by Rose Yu, Assistant Director
I couldn't help laughing out loud throughout Margaret Atwood's New York Times piece entitled, "Hello, Martians. Let Moby-Dick Explain." Her humor helped illuminate a painful truth that our culture worldwide continues to devalue women and girls. No wonder we continue to exploit Mother Nature and our environmental troubles continue unabated. How would we regard the earth differently if our planet were called "Father Nature?"
I've recently participated in our Academy for Leaders program and I've been reflecting on what it means to lead in a whole-hearted way. In my youth I grew up in the company of men (dad and four older brothers) and wished I were a boy. As an immigrant I learned how to play the system well by overemphasizing the more "masculine," linear, analytical, critical thinking skills as a ticket to financial security. Despite the fact that research shows that personal and professional success and happiness are more contingent on emotional intelligence, we test children in a more uni-dimensional way. My eleven year old daughter attends Seattle Public Schools and she is taking the MSP standardized tests this week and I bet there are no questions that ask how she would deal with conflict with a peer or cope with disappointing news.
So I hold the tension that I would like my life to be neat and tidy with a clear trajectory from point A to point B and yet the very richness of my life comes from living into difficult questions, dealing with complexities and life's messiness. Perhaps I could relax a little of my drive for efficiency and bathe in metaphors and stories that might show me another way, such as Atwood's piece. Given that we as human beings have come this far with this heavy emphasis on a more masculine approach, maybe we could walk farther if our other leg were more developed. At least we'd be able to walk instead of limping or hopping on one leg!
What would it mean to lead in a whole-hearted manner borrowing Parker Palmer's notion of the mind descending into the heart?