Monday, February 14, 2005

Love and a man's brain

I've been thinking about love and my brain lately as I've been reading ''Living With Men'' by E. James Wilder.

He starts the book by reporting research on the development of the brain from birth to adulthood. He says that in terms of the development of the brain adulthood starts at age 12. I'm still pondering that idea. But I really like Wilder's defintion of a man.

"In order for a boy to become a man," Wilder says, "he must learn to care for two or more people at the same time. He has to satisfy himself and others in a responsible way." (p. 67)

When I was in high school I found the poetry covered in English class boring me until I discovered a short poem that so captivated me that I memorized it. I now see that I was figuring out what it means to be a man. Here's the poem:

He drew a circle that shut me out --
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in!
-- Edwin Markham

Speaking of high school boys I just finished a great book, A Season of Life: A football star, a boy, and a journey to manhood, by Jeffrey Marx, on the same theme. It's about a couple high school football coaches, one of whom, Joe Ehrmann, is a former NFL lineman, who build their coaching around "Building Men for Others."

“Masculinity ought to be defined in terms of relationships,” says Joe Ehrmann, “and taught in terms of the capacity to love and be loved.” (Parade, August 29, 2004.)

At 4:45 today Sarah and I are going on a Valentine's date. I haven't picked the restaurant yet but I'm a man. We'll eat at a place that satisfies both of us in a responsible way.

We'll talk and look into each other's eyes for a couple of hours, something we both find very satisfying because I am her man.

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