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'Fathers ate unripe and the teeth of sons takhine' 

Freeing men from the shackles of patriarchal culture

by Tamir Ashman

Fathers ate unripe, and children's teeth were takhina'   (Jeremiah 9:29)  

During the years that I have been dealing with men who behave violently in the marital/family space, I have heard countless shares of men about themselves as children and shares about their dealings with their fatherhood.  By listening to the recurring motifs revealed in the men's stories, I would like to describe the ancient male heritage that has been passed between fathers and sons for hundreds and thousands of years, as a whisper or an ancient melody that our fathers sang to their sons. The importance of this ancient melody lies in the fact that the mothers and fathers add to it, teach it and pass it on to their children. This legacy is therefore embedded in the narrative of the human race, perhaps from the day the gender division between men and women began. The purpose of the article is to illuminate   the oppressive side of the male heritage. The assumption is that the awareness of these parties may slightly minimize the damages that this   heritage causes to our children in particular and to society in general.  

I suggest we start the journey from our mother's belly.  Let us imagine that in the womb of the mother there are twins brother and sister. Already in their mother's womb can differences be found between boys and girls on an emotional level, i.e. in their ability to be in touch with their feelings? Is there a difference in their ability to communicate their emotional world in front of close people? Is there an innate and distinguishing difference in their ability to create intimate relationships?

In an interesting study conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia, they tried to understand and ask- Which gender, boys or girls, cry more after their birth? Observers in the delivery rooms in Sydney followed the first hour in the lives of hundreds of baby boys and girls, and counted the frequency of crying, and its intensity in the hour after birth.

The results of the study revealed that boys cry more than girls in the hour after their birth.

Every parent raising a baby knows that the child's basic language, before learning language and speech, is the language of crying.  As we listen to the baby's cry, we learn that there is a variety of crying styles, because crying in its essence is the baby's only possibility to organize and act against the helplessness of his dependent state. Crying allows a middle-aged baby to effectively communicate his inner world - the hungry, anxious, frustrated, tired and painful with the world of the adults responsible for raising him. As parents we cannot remain indifferent to the baby's cries  , and we will do everything to stop and improve these sawing sounds.

It is known that a newborn baby, raised in a human environment that does not listen and respond to his cries, will slowly   stop crying, will withdraw into himself, his immune system will be significantly damaged, and his life is even in real danger.         5cf58d_  
According to the experiment it turns out   that our boys are born just as sensitive and vulnerable as our girls. Hence the assumption is that boys' ability to communicate and express their world and emotional needs is the same as girls' innate ability. In other words,   boys have an innate ability to be in intimate relationships, to feel compassion and empathy for themselves and at a later stage also for others.

However, if for a moment we remember ourselves as mature males,  how we speak  our emotional world in front of people close to us, I am afraid we will receive a somewhat muted answer, _cc781905-5cde-3194- bb3b -136bad5cf58d_so far from the son's innate nature.  

From the stories of the men that came to my ears during my work, it seems   that the typical normative man has a very limited emotional vocabulary in his attempt to communicate his emotional world to his partner, which includes a limited repertoire   of sentences not shop style- 'I'm tired'  or in the extended version 'Leave me I'm tired' or 'What are you digging and getting into my veins?' 'I'm nervous' and more..

When I was five or six, I especially liked the song 'Danny Gibor' by Miriam Yelan Shtaklis. Today, with the passing of the years, I understand deeply why it was important for me to hear this song over and over again.   After all   the song "Danny Givor" is nothing but an anthem   a shaper of masculinity.

Danny Givor / Miriam Yalan Shtaklis

Mother said to me: Danny,
My son is brave and wise.
My child will never cry
My hands are small.

I don't cry at all.
I am not a cry baby.
It's just tears, tears
They cry on their own.

I gave a flower to a light bulb,
Small and beautiful and blue.
I gave an apple to a light bulb,
I gave everything.

Nurit ate the apple,
The flower threw in the yard
And she went to play
with another child.

I don't cry once,
I'm a hero, I'm not crying!
Why is this, mother, why
Crying tears on your own?


Much has been written and said about this poem, but still, if we dare to understand the personal tragedy of Danny, the little son, through an empathetic and compassionate observation,   we will understand something very deep about ourselves, and the attitude towards our child.  So in the song and so also in reality in the lives of many men. Already at preschool age, Danny, as a boy, learns the rules and norms of his kind - boys need and must learn to overcome and conquer their emotions.

