Father’s Day is upon us and though mine is no longer at my side, I am grateful for the strength and wisdom he shared with me. As I look at my little grandson, I wonder what lies ahead for him and how he will navigate the roles that have historically been assigned to men. Somehow, despite the volcanic-like eruptions that are causing cultural shifts, rocking our world and testing our beliefs, I have a great sense of peace as I watch him play. He has a village around him showing him that there is a better approach, teaching him that he can stand in his own without standing in another’s way.
It’s been a tough couple of years for men. One wakeup call after another as female energy stirs ever stronger, bubbling up and pushing to come into alignment and changing what has always been. Nothing can last forever when its out of balance, the laws of the universe demand equilibrium. And, though it swings wildly, the pendulum eventually comes to rest.
From the #MeToo movement which deals specifically with sexual violence to the #TimesUp movement which is a broader conversation that layers on workplace equity and creating equal economic opportunities for women and people of color - we have the ability through the media, both social and traditional, to shine the light on the inequity that is so pervasive in our world.
The stories are coming to us fast and furiously, a firehose of information that can leave us feeling untethered, at times empathetic voicing our solidarity, at others paralyzed, waiting for the next wave of information. Waking up is not easy. Rousing out of a semiconscious and foggy state, you stretch, blink your eyes and begin to think of how to proceed with your day. And so it is on a much grander scale as the world awakens.
Its disconcerting, upsetting, exciting, encouraging and, timely. A lot of amazing and wonderful men may feel like they have been caught up in a tidal wave, their good character and worthwhile intentions lumped in with those that have not represented their gender well. Unfortunately, whenever there is a shift, those with the most to lose come out from under the rocks fighting to hold on to the things that no longer serve the entire community. They are generally a small, but loud and forceful, group that leave unwanted dings and dents. Fortunately, ones that can be repaired as our foundation is strengthened.
I have been one of the fortunate ones. I have been blessed with male mentors who saw my potential, encouraging me to strive for the handful of executive seats open to women. For a period of time, I was the only female federal criminal prosecutor in my office. As General Counsel of various multinationals, I was often the only woman in the C-suite. I’m not saying it was easy but really, what is? It is not a path I traveled alone though hindsight has given me a more balanced perspective.
To the men who are our cheerleaders as we take the road less traveled, please know that we see you and we honor you. We ask that you continue to stand strong with us, grateful for the broader discourse we bring to the table. We know the kitchen is hot these days and there are those that have backed away from the flames, afraid of the communal backlash, concerned they will be tainted, good intentions thwarted. To find the balance, we need you now more than ever.
We are in the middle of a cultural transformation, one that will bode well for the entire human race. Like you, I have no idea how long it will take to reach equilibrium. I suspect awhile and that’s OK, we have much to sort through to ensure that we don’t backtrack or go too far the other direction. I would be far more concerned if there were no movement at all, if we were stuck in the doldrums at sea with no ability to get to shore.
I am clear about one thing – it will take every single one of us, every man and woman, working in tandem to get to a place where our actions are not about gender, but about humanity.
Copyright © 2019
Linda Lattimore – all rights reserved