Hanging Masks and Teenage Feminism

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.   ~Khalil Gibran


I have a passion for carved masks.  I collect them from all over the world on my travels for either work, holidays, or fishing trips.  I have African masks carved from wood and decorated with sea shells and beads, masks from Alaska carved from fossilised whale bone, masks from the Amazon tribes, clay masks from Europe.  Every time I look at them I get the pleasure of being transported back in time and the memories of this or that trip come flooding in.

So it came to pass a while ago that I was hanging up a new pair of masks from Africa.  This time the faces of a male and female.  With my artistic eye (not) I decided to place the male mask next to, but a little higher than the female.  Symbolising the gender differences and the cultural aspects of the highly decorative primitive African male in history and folklore.

Just as I put the hammer down and stood back to admire the masks and my creative hanging, my teenage daughter walked through the door, home from school.

“Great new masks, Dad!  But why is one higher than the other?”

I barely finished my response (something about the male being higher than the female in African culture) when she erupted in a tirade about male chauvinism, sexist attitudes, untrue stereotypes, and a few other choice comparisons thrown in for good measure. And the topper was, “How could you be so old-fashioned and dense?”

I was stunned. It never occurred to me (a white, Anglo-Saxon, 60-something male) that I had made a major social blunder and displayed my ignorance to all.

So after she “advised” me on the proper alignment, we both stood back, admired our new masks, and then she was off upstairs to finish her homework and begin  violin practice.

I stood there slightly dumbstruck and totally in awe at the maturity and social awareness of my 13 year-old daughter. I tried to remember back when I was 13 and my level of social  awareness.  Back in 1961 my only social awareness was to remember to say “Please” and “Thank You”.  As I went to put my hammer away I smiled the smile of a proud father.  I have no doubt this young woman will make it in this world.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
This entry was posted in Human Psychology, John R Childress, Life Skills, parenting, Psychology, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Hanging Masks and Teenage Feminism

  1. Anonymous says:

    a lesson well learned:) nice to see the intelligence in our youth as they will be leading the way tomorrow


Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s