In the past, men were the breadwinners, and often the sole providers. In the 20th century, and particularly after World War II, things began to change, and today there is much more equality between men and women, at least as far as being the breadwinner goes. The trajectory was leaning toward even more equality, but then COVID-19 broke into our lives and tossed everything into a muddled heap. With offices closing left and right, and people working more and more from home, or losing their jobs altogether, humanity seems poised to embark on the next social revolution: a transition to spiritual connections.
Along with the growing equality, it’s become apparent that men aren’t sure about their role in the family, in relations with partners, and often in life. Women, too, became unsure about the role that men should play in their lives. Men don’t need to hunt anymore, not even metaphorically, meaning provide for the family, and they can’t really protect their families from the storms of the outside world, which has become not only hostile, but also too complicated to handle.
So, if men can’t provide sustenance or protection, does the world really need them? It does, because when material needs are provided, spiritual needs come into play and demand their satisfaction no less than material needs. And when it comes to spiritual matters, each sex has its unique role that only it can do. And because both are required to make society complete in the spiritual sense, men and women are becoming equally important, complete opposites, yet complementary and indispensable.
Instead of fighting, men’s work will be more around engagement with each other, meaning forming positive connections rather than combative and competitive relations. Also, in light of the situation, and in light of the fact that schooling will be done much more at home, men will have to become more active at home, and particularly when it comes to education—both in terms of teaching values, as well as in provision of knowledge and teaching school topics.
When we speak of spirituality, we often imagine yoga postures, meditations, and things of that nature. I am not speaking about that. I am referring more to the spirit of society, the atmosphere in society. Of course, both men and women will play their vital parts in nurturing the spirit of society, but men, who were used to competing with one another, will now have to transform their thinking and learn to support one another in order to bolster the community.
In the end, our happiness depends on the society we live in. If that society fosters solidarity and mutual responsibility, if people feel accountable to their society and wish to contribute to their communities, then people in that society, or community, will be happier, more stable emotionally, and more confident.
Men will have to take an active role in that process, participate in their communities’ activities more than before, and be more involved. The era of measuring success by one’s income or career achievements is quickly ending. We are embarking on a social era, where people are measured by their contribution to society. Especially now, when we see that the main thing that’s broken in the country is the society, the ability to fashion solid communities and societies will become the “hottest” commodity. Accordingly, manhood has to adopt a whole new meaning—more social, collaborative, and uniting.
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