Already at the age of five, "Danny Givor" has a healthy and pulsating emotional system, because   he has the ability to devote himself in relationships, to fall in love, to love, to be hurt, to be excited and to give.  Dani experiences in the song the basic complexity of love, which is  ephemeral and fleeting and always intertwined with sadness.  Danny is upset by initial feelings of heartbreak, and therefore he turns to his mother, in whom he still believes. The mother's basic role  , similar to the role of the father, is to bring the child together   with his emotional world, and to help him understand, digest, _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-1 36bad5cf58d_experience and transcribe his inner world. 
Danny's longing is for the mother's unconditional acceptance and recognition of his feelings. He expects the mother to give him a sense of normality, an experience of confirmation or validation of his feelings. But instead, Danny is faced with a mother who sacrifices her son on the altar of the accepted norms for boys/men, and this with words that sound like "cradles". In fact, in her "cradling" words, the mother attacks him and tells him to act like a hero, not to behave like babies and cry. This is the process of socialization (friendship). Therefore, Danny immediately forwards the social message,   and repeats and echoes his mother's words -

 I have never cried,
I'm a hero, I'm not crying!
Why is this, mother, why
Crying tears on your own?

Danny was thus erased as an individual and re-created as a social being. The price he pays for this socialization process is heavy. Danny's personal and collective experience ends in the process of Danny's alienation from his body and emotions. Danny's effort to control his emotions failed. He experiences the body as betraying him, while his tears cry by themselves.   Song   Folk children This, in essence,   is a song about betrayal. Apparently Nurit's betrayal of Danny, but actually the mother's betrayal of her son, and hence also Danny's betrayal of his body and emotions.

I have another memory, and it is also from compulsory kindergarten. I remember how one day in the garden yard, I saw a bee lying on its back. Excited by the opportunity, I began to closely examine the bee's body. I held out a fearless finger towards her stomach. The bee chose to end her life with my sting. I remember how the tip of my finger burned with sensations of pain I did not know. I went to the kindergarten teacher, whom I still trusted, with my finger   stretched out in her direction, while the palm of my other hand gripped her tightly. I told the kindergarten teacher that I was stung by a bee and it hurts terribly. The kindergarten teacher looked down at me and said 'I don't believe you!, you are lying!, if you had been stung you would have been crying long ago', I remember how the physical pain changed to an even more painful emotional pain.  The vocabulary I had then could not express my feelings, I held back until kindergarten ended, and I sat home, my mother opened the door of the house, and as I saw her, my whole body trembled, _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_My tears and cries gushed and burst from my throat, and how did my dear mother treat me? Did she provide me with the recognition and validation that I so desperately needed?

Plato said 'the soul to meet itself needs another soul', that is, the son needs adults to meet himself.   In practice, the son will often experience from the adult world   a long chain of empathic failures, of de-legitimization of his emotional system. When the child cries, in severe cases they will beat him, shout at him, mock him, lock him in the shower until he calms down, punish him and threaten him.   In the less serious, but no less devastating cases   he will be told 'You act like your sister!' Boys don't cry', calm down!!, nothing happened to you!!'  'Why are you crying, I don't understand why you are crying?!' , or various expressions of impatience and rejection, in view of the son's feelings.

The son's wish, like the daughter's, is to be unconditionally accepted into his family.  The son understands very quickly that in order to survive emotionally at home, he must not risk acquiring emotional words that would risk him being rejected and disliked by his parents and siblings.  

A friend  told me how his 8-year-old son Jonathan returned from a private music lesson for the first time, the father asked his son, 'How was your lesson, Jonathan?', Jonathan told the father enthusiastically, 'Dad was simply amazing, This teacher is lovely, and I really like him, when is the next lesson?, the lesson just ended and I already miss him.'  
Try to imagine the father's reaction,   How would you react if your son chose to get excited and put it this way?  

In this case the father was relatively self-aware. He refrained from directly attacking the boy, but he could not  avoid a shocked expression on his face, and of course Jonathan, the son, internalized their meaning, which became better   when he saw how the father He turned to his partner and asked her:  'What does Jonathan have? He's been talking very strangely lately.  And besides I'm not happy with this music teacher'.

When the son does not acquire a language that will comprehend his emotional world, he is unable to provide himself with recognition and acceptance of his feelings, and in the absence of recognition, the son loses his ability to listen to his needs and communicate them with others. His inner world is experienced in his eyes as aggressive and scary, so the son's repertoire of reactions is reduced to attack and flight. In this process, the son stops trusting and stops trusting himself and others, and perceives himself as weak and incapable.

Another example, one day I went to pick up my daughter from kindergarten,   I saw how father and son were leaving the kindergarten,   and I listened to their conversation, I saw how the son looked at his father and said to him in a sad and despairing voice 'Eric He beat me again today in kindergarten. I saw how the father's back stiffened, how his shoulders rose, and after a second of silence, the father answered in a scolding voice,   'Well, you hit him!, did you hit him back?!, I hope you didn't go sucker!', I saw How the son's small shoulders fall a little, his back becomes a little bent, and the two males continue their walk in silence.  

