I think our sons are facing a serious existential crisis as they become men.
For a start; They will not have women willing to wait on them hand and foot like our mothers did our fathers; they will not have women put their careers and their lives on hold for the ‘sake of the children’, like my generation was taught to do.
They will have women, who have honed the art of negotiation, women skilled in business and equipped to drop them without a backward glance should they become sluggards.
I used to worship with the Redeemed church, 90 per cent of the church’s functions centred around women programs and the themes ranged from- empowering women to learning new skills to teaching women to handle troubled kids; raise super-achieving children, become better wives and learn how to handle the in-laws. They taught us to be supportive wives who can manage conflict at home and at the office…
So, one day I asked our pastor, ‘Why aren’t there programmes for men? Why do women have almost five to six programmes per year and men have just one or many times none at all?’
‘Ha, you know our daddies are always busy, they will not show up.’ I was told. ‘If we organise programmes, they won’t be able to come, you know they are the bread winners.’
So nada to them?
Anyway, today the story is the same and more intense; NGOs, churches, private and public institutions are still empowering women and while my generation of women had been taught to dumb down on their ambitions to make their men shine, the millenials are more brazen, there’s no dumping of any ambition whether real or imagined, these young women are daring and don’t have any of the inhibitions we suffered from.
I was at a conference a few weeks back, conferences like the one I attended attract plenty of young women, the ones who know where they are going and how to get there.
There I learned that there are more female entrepreneurs under 30. Thanks to businesses in the beauty and food sectors; many of the traditional jobs women had taken for granted are now multimillion naira businesses; there are dieticians, Twitter jockeys, female food specialists, fashion designers, painters, bloggers.
Occupations women have always gone into just to pass time are now full time jobs that rake in millions and these girls aren’t ready to be dragged behind by any man.
They aren’t listening to people telling them not to buy their own homes, fancy cars or go clubbing because you see, they don’t need their permission.
I work with young people, both male and female professionals and many times it is the girls who rise to the top; they come in on the job as novices and are always eager to learn, willing to explore and do things differently and in the space of a few months, perhaps even a year or two, they’ve honed their skills and are ready to fly to bigger challenges.
I haven’t seen much of that with our boys; the job always seem like something they need to occupy themselves with for a while. Of course, the pay is never enough, so they appear to dawdle on the job, until something ‘big’ comes along. However, there’re exceptions.
Now this is my opinion. I would have no business with this if I didn’t have a son but the truth is, our boys aren’t pulling their weights enough and the girls have noticed and they are kicking them like bad habits…(bad habits aren’t so easy to drop…but you catch my drift.)
At the recent event, you should have seen the deafening applause that followed after a female millenial announced her success story without the help of a man, like yeah, I don’t need a man.
While nothing is wrong with it, I worry that the general message being conveyed is that men are hindrances to women succeeding.
Yes, we have a few bad apples among the men, ok, we have many bad apples but there are also a few good ones who are being mentored by decent people.
Our young women are listening, mostly, to women of my generation telling them not to ‘manage the man’; they are telling them the men do not matter for their lives to be complete; a complete turnaround from the gospel that was preached to my generation. Woman without her man is nothing…(even this is double speak)
After all the talk at the gatherings, I came off feeling not good that while the girls had a support system they could rely on, they have mentors they can call on, our boys, at most times, are on their own, they are learning the tricks of life by themselves as they go along.
So, where are the men who should mentor our young men?
Where are the women who should teach these ones skills they taught their girls, because the way the world is now, there’re no alpha males protecting the pack, there are now amazons surrounding the clan.
Are we still telling the boys it’s ok to just earn a degree and wait for that low paying white collar job? Are we encouraging them to pick up hobbies and grow it into a business?
Are we teaching them patience, perseverance and a thirst for knowledge as we tell the girls?
Shouldn’t we start classes on topics like how to be a great father? How to be a good husband?
Shouldn’t we teach skills they will need for their generation as the old ‘i am a man’ thingy is out of fashion?
Let’s help our lads or it will be for them, one string of broken heart after another and they won’t be the only casualty here, the girls will be as well.
We need each other.