(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on this and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)
May 22, 2019 — My perspective comes from observing nature and from a wizened old psychiatrist.
Last year when I noticed a yellow bird in the back yard, I purchased a finch birdfeeder and a sack of seeds for it. I filled it and, within minutes, I was astounded to see the number of yellow birds that filled every available inch of space — gorging, fighting amongst themselves for their spot.
The feeder was emptied within an hour.
If this was going to be the pattern, I would not be able to continue the money drain to satisfy them. After that first bag, I discontinued but saw another yellow finch last week and could not resist. Something was different this year. With the feeder only half full, two birds came — one male and one female — and they ate with a little more manners.
It has been a week now, and more pairs have visited the feeder with the food lasting much longer than last year — even with other birds being permitted to share the food.
This led me to recall my experience as an intern at a residential treatment center in Ann Arbor, Mich. A grade-school-age boy was acting up in the waiting room, ignoring his parents and anyone who attempted to intervene. The wizened head of the center pulled me aside to quiz me about my theories of changing behavior, a ploy for him to show his genius.
I sat in his office while he called the girls’ cottage to have them send over a little girl patient. When she entered the waiting room, the little boy immediately got his act together and contained himself.
Just like the girls at the bird-feeding station, having a female created an organizing effect on otherwise testosterone-driven behavior.
We have been at this democracy experiment long enough to try something new: Put a woman in the Whitehouse as our president.
There is something inherent in the female makeup that changes the mix. We could be pleasantly surprised to see the chaos transformed, a sense of respect returned and allocentric thinking replacing the egocentrism currently dictating our governing policies.
The boys have been at it for a long time, most of it with war (not always defensive) as their legacy. The exact figure of 95 percent is contested, but give or take how many years, we have been in a war for a very, very long time.
Isn’t it time for an attitude adjustment?