eeeeewwwww.  Get your priorities straight, small people!”

Whether or not my words hit home, I’m unsure.  My intent, however, is always deeper than a 30 second lecture at a sleepover party, or even a 500 word essay on mothering a typical boy.

Mothers of boys have a precious opportunity to co-create and inspire young boys who become compassionate and mindful men.  There are no other more important qualities for a man to possess.  When all actions, all intentions, all thoughts are created with mindful compassion, humans will be on our way to world peace.  And we mothers are 100% responsible for instilling this quality in our sons.

The end of sex-trafficking?  The solution to corporate greed?  The dissolution of hate crimes?  The pacification of violence?  This can all happen through compassion.

We spend so much time trying to fix the problems we have.  Counsel the women who have been exploited.  Mend the planet that has been ravaged.  Heal the people who have been pained.  Why not skip the pain and spend that time nurturing boys who value love over destruction?

No four-year-old boy thinks, “When I grow up, I want to pimp out 14 year old girls…  Or maybe I’ll be a bigot…  Or a banker who invests in companies that rape our planet of resources…  Or maybe a dictator that stockpiles nuclear weapons.”  I know mine doesn’t anyway.  So while they’re young, and while we mommies have control, let’s teach our boys how to love a woman, how to love a planet, how to love their enemies.  The world will thank us for it in 30 years or so.

Please share this post with mothers of boys…  or anyone you think might enjoy it.  I so appreciate your shares, likes, tweets and comments.  Peace!

From mine to yours,



Two of XG’s big sisters coach him through an Air & Space exhibit. He’s in control… at least he thinks he is.