A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF GENDER BY JANE E. BRODY

This is so much more than Bathroom Access! 

The New York Times this past week published a column by Jane Brody that was a thought-filled and up to date facts about gender identity.  I am meeting more and more parents and grandparents who want to join the conversation with their own thoughts and feelings on this topic that does asks for a compassionate and moral response. It also asks us to consider changing our own minds.

In light of the recent attacks in Orlando Florida and the not so kind or thoughtful viewpoints of some media outlets regarding this topic, parents and grandparents alike would like to join in the conversation. They truly have much to say that could help our society.

This article by Jane Brody is a good beginning.  Let’s consider–

  • The first thing to remember is that a mismatch between gender identity and biological sex is not something people choose.
  • Ms. Brody also states that there are no chromosomal or hormonal causes of being transgendered that have been identified.
  • Also lacking is convincing evidence that is caused by some aberration of family dynamics–how a child is treated of dressed by mom, dad or any one else.
  • Being transgendered seems to just happen, possibly in the womb.  All brains we know start out female.  if the fetus is male, testosterone normally programs both the genitalia and the brain to develop male but sometimes that does not work.
  • Among adults, male-to-female  transitions are nearly three times more common than female-to-male.
  • It has not been unusual for people born male to first acknowledge and express their female gender identity in midlife, often after having married and fathered children.

AND  Remember that all this misapprehension started over bathroom access, which really isn’t the issue at all.

You will find this article in the New York Times Tuesday June 14, 2016 in the Personal Health issue.

Fathers/Grandfathers and Feminism

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY : REMEMBERING ALL THE GOOD MEN IN OUR LIVES!

Malala’s wisdom is here again GIVING ALL OF US…HOPE Please watch this short interview with her father.  Gives Hope and encouragement to families all over the world.
https://www.malala.org/fathers?source=em_FD_061016_CD&utm_source=email_list&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FathersDay&link_id=1&can_id=4a33402cd285f01e7b1e473e19e2a662&email_referrer=watch-fatherhood-and-feminism-2___76957&email_subject=watch-fatherhood-and-feminism

Grandpa's Matter
Grandpa’s Matter TOO!

Celebrating Women and Girl Power today: A Midrash

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Did YOU KNOW? 

There are 93 Women who speak in the Bible. 49 are named. Women speak a total of 14,056 words collectively…..roughly 1.1% of the total words in the Bible. In the Hebrew Scriptures, women can be identified with only partial certainty but with some careful research there are a total of 132 named women; 103 women who are not named: 40 are identified as daughters of; 23 are identified as wife’s of; There are 3 widows; 17 Mothers of; and 20 in no category, i.e. Wise-hearted women.

We are celebrating an Historical moment in the United States–The first time a women has been selected to run for President of the United States in a major Political Party.  In celebrating this historical moment, I would like to share a mid-rash drama around the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures today that may help all of us understand regarding the Human Rights of Girls and Women a little better. This midrash was developed after an 8 year old girl in a class of mine asked me, her teacher,     “WHERE ARE THE GIRLS IN THE BIBLE?” I found several resources regarding this topic. One from geez magazine: a Contemplative Cultural Resistance Magazine I highly recommend. It is a Canadian resource. A must subscription for all of those Christians with thoughtful questions. Link: geezmagazine.org.
My other found resource is a lovely illustrated and challenging children’s book written by a Rabbi, who is a woman. Her name is Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and the name of the book is BUT GOD REMEMBERED: Stories of Women from Creation to the Promised Land. (Available from Jewish Lights).  I combined both resources to educated children and adults about midrash as well as to answer the question that began centuries ago. Where are the Women?

