What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


Of great men

Posted on June 21, 2018 by Katy Byrne

It’s stirring to see strong athletes kneeling down for fairness and respect and standing up for liberty. Great men care about the common good. They’re not out in left field. Let’s put the good guys back in the news and movies.

I’m ready to be inspired by men and women with integrity, wisdom, empathy, strength and kindness. Let’s re-think the values we want to pass on to our kids. We can move beyond tweets and farcical, far-fetched double messages and rocket ships in the sky.

We can shift the ideals and images of males harming our world, into caring humans who protect us all, like the firefighters and first responders who sacrificed and stepped up for Sonoma County this year. At a time of fear and violence in our world, greed, narcissism, talk of nuclear war, disparity of wealth, cruelty towards life, children and animals, we crave inspiration.

I was captivated by the theme of brave, big-hearted men after seeing the recent movie RBG, about Ruth Bader Ginsberg (a female Superior Court Judge) and her marriage. I rarely write about a movie, that’s not my shtick, but the film showed a great man and woman with a marriage of mutual respect and empowerment. It makes you want to be a better person.

The unique personal journey of RBG, this small framed, quiet female warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court is an essential movie for everyone to see. It demonstrates how a woman of power and a mature man move towards greatness. At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy.

RBG and her husband lived lives of hard work, humor, kindness and good intention. To see these moral qualities in both genders is important. Most of us didn’t grow up with this kind of modeling or mutual support.

Nowadays our world requires more of us than bigotry, anger, cruelty and cranky, cockeyed self-expression. This film demonstrates moral fiber. It inspires courage.

Most of us did not grow up in families who protected each other’s backs while committed to their own personal growth. We can all become more whole, take responsibility for our behaviors and become better at teamwork. Teach your children well.

Let’s encourage males as they mature to see that a really heroic person is not an insulting ball of hot air or a shooting machine. Real men don’t twiddly-doo all night while tooting their horns. Great humans have ethics. Wise men build relationships, not walls. And they’re not off the wall.

Bruce Springsteen writes, in “Born to Run,” that he was often depressed and driven to prove himself because of a domineering Dad. But, they talked it out and Bruce has proven it possible to overcome the past and make great art and declare important messages.

I grew up watching some brave men and great leaders — men like JFK and Martin Luther King. The lack of that kind of vision and inspiration now disturbs and unnerves me. I want to see more men and women who are peacekeepers and guardians for the planet.

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated some 50 years ago. Larry Tye wrote: “…as you listen to the tributes about a legendary American, think not just about the bridge-building model Bobby offered half a century ago, but how that vision could point the way out of the political wilderness for today’s progressives.” Whatever your political bent, today’s leaders need a sense of purpose grounded in the idea of doing well by doing good. You gotta have heart.

As Kennedy reminded us, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Good men have integrity. They keep skilled communication and understanding in their homes and community. They bequeath a kinder world to their kids.

Let’s ponder great men.

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