I understand the father's helplessness. One of our functions as parents is to teach our children (boys and girls) how to defend themselves against aggression directed towards them.   The father's reaction does not empower the child, it leaves him more alone, helpless and without tools to cope. The father chose to give advice without even being asked to give it.  In my opinion, it would have been better for the father to just listen, and to validate his son's feelings, to ask him questions about how the son organizes himself in such situations, to tell him a memory  of a similar person from his own childhood ,   and endless other creative ways.

What's more: a thirty-year-old man started a therapeutic process.  In the second meeting he wanted to show me pictures of his family from the mobile. He showed me a picture of his wife, his daughter   and a picture of his six-year-old son. I look carefully   at the eyes of the son in the picture. After some delay I say to the man 'Your son has very sensitive eyes,   Your son is sensitive, isn't he?.   The man leaned back, sighed, and said, "You're right, now I understand why I come to you for talks, help me kick this sensitivity away from my son!"  

In our culture, still, the sensitivity   of the son is considered a problem, something that will cause the son suffering in his environment, something that needs to be removed from the child. Parents still have primal fears, that if we don't suppress the son's sensitivity, he won't survive life.  Perhaps his sensitivity will risk him becoming a homosexual? Maybe when he grows up and becomes a man, he won't be able to provide security for his family and the country as a whole?   In short, failure.         5cf58d_   _cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_       _cc781905-5c de-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_   _cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_       _cc 781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ _cc781905-5cde-3194- bb3b-136bad5cf58d_       _cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_   _cc781905- 5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

It is important to understand, a person who is not sensitive and attentive to himself, will not be able to provide sensitivity and listening to his partner and children. Sensitivity is a source of strength and power, and it does not contradict masculinity,   on the contrary, it turns masculinity into something creative and less schematic and predictable.

One last example to finish.

I often facilitate circles of conversations with therapists, where I talk about the prices men pay for male oppression, as well as the challenge of raising boys, and the importance of providing space for boys Soft and benevolent, who will offer conditions of support and recognition in their emotional world. There are almost always people in the audience who say that if we as a society adopt these messages, our boys, when they grow up to be soldiers  -   will not be able to fight. that in a war we will not know how to defend ourselves, that we will not survive as a country in the east in high school with our sons will be sensitive.

I understand the concern, we live in a complex reality here,   but it is important to understand that a son who does not know how to express his needs and feelings in words, will look for alternative ways to express his needs, and then we will begin to see already at preschool age, and at school how the son The normative expresses itself through behavior (acting out) and less through verbal language, let's start as parents and educators. bad5cf58d_note that the physical body of the son  Chooses to express and communicate his son's inner world through physical symptoms (compulsive eating, asthma attacks, allergy attacks, outbreaks of migraines, stomach aches, etc.)

If we choose as adults to break free from the existing gender social order, and learn to accept the emotional world of our children, we will benefit as a society.   I have no doubt that if as a society and culture we change the oppressive attitude towards our boys, we will gain men with a greater ability to protect themselves and their environment   and the ability of men _cc781905-5cde-31 94 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_deal better with complex and crisis situations in their lives will improve considerably.

We will experience boys and men living in close relationships   with themselves and those around them, our boys will be in touch with their own emotional needs, and know how to communicate them with those close to them. Our boys will learn to trust and give themselves in relationships. We will get a more attentive and compassionate and much less violent society.


In the name of this hope,  I will conclude with the verse  Miremia Chapter 9, which opened the article:

'And there is hope after you, says the Lord, and children return to their borders' (Jeremiah 1:17) 

Format for bibliographic citation (APA):

Ashman, T. (2010). Fathers ate unripe and children's teeth will grind - about the legacy of oppression between fathers and sons. [electronic version]. Nadela on 24/10/2010, from the website  articles -'%D7%90%D7%91%D7%95%D7 %AA%20%D7%90%D7%9B%D7%9C%D7%95%20%D7%91%D7%95%D7%A1%D7%A8%20%D7%95%D7%A9%D7 %99%D7%A0%D7%99%20%D7%91%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9D%20%D7%AA%D7%A7%D7%94%D7%99%D7%A0 %D7%94'%20(%D7%99%D7%A8%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%94%20%D7%9C%D7%90)%20%20--%20%D7% A2%D7%9C%20%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%A9%D7%AA%20%D7%94%D7%93%D7%99%D7%9B%D7%95% D7%99%20%D7%94%D7%92%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%99

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