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Choosing Mr. Right

Choosing Mr. Right

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The recent on-stage debacle in Trinidad and Tobago between singer Akon and the daughter of a Trinidadian preacher is an indication of how our young women feel about themselves and how men are taught to treat them. No, we cannot blame men for all our problems. But some men do have serious issues that lead them to treat women unjustly; and some women unknowingly choose to connect their lives to men that add little value to their lives. The question is, why?{{more}}

The next three articles in this series will deal with the topic of men in our lives-why we choose the men we choose, what causes some women to be “the other” woman, and how to understand our relationships from a different viewpoint.

As soon as a girl is born, she is bombarded with images that socialize her to please the perfect man. She is taught to adorn herself with the “right” clothes and accouterments and perfumes-the equipment that will appeal to men. She is taught to play house, to pretend to be “a mommy,” and to cook great meals, as well as to satisfy other, similar responsibilities. Boys on the other hand are socialized to play-with cars that go fast, with trucks that make lots of noise (and obliterate anything and anyone that gets in their way), and with their counterparts in physical games. They are also taught to play with women. When girls and boys eventually meet, often as teenagers, the girls have learned to cater to the boys’ needs while the boys have just learned to play.

Before you can relate to a man as a boyfriend or husband, you must first know how to relate to two very important male authority figures: God and your daddy. These relationships should be a young woman’s first experiences with male figures. First, they will prepare her to avoid putting all her hope and trust in a boyfriend or husband because no husband or boyfriend could fulfill all her needs. Second, they teach her to be independent yet respectful of the man in her life, not to be too needy emotionally and how to relate to men in a nonsexual manner.

The Man, God, should be a woman’s source of strength. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, like many Caribbean nations, is a Christian community; but, unfortunately, its women are only taught to run to God in times of trouble. By the time a woman discovers all the great things God can do, she has probably already made quite a few mistakes and suffered several setbacks with men. As she’s been taught, she then uses God as a refuge. God doesn’t mind that, but why not teach our young women about God’s true power now? This power is not about religious rules and rituals, which is why so many people run away (yes, quite frankly, some church people make God and His church seem boring and restrictive), but about providing a place where love, protection, and guidance should flow. A young woman needs God because she is the nurturer and shaper of the world, in the role of mother. At some point in her life, she will run to God on behalf of the children she has and ask for his protection and guidance. If she gets married she will pray for the health and well-being of her husband and her marriage. But, more importantly, shouldn’t her relationship with God shape her into a person who is wise, patient, self-controlled, discerning, and industrious? Her relationship with God should be all about making her a better person, a more complete person, a happier person. A boyfriend or husband should not be the person who makes a woman whole or happy; yet, too many women make this mistake and burden men with their emotional baggage.

Next to God, the most important man in a young woman’s life should be her father. Unfortunately, men in the Caribbean, like other parts of the world, are not taught to be affectionate toward their daughters. For the most part, fathers, when they are around, provide financial support and discipline-and that’s considered to be “fathering.” That’s the example many young men see, and when added to the effects of poverty and having multiple children by multiple women, attentive fathering becomes impossible. Girls need to hear their fathers say “I love you;” they need to hear their fathers tell them how pretty they are, how smart and special they are, and how they will grow up to do great things. If a father is not around, it becomes the mother’s job to find a safe, mature, wise father figure to nurture her daughter. Absent fathers and father figures drive young women to gravitate to young men who flatter them with words, words that are often misinterpreted as love. These women are driven to seek a relationship that relies on immediate emotional highs instead of qualities that make a good husband and father.

When the affection and wisdom a young woman should have received from God and a father are absent, inadequate, or dysfunctional in her life, her understanding of men is improperly formed and she becomes more vulnerable to choosing a man for herself who might abuse her physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Our young women must see a different example. Teach them to love God, to love themselves, and to love men in healthy, nonsexual ways, first, before seeking romantic experiences.

Karen Hinds
Workplace Success Group
Toll Free; 877-902-2275
Tel: 1-203-757-4103
[email protected]