Friday, January 13, 2012
Mothering and Fathering, in Politics and at Home
This morning, listening to NPR, in defense of Mitt Romney’s firing thousands of people to preserve his profit, a support said, “Well in capitalism there are winners and losers, and I don’t fault him for being a winner.”
I was trying to let my judgment of this position go, this “How could she be so cold and cruel?” and what I got in touch with was the difference I often have to mediate between what I have come to call Mothering and Fathering in the married couples I mediate.
Regardless of the sex of the person, the partner who “mothers” supports the child’s internal world. They want to shield their child from the world’s cruelty so that the child may grow strong, with good self-confidence, and they want their child to be safe.
Fathering sees the downside of this “coddling” (a judgment) as creating a child who may become a “wimp” with no courage. They advocate for consequences as the best teacher. “Let him climb the jungle gym, and if he falls, he’ll learn.” And lessons learned this way are never forgotten.
It occurred to me, that at their best, this is exactly the difference between the Democratic and Republican sentiments. The Democrats want to protect the weak and as any mother would, to see that all god’s children survive and thrive. Republicans focus on autonomy and independence. They like capitalism because it fathers us with real-world consequences.
All children benefit from having both these points of view in their upbringing, especially if they are negotiated well so they child gets the benefit of each, and not, as so often is the case, conflicting messages about which is best.
I’ve been thinking for a while that what we need in the political arena is a Mediation Party, one which represents both Mothering and Fathering energy. Having read his books, I believe that Obama had this potential, but it can’t really be done alone, and he didn’t have a Mediation Party to back him, so like so many families, we ended up with a polarization between the two existing parties and so deadlock.
I like to image what might happen if the Mediation Party did exist. Business and personal spheres all flourishing, government supporting our internal and external needs.