Friday, December 28, 2012
Bravery by any other name...
Sometimes we get lessons free on a plate.
Even when we least expect it.
And sometimes that lesson comes from a very sad place indeed.
The Sandy Hook massacre really touched the rest of the world. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are, what you are, when you hear a story like this one, you can't help but feel something.
Especially at a time like this.
Losing a child has been described as the worst thing that can happen to a human being.
One doesn't need to be a parent to 'get' this.
It was never going to be 'routine' to have to bury your own child.
The lesson I learned from this tragic event in our recent history is surprisingly nothing to do with the gun debate. As a Brit, I come from a country that is not as 'gun friendly' as America.
But I actually now live in a country with the same gun laws as America. Except there is nowhere near the litany of tragedies that America has, over in Switzerland. It may not be the about the guns per se...
No, the lesson I learned is that there are many more good people around than we think.
I am therefore really proud that I never forget the (minority) of good women still around, despite my dismay with the greater majority who are not up to scratch (which includes myself, of course).
When there are stories about brave men who protect women to the extent that they sometimes lose their lives in the process, we are awed and respectful of these men.
Stories circulate on Manosphere blogs about how courageous they are.
I agree wholeheartedly. These men show us all their glory and honour, even in death.
But one thing puzzles me with these stories.
Not by any means a universal phenomenon, but I notice some men use these stories as a way to chastise women in a sweeeping manner.
"See? We men protect you lasses. You are not worth protecting anymore. In any case, you wouldn't protect me in a similar situation..."
A woman was never meant to protect a man in a physical sense. There are many other ways a woman can be of use to a man. Yes, women are not being what they should be to men these days. I know that. But the accusation that women would not seek to protect a man in a physically dangerous situation is tantamount to a woman berating a man for not wanting to give birth.
It does not make sense.
The Sandy Hook teachers demonstrated to me the natural order of things.
Men protect women.
Women protect children.
Not to say that there are no exceptions to this rule. Occasionally, one hears of a woman saving a man's life, or a 5 year old boy saving his diabetic mother's life by calling an ambulance when she slips into a coma...
I am pretty sure that not all of those six brave teachers who died last week were mothers.
But they still did the maternal thing.
Those of them who were mothers did not stop to think about their own children, but those children who were under their care in the here and now. Those kids became their kids in that fateful moment of danger.
At least two of these teachers were found with their bodies shielding at least one child from the rain of bullets that hailed around them.
Those women were just as brave as the men who risk their lives for others in high profile as well as low profile cases.
In all humility, these people, irrespective of gender who perform these heroic acts deserve our utmost respect. Whether it is because they are 'doing their job' or just volunteering their services when it is called for without thinking twice, it is still bravery.
I would just hope that I would do the same if called upon to do so.
But of course, I will never know until I am in that situation...
There is no argument that men are the physical 'pillars of strength' that protect all of society. This is one good reason every man deserves respect. Just for being a man. (I mean this).
But let us not forget the women who are just as courageous and will not shirk from protecting those more vulnerable/weaker than them.
And let us not forget the good women who continue to inspire men to be men, without demanding anything or defining their masculinity for them. But simply by virtue of retaining their femininity.
The long hard climb out of the cesspit will not be possible without these women.