I finished reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, written to empower women in leadership.
Sandberg, COO of Facebook, makes a bunch of money and is rated as one of the most powerful women in the business world. Compared to my neighbor, who prefers not getting a job and staying married to a guy who controls the money, Sandberg stands out with her leaning in rationality. Oddly, I feel, Sandberg and my neighbor have more in common than not.
My neighbor works. She isn’t lazy. She takes care of her kids. Her large lawn is gorgeous and she is the one who takes care of it. She leans it and learns how to operate the lawn machinery. She leans in and keeps her home tidy. She grows a garden. She builds rock walls. She picks huckleberries. She cooks and bakes. She walks her dog. She will even insulate her home or repair the barn.
I’m glad for the comparison between my neighbor and Sandberg, because it reminds me not to compare myself to either of them. They are who they are and I am who I am.
The book Lean In is not offensive to the homemaker woman or mom. Sandberg acknowledges non-paid women are still worthy. While encouraging women to hone their leadership talents, the book also points out the ability of men to “lean in at the kitchen table.”
Although gender seems to be basis of Lean In, I think its an attitude or character issue. Sandberg is defining characteristics that are productive, uniting. But they aren’t confined to a gender. And, I believe the source of this goodness is God.
Women do have exceptional leading qualities. They may lead better than men. Or not. Men may be better than women taking care of the children or home. Or not. When we focus, not on gender, but on the good characteristics, we can’t help but ask…
Why can’t men lead with the productive attitudes that women have? Why can’t women take care of the children and home with the dispositions that those exceptional men do? Answers will come a step at a time.
Not getting too hung up on gender, I can learn by observing both women and men, but ultimately find in my Father/Mother God, the attitudes that are worth leaning into.