Raising sons / Výchova kluků - Rozhovor s Alem Palsicou
Al, thank you very much for your time and energy. The topic of raising boys is a very important topic to cover and women (including me, I am still learning) are sometimes quite desparate with their sons as the don´t really know, how to approach them and understand them better and raise them into healthy, proper men. …eventhough they wish to.
1) Al, could you say something more about yourself? How did you get to be engaged in the work you do around the theme of young boys, vision quests and rituals such leading sweat lodges, etc. What made you follow this path? Where do you get your inspiration or can you say something more about the traditions of the native americans. How are you connected to their wisdom?
I began this work when three single mothers of boys and spiritual sisters of mine, saw a need and I agreed to take their sons under my wing after a certain age, and guide them on their path to adult manhood. I have been walking on the red road of spiritual understanding from 1995 and so, the natural earth ways of attending to adolescent males was my instinctual approach. Sweat Lodge, Vision Quest and other native ceremonies was a normal part of my life by then and these boys also had been around these ways.
2) What is your view of a healthy female-male relationships in our modern society, what are the different roles, that should each part fulfill? Talking about “healthy” or proper men, what is, from your point of view, the model of a proper man? What is such a man like? And a woman? What should be the right aspects that we as parents should aim at, in the upbringing of our sons?
Wow! Question number two has a lot of big questions!
I like to use the terms masculine and feminine when speaking of the energy or spirit of one aspect or the other. The terms male and female or men and woman are used more to speak of the physical or cultural differences between the two. It is an important distinction that acknowledges the fact that men and women carry both the masculine and feminine energy within themselves.
I tend to look in how our roles developed naturally throughout our ancestral history. Men tended to be the providers and the physical protectors of the tribe. Women were the life-givers, and tended more to the nurturing and emotional well being of the people. Survival and wellbeing had a major impact in the roles that men and women assumed, and everyone did what he or she was best suited to do quite naturally, for the good of the tribe.
Native thought was to make male adolescence last a relatively short time. The tribe needed strong, healthy men contributing and giving their gifts to the wellbeing of all, in order to survive. The self-centered, unwise and soon to be powerful adolescent male was a detriment to the survival of the people. The boy must die so the man can be born. Many male rite of passage rituals have a symbolic death/rebirth aspect.
At one time, the men knew of their responsibility to guide, mentor and initiate their tribe’s adolescent boys. It was a clearer objective back then. Survival.
Since today’s roles for men and women are much less clear, and the question is about how I see the roles for each part, a better question to me is if the masculine and feminine energies are present in a reasonably balanced quantity? Is there enough energy provided for protection, provision, and nurturing and emotional wellbeing? Is there enough power and balance between the masculine and feminine energies? Who provides any of these different things, be it the man or woman does not really matter. The roles are determined and agreed to by the unique couple in relationship. And they can move and shift around between them as circumstances warrant. So, overall I do not have an absolute view on the role of a man or of a woman.
For me personally, I resonate naturally with the masculine energy more strongly as do most men. It fulfills me to provide for and to protect our tribe physically, and I look to a woman who naturally wants to provide the feminine nurturing and emotional support of our tribe.
In parenting a son, you might want to observe and notice his particular natural mix of masculine and feminine energies and support his most natural way of being.
3) I am a mother of three sons (10, 7 and 3 years) and I guide other women through the world of boys. Boys in our society, unfortunately, grow up surrounded mainly by women (mothers, grandmothers, kindergarten teachers, at schools…) .Are there any benefits of this modern phenomenon or is it that we are completely “out” of the natural and healthy way?
What is, from your point of view, the role of women/mothers in different age periods of the boys/sons?
I believe that all children, need both the softness of his mother or women and the solidness of his father or other men to be in balance within himself. I do not see any benefit of a boy being raised and influenced by only feminine energies. I believe that a boy’s exposure to and emergence in healthy masculine energy is vital to his wholeness.
A male child needs his mother. Indeed it starts with his survival and her nourishing supply of milk. He naturally remains close to her side and under her protection for several years. At the time he shows a change in his relationship to girls his age, when the testosterone in his system increases and the sex drive awakens, he is ready to go with the men for instruction and initiation. As mothers during this time you must let him go and indeed encourage him to embrace the next step in his journey to full adult man. Holding him under your skirts longer than necessary will only hinder his confidence and self esteem, two vitally important characteristics in a healthy human.
4) From my observation, women generally have difficulties in accepting boy’s high yang energy (active, warrior energy) desire in fights, big adventure, facing physical challenges. What are the most “common mistakes” or indulgences of women that restrict the natural, healthy development of boys, even though they mean it well but mostly react from their own fears.
Women that have difficulties accepting their son’s masculine essence often unconsciously plant in their sons spirit the feeling that something very basic is wrong with him. His very nature is somehow “wrong” and unwanted. He cannot trust himself because he is defective and unacceptable in some deep and indefinable way.
I have a deep compassion for the fears and wounds that these women suffer, but passing on to your son these fears about his essence is not the healing we all need. Healing your personal wounds and fears is the best help for your son.