SHE
God Remembers
An On-Going Biblical Women’s Midrash
Scene 1
Staging: (Dark stage with one (wisdom) chair in the middle. Narrator 2 comes out and sits on the stage. Narrator 1 is at church like Podium stage left. It can be assumed that women and girls; boys and men in the class/audience have done their own personal midrash of their favorite biblical story or at least are aware of some of the stories that include women.)
Narrator 1:
There are 93 Women who speak in the Bible. 49 are named. Women speak a total of 14,056 words collectively…..roughly 1.1% of the total words in the Bible. In the Hebrew Scriptures, women can be identified with only partial certainty but with some careful research there are a total of 132 named women; 103 women who are not named: 40 are identified as daughters of; 23 are identified as wife’s of; There are 3 widows; 17 Mothers of; and 20 in no category, i.e. Wise-hearted women.
Narrator 2:
The Christian Scriptures tend to name women according to relationship or story value rather than by name, but sometimes both. Women named in the Synoptic Gospels (The Gospels written by Mark, Matthew and Luke) are: Mary (the mother of Jesus), Elizabeth, Anna and the sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary Magdalen; Mary, the mother of Clopas; Mary, the mother of James and Joses. Salome (who asks for John the Baptist’s head on a platter) and (wicked) Herodias. Ten women are actually named in the Synoptic Gospels. In John’s Gospel there are 9 women who appear in the Gospel; 3 of whom are named. The rest remained unnamed. Jesus’s mother, Mary, is not named in John’s Gospel, but only referred to as the mother of Jesus.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, utters just 191 words in the Christian Scriptures. Mary Magdalene says 61 words, while Sarah the wife of Abraham in the Hebrew Scriptures says 141 words. One needs only to read the Bible, no matter what translation, to discover that woman go through tremendous trauma and oppression yet this pain has largely been silenced over the years, as well as many of the contributions they have made to faith and world history. We are here in this space and time to finally uncover their stories.
Narrator 2:
The covenants that God made with Women in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have been forgotten in our holy and secular history. Redeeming and Reclaiming these stories is the great task of women today. This perhaps can best be done by Midrash, an ancient text practice handed down to all of us from the Jewish Rabbinic tradition. In this ancient tradition we take the scriptures very very seriously but not literally, just like the story tellers and the originators of the Canon of the Bible many centuries ago.
Narrator 1:
The practice of Midrash liberates the stories from the dominated perspective of the oppressors to a refreshing and more inclusive perspective of our Holy Scriptures. Boys and men need women to do Midrash also. It helps them learn more about being a boy or man in today’s world. The holy possibilities present in the practice of modern day Midrash in helping us understand and forgive one another, will only occur if we take on the responsibility of sharing our own stories with one another.
We will begin our midrash today, at the beginning with an Angel Story that happened before God created human beings and then move to Genesis I—The First Creation Story. This midrash was done by a Jewish Rabbi, named Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. Listen and see carefully and with reverence.
A Dance Story I
Remembering and Forgetting:
Scene: (Three angels; The Angel of Song, The Angel of Stories and The Angel of Names, appear on stage and greet Narrator 2. Narrator 2 stands from her Wisdom chair and becomes God figure in this Dance/Story). The Angels of sond, Stories and Names have a sign on their chests stating who they represent)
Narrator 1:
Before God created man and woman, God wanted to create Memory and Forgetfulness, but the angels protested.
The Angel of Song said:
Angel of Song: “Do not create Forgetfulness. People will forget the songs of their ancestors.”
Narrator 1: The Angel of Stories said,
Angel of Stories: “If you create Forgetfulness, man and women will forget many good stories.”
Narrator 1: The Angel of Names said,
Angel of Names: “Forget songs? Forget stories? They will not even remember each other’s names.”
Narrator 1: God listened to the complaints of the angels, and God asked the angels what kinds of things they remembered. At first, the angels remembered what it was like before the world was formed. Then as the angels talked about the time before time existed, they recalled moments when they did not always agree. One angel yelled at another:
Angel of Song: “I remember when your fiery sword burned the hem of my robe!” (Directed at Angel of Story)
Angel of Names: “And I remember when you knocked me down and tore a hole in my wing,” screamed another. (Directed at Angel of Story)

Narrator 1: As the angels remembered everything that ever happened, their voices grew louder and louder and louder until the heavens thundered. God said:
Narrator 2: (playing God): “Forget it” (Directed at all the Angels and audience)
Narrator 1: And there was forgetfulness. (pause) All at once the angels forgot why they were angry at each other and their voices became angelic again. And God saw that it was good. God said:
Narrator 2: “There are some things people will need to forget.”
The Angels objected again: (together)
“People will forget what they should remember.”
Narrator 1: God said:
Narrator 2: “I will remember all the important things, I will plant the seeds of remembrance in the soul of My people.”
Narrator 1: And so it was that over time people forgot many of the songs, stories and names of their ancestors. But God remembered.
(Angels walk off stage. Narrator 2 sits back in Wisdom Chair with her Bible open)

Points to Ponder and Reflective Questions
Does knowing that God Remembers forgotten people stories help or hinder your view of God?
Do you believe in Angels or other Messengers from God? Why or why not?
Whose stories have you forgotten in your family? Who would you like to remember?
Do you like the process of Midrash? Why or Why not?
(More Questions?)

