The core of masculinity does not derive
from being male,
nor friendliness from those who console.
Your old grandmother says, “Maybe you shouldn’t
go to school. You look a little pale.”
Run when you hear that.
A father’s stern slaps are better.
Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.
He scolds but eventually
leads you into the open.
Pray for a tough instructor
to hear and act and stay within you.
(1-2)Being masculine does not derive from simply having a penis, it’s earned.
(3-6) Keep people who want to coddle you at arms length. Those who advise you to “take it easy” or “slow down” may not intentionally seek to harm you but if you heed their advice they will in the long run. Chances are you will hear these words from a woman. It’s no coincidence Rumi chose a grandmother as an example.
(7-9) An ass beating will build more character than a consolation hug. Your body will naturally prefer the latter. I know mine did when my boxing instructor would yell or hit me upside the head whenever I did something wrong.
Bodily comfort and spiritual clarity are posed as opposites in these lines. Could they simultaneously exist? Thinking back to some of the things I have accomplished that I am most proud of, I don’t think they can. My body always fought going to the gym, reading, studying, approaching a girl, even as I write this post my mind protests because it would rather be surfing mindlessly through the internet.
(10-13) There’s no replacement for the tough-as-nails male figure who will be unyielding when you beg for an easy route. His methods might frustrate you at times, hell it may even cause you to throw a tantrum or two but they will help you achieve your goals. This is the instructor you should seek out so you can internalize his habits to apply later on in life.
For most this male figure is a father. Sadly nowadays more and more men are being raised without knowing their fathers, let alone learning life lessons from them. As good of a mother as you may have no woman can ever teach a man how to be a man. Despite what the media says women and men are not the same, we are wired differently. To these men I would recommend they find a mentor (coach, professor, etc.) or learn as much as they can from different men that are admirable.
What happens when you raise a generation of sons without fathers or male mentorship? Well, just look around. You get males who don’t know how to deal with women, are insecure, oversensitive, and complain at the sight of anything that requires
real any work.
The core of masculinity derives from a masculine mentor and hard work.