My father, in his eighties, once commented, "You were raised by Hitler and Chamberlain; your mother was the former, I was the latter!"
Naming himself as an appeaser, in the classic stereotypical sense, suggested he knew in some deep place that he had not confronted his partner, in healthy and helpful ways, and by his withdrawal, gave away too much of the "playing field" to her wishes, needs, desires, hopes and directives. Both my sister and I were the recipients of our mother's wrath, in both physical and emotional abuse.
I carefully watched the two male teachers I had in public school, in grade seven and another in grade eight. Both were assertive, self-confident, self-respecting male motivators, inspirers, knowing and using their authority with both respect and discretion.
In high school, I watched more male instructors, without even knowing the meaning of the word "gay" or homosexual. Some seemed a little "whipped" in their marriages, others, single, seemed more likely to be having fun, both in their professions and in their lives.
In college, once again, I watched the differences between male and female professors...and they were many and startling. The males were interested in the "big" picture, while some of the females were more interested in the minutiae.
And there have been several supervisors, both male and female, most of whom I have tried to "get along" with, while one or two were just simply "out to lunch".
Covering municipal politics for fifteen years gave me a bird's eye view of how some men and women "wore" their political power. And that was revealing. I must say that women were a far more trustworthy source for a television interview; often the men played games with both their colleagues and the interviewer.
It was a brief stint as an incipient clergy that really opened my eyes to the reality that the institution had been "taken over" by women, with the complete and open complicity of the male leadership. Was this spinelessness, or political correctness?" Was it merely the sign of the times, or had the male preference for avoiding conflict merely fully bloomed?
Men were being accused of many things, while women were riding above the fray, with impunity, immunity and the support of the sisterhood.
Men, on the other hand, abandoned other men who were under seige.
After years of "doing my own inner work" I came to the conclusion that, in a first marriage of twenty-plus years, I was less of a partner than I could have been, believing that men were supposed to "accede" to their spouses wishes, for the most part. I did not stand up for my own point of view, but merely busied myself in extra-curricular activities, (the professional kind) in order not to have to face the reality of my own aloneness.
Now, I will do whatever I can to support other men in their pursuit of their highest potential as husbands, fathers, professionals and as grandfathers. And that does not include "bashing" women, or committing any kind of disrespect towards women.
As a father of three daughters, and the grandfather of three grand-daughters, I am most blessed and grateful to them all.