DANCE/STORY II
A Midrash: God Remembers Lilith, the First Women
(Scene: Four dancers needed: Lilith, Adam, Eve. Narrator 2 becomes a God Figure)
Narrator 1:
Perhaps you have forgotten but did you know that there has always been and will always be Two creation stories in the Bible? Have you sometimes wondered why? Before the written word, all bible stories were told in story form, the oral tradition. That can sometimes explain why there are repeated stories in the Bible. You may have questions about that later.
Let’s see how this may work with a midrash of the First Book of the Bible: A Midrash from the Book of Genesis: In the Beginning…..
Narrator 2: (With Bible in hand opened to Genesis) Two people (one Adam and one Lilith walk on stage and greet Narrator 2 before she begins reading—They dance the story)
“God created man and woman in the Divine image. In God’s image they were created; Male and Female God created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
(Narrator 2 places the bible open to Genesis on the chair as she gets up. She becomes the God figure in this Dance/Story)
Narrator 1: In the beginning when God created man and woman, God called the first man Adam and the first woman, God called Lilith. The first man and the first woman were both created from the same earth and God’s breath made them come alive. In the beginning they shared everything.
God planted a garden in Eden and placed Adam and Lilith there to till it and tend it together. Adam and Lilith loved the garden that God had made, and they loved each other.
Lilith would climb the trees to gather pomegranates. Adam and Lilith loved to play catch with the gold-red fruit that seemed to come together on the bottom in a kiss. When they were tired of playing, Lilith would take the pomegranates and split them open. Adam would scoop out the juicy seeds.
Then Adam and Lilith would sit by the river that flowed through the garden and such on the pomegranate seeds together.
Sometimes Adam would gather sweet oranges and peel them for Lilith, and Lilith would squeeze the oranges in her hands to make juice. She would hold hands with Adam, and they would laugh when their hands stuck together.
(Pause–Narrator I continues):
The garden where Adam and Lilith lived was rich with colors and filled with sounds. But the garden was very large, indeed and they could not possibly see all its beauty from where they stood on the ground.
Sometimes Adam would kneel down and Lilith would climb on his shoulders, reach to the tallest tree and looked out and describe all that she saw. She told of big beautiful birds who spread their fan of colors and yellow animals with black spots and a long neck. Lilith named the birds with a fan of color peacocks and the long-necked creatures she named giraffes.
Sometimes Lilith would kneel down, and Adam would climb on her shoulders, reach to the tallest tree and looked out and describe all that he saw. He told of big golden animals with large hairy manes and small gray animals with bushy tails that stood straight up in the air. Adam named the golden animals Lyons and the bush-tailed creatures he called squirrels.
Now Adam and Lilith loved giving names to all the animals, and they loved each other. And God saw all that was going on in the garden .and God found that it was very good. (Grand Pause)
Then one day, Adam grew tired of letting Lilith climb on his shoulders to look out over the garden. “Lilith, I have a new idea.” Said Adam. Adams voice quivered, but he went right on speaking. “I think only one of us should name the animals, and I should be the one. In return, I will go after the pomegranates and split them open and I will also squeeze the oranges.” (Pause)
Lilith was silent for a long time. “Adam”, she finally said, “I do not like your new ideas. I love to fetch the pomegranates and split them open. I like the sticky feeling when I squeeze the oranges.
But most of all, I enjoy climbing on your shoulders to reach the tallest tree, look out over the garden and name the animals.”
Adam thought for a moment and then said folding his arms across his chest, “Lilith, we are different. We should do different things, so I won’t let you climb on my shoulders anymore and I want to be the ONLY one to name the creatures in the garden.”
Lilith said, “Well, then, I won’t let you climb on my shoulders either. But we both should name the animals.”
Adam said, “But my names are better than your names!”
Lilith said, “My names are better!”
And Adam said, “Are Not.”
And Lilith said, “Are so!”
Adam and Lilith argued and their voices became louder and louder. God heard Adam and Lilith and all that was going on in the garden and God did not find it very good at all.
Lilith would not talk to Adam. She walked a long way to another side of the garden and ate her oranges alone.
Adam would not go after Lilith. He stayed where he was and ate his pomegranates by himself. Until finally Adam was so lonely, he said to God, “Creator of the world, bring Lilith back to me. Make her return.” God answered:
Narrator 2: “This is something only you can do.”
Narrator 1: But Adam refused…Lilith said to God, “Creator of the world, make Adam come back to me. I am lonely too. Make things between Adam and me as they were in the beginning.” And God answered:
Narrator 2: “This is something only you can do.”
Narrator 1: But Lilith refused…..God saw Adam and Lilith and how very lonely they were. And God was sad for the first man and the first woman. (Grand Pause)
After a while, Adam found comfort with a new companion named Eve. Adam called his new companion the first woman, because he wanted to forget Lilith.
In the course of time, people forgot Lilith’s story and how man and woman were once equal…..But God Remembered.
(Optional continuation of this story)
Narrator 1: God remembered Lilith and God named the night after her. That is why in Hebrew the night is called “Laila”. Some say Lilith stretches the night sky over all God’s creation. She spreads a canopy of stars to light the dark and calls each star by name.
Points to Ponder and Reflective Questions
Have you heard this Creation story before? How does this story of Lilith influence your view of women and girls in general? How can it shape your hopes for your own potential?
How has your perception of Eve as generally taught, influenced your view of women in general. How does it shape your view of women in general?
How does this story influence your view of marriage or male and female relationships today?
How does this story influence your view of God’s purpose in giving both men and women free will?…..About God’s participation in Human Forgiveness?
How does Original Sin or Blessing fit into this story?
Are you comfortable with Eve’s and Adam’s (Lilith and Adam’s?) relationship in this story? Why? or, Why not?
What do you think the authors of this Midrash wanted to get across to their readers/listeners by telling the story this way?
More Questions?

