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Proposed Principle #1

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Every country is home to its own people. 

So why four principles of feminine leadership?  Three might be easier to remember, but four is the ancient symbol of wholeness and completion. Besides, the mouse gave me the number. 

To begin with a little review, I proposed in my last post that these principles be developed to prepare women for a much larger role in the world. The feminists opened many doors for us. However, if there has been a published consensus on principles that should guide us beyond the thresholds, I’ve missed it. 

The idea is that these principles of leadership would be essentially different from those that men have never articulated either. In fact, the development of principles of leadership that are uniquely feminine could pose a challenge to respond in kind, which could be interesting. 

But before I get too grandiose, I should repeat that the ideas I offer in this matter are simply for the purpose of initiating a conversation. I have been thinking about this for a long time, but I am limited by my own perspective and experience of life. The goal would be to touch chords important to all women, and these can only be identified by large participation. So to begin, the first principle I would like to suggest is: 

Home is a sacred place. 

Home is a very loaded word for everyone but particularly for women. It has traditionally been our place, unfortunately more as housekeeper than chatelaine. Perhaps as a result, we have been leaving it in droves. In fact, a Pew Research Center analysis released yesterday revealed that 32 percent of mothers would prefer to work full time. 

Nevertheless, good homes are undoubtedly the foundation on which a strong society is established, and women might fortify them if we had higher status there. This would involve an enhanced sense of responsibility and power regarding certain issues over which both church and resident male have often held sway. 

Examples would include family planning decisions, the protection of children from sexual and/or physical abuse, the presence of drugs and alcohol, and the intrusion of negative influences through television and the Internet. If home is a sacred place, many will need to change radically. Of course the children who emerge from this kind of environment­­–and I’m imagining safe and supportive as opposed to autocratic–would probably be great assets to society. 

However, the term home does not pertain only to the four walls in which one resides. Home is neighborhood, community, city, state, and country, and all of these would inevitably begin to show the effect of a different way of thinking, of stronger feminine influence in pursuit of enhanced environment. 

Home is also the earth itself. Early in human history, spirituality was often nature-based and guided by priestesses. Later these practices were condemned as pagan, and of course Christianity overran the Native American spiritual traditions distinguished by a powerful connection with the earth. 

If we are going to “return to the Garden,” as I mentioned in my previous post, the feminine will need to reclaim that affinity with the natural world that dominated before the emergence of patriarchy. The scale of need on our damaged earth is enormous, but it begins to be met in every home where attention is paid to the garden, no matter how small, and to the wildlife that visit. 

Mount Vernon

 

And if we embrace the idea that home is a sacred place, that radically alters the way we look at the homes of others. I am speaking of other nations. The United States is our home, but every country is home to its own people. Our sensibilities have been disabled by the concept of “the other,” the people who are very different from us and thus supposedly do not deserve the concern we reserve for our own. But how would we feel if the military and the capitalists of other countries had done to our homeland what we have done to theirs? 

Just think of the landscapes, the dwellings, the livelihoods, and the lives we have destroyed or damaged elsewhere while never experiencing anything comparable here. If there is such a thing as karma, we have tough times coming. Perhaps the only way to avoid them is to rethink the way we address international tensions, the way we respond to attack, and our tradition of invading and bullying with overwhelming force. This could happen through the powerful presence of women who know that every country is home to its own people and who believe that home is a sacred place. 

So there we are, one proposed principle by which feminine leadership could be informed. It has great potential for controversy and could be alarming to some. It’s really not that complicated, though, is it? And it’s just a place for discussion to begin. Other proposed principles will soon follow.

One Response to “Proposed Principle #1”

  1. Susan Addy

    “But how would we feel if the military and the capitalists of other countries had done to our homeland what we have done to theirs?”

    Ellen, this is the perfect place to begin. Women always think about these things. Our homes are our hearts; and we grieve alongside those whose homes and lives our fists full of dollars and guns have destroyed.