10 Male Traits That Beat Verbal Agility

I’ve had some discussions recently about why men can’t express what they are feeling and thinking. It’s a guessing game sometimes; a seemingly trap at other times.

While it makes for an interesting discussion of feelings and thoughts expressed verbally vs. remaining silent, I think there are more important traits than verbal agilityHere are my top ten:

1) Sincerity: If a man ventures to speak, the last thing I want to hear are words said to placate me. If I ask, I really want to know. If you make a gesture make it count and speak for the words you can’t say.

2) Action: Who hasn’t heard “actions speak louder than words”?Take up a cause and work toward it; clean out the garage without being asked; hold the door for me (yes, I’m completely old-fashioned in that regard); and most importantly, defend those who can’t defend themselves – and don’t feel the need to brag about it.

3) Strength: Physical strength; strength of character; make decisions and live by them, take responsibility for decisions; cry when the situation calls for crying. Know who you are and be that person.

4) Family Man: This one’s a biggie. It doesn’t cover only spouse and offspring, but other family members – co-workers; community; fellow organization members.

5) Picks Up His Own Underwear!: It shows flexibility and trainability; conscious of the little things that matter.

6) Independent: No clinging unless our lives depend on it or we’re sledding.

7) Humor! A sense of humor makes up for a multitude of sins and balances my lack of a sense of humor.

8) Good Listening Skills: Sometimes you need to just listen.

9) Confidence: Specifically in knowing what you don’t know and that it’s okay to not know. No excuses or made-up answers.

10) Laid-Back: Not so laid-back you don’t respond! Most women really do need this balance. Our lives are so frenetic a man who isn’t adding stress to an already stressful life is a bonus. When I get annoyed with your “laid-backness”, I don’t really mean it – not long-term anyway.

“Never Forget”

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11. A Tuesday. Bright, sunny, cloudless. A clean slate on which to write our future. Will it be one of anger and justification. Or of love and peace.

9/11. We must “never forget”, people say. Indeed. But we must be cognizant in our “not forgetting” to know what it is we are remembering not to forget.

We MUST learn to be more tender to each other. More forgiving. More inclusive. Looking beyond the face of despair, fear and anger and choose instead to see peace, kindness, and strength.  Those traits that should be duplicated and worn as badges, allowing them to emit a glow of positive energy that begets positive energy.

You are loved. As everyone should be loved. And we should learn to accept that generosity, because it is indeed, a generous gift.

If we are here, we matter. It matters that we share that love and work for a brighter future.

Anger Is A Cover Story

(I wrote this some time ago and never published it, thinking it was not the right time. Now, following a shooting at a church in Maryland, the time it seems, is at hand.)

It has been ten days since a gunman, Frank Smith, held hostages at Verso Paper in Jay, Maine. By all accounts, he had an “anger” problem. The media reported whatever they could snatch to make a story, much of which was inaccurate, but hey, they were first with inaccuracy.

I am bothered by the incompleteness of the story. The only media follow-up being the hostages were released and the gunman surrendered. Simple. Of course, had anyone been physically injured I’m sure it would have been covered differently. Violence sells. Tragedy, in general, sells.  Continue reading

Loneliness. Alone. Solitude.

Washing dishes is a chore from which I seldom shy. There’s something about attacking those microcosms in among the stacks of dirty dishes that I find satisfying. Few chores, can one do and get instant gratification as gazing on a sink of sparkling glass and silverware. I most often do them alone as the respite is quieting and welcome.

I have a friend who is on a new path on her life journey. She says she used to be alone, but not lonely. Now she feels she is both as she processes the end of her marriage. Continue reading