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Children Need Yoga-for their Emotional and Physical Health

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Yoga practice gives generously to human health all over the world. This
GoFundMe site has a wonderful video outlining the experience real children have with yoga.  (see below) Consider the benefits here in the states. Might solve some of our discipline issues.  Yoga Helps Children with:

  •  Enhances concentration
    Increases Self Esteem
    Teaches present moment awareness
    Cultivates a peaceful, relaxed state of body and mind Gives tools for stress management
    Sparks creativity in ripe imaginations
    Encourages kind peer and social interactions
    Enhances body awareness
    Teaches Discipline and responsibility
Give Kids Yoga in your local community also!

LONGMONT, CO EDUCATION

 

The Story:
When the children of Ubud were asked what do you know about yoga? The children said…

1) Yoga is for tourists.
2) Yoga is expensive.
3) We cannot even afford a yoga mat.

This is a problem!
Here in Bali, Yoga is a cultural spiritual heritage for these kids. It is also one the main reasons people travel across the world to come to this very special place.

Here is a chance for us to give back

Beloved Balinese yoga teacher, Dewa Ramawa has started teaching the Balinese children of Ubud yoga.
Dewa is a world renowned yoga teacher and comes from a long lineage within this rich spritual practice. His parents were yoga teachers. His mother is 103 years old and still teaches yoga. Her parents were yoga teachers.
Dewa also volunteers his time to teach Balinese kids English.

Dewa is so dedicated to the children that he is has now begun also teaching the children yoga…FOR FREE. He will continue to do so.GIFlogoColorLarge (2)


Children’s Wisdom Resources for this Blog

Supporting the Wisdom of Children is not new to this blog. The ChildSpirit Institute was one of my many inspirations. Professor Tobin Hart has written much on this topic. Please visit http://childspirit.org/ for further hope filled conversation.
“Grown men may learn from very little children for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.” – Black Elk

 

Remembering the Prayer for the Decade of Children

Let’s Bring Back the HOPE and Focus on Children: Remembering…..Prayer for the Decade of Nonviolence For Children

I bow to the sacred of all creation. May my spirit fill the world with beauty and wonder. May my mind seek truth with humility and openness.
May my heart forgive without limit. May my love for friend, enemy and outcast be without measure. May my needs be few and my living simple.
May my actions bear witness to the suffering of others. May my hands never harm a living being. May my steps stay on the journey of justice.
May my tongue speak for those who are poor without fear of the powerful. May my prayers rise with patient discontent until no child is hungry.
May my life’s work be a passion for peace and nonviolence. May my soul rejoice in the present moment.
May my imagination overcome death and despair with new possibility. And may I risk reputation, comfort and security to bring this hope to children.

(Written by Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, for the United Nations proclaimed International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World. She was asked to write it by Pax Christi, USA in the year 2000.)