Cool guys do not hesitate to help their mothers washing the dishes, hoovering the floor, cleaning the toilet, or doing the laundry.
First, because great spiritual traditions teach them to honour their mothers. In Islam, for example, the Prophet was asked by a man: after God, who deserves his service the most?
The Prophet said, ‘Your mother’ .
In the 7th century, the Arabian society — like most ancient societies — viewed women almost as property. They even killed daughters because of a distorted sense of honour. So, the Prophet’s answer was remarkably unexpected. The expected response was some variations of ‘Your father’ or ‘The Shaykh (leader) of your tribe’.
‘And then, whom should I serve?’ asked the man.
‘Your mother’, repeated the Prophet.
‘And then, whom?’ asked the man again. He would have half-expected the same answer by now.
‘Your mother,’ the Prophet confirmed.
‘And then, whom?’
Only then, after three times, after leaving no ambiguity about the top priority, finally the Prophet added, ‘Your father.’
And for the next 1400 years, this deep respect for women slowly and imperfectly permeates the religion .
For instance, in Islamic jurisprudence, only women are allowed to honour themselves by wearing the most precious of materials: gold and silk. Muslim men are forbidden to wear them — even the kings .
In marriage, she does not take the husband’s family name to respect her lineage.
She has full right to her own properties, as well as her husband’s (as much as she needs for the living expenses of herself and the children). This can be unsettling to men, because if you are a husband, your wife’s money is her money, and your money is, well, kind of hers too .
Rooted in their spiritual tradition, cool guys honour their mothers and women in general, based on a sense of futuwwa or chivalry, the ideals that also manifested in the knights of Europe, the pendekar of Nusantara or the samurai of Japan.
Cool guys make honourable husbands
If these young men are still unmarried, humbling themselves to their mothers helps them become honourable husbands in the future.
And any intelligent girl senses that too.
She won’t fall for a guy who treats her nicely because she is pretty but doesn’t honour his own mother. In her heart, the girl understands, ‘If he doesn’t even want to serve the old woman who fought Death to bring him into this world, who fed him when she herself was hungry, who stayed up late to make sure he slept; what are the chances that he will honour me (and not pursue prettier girls) when I am older later?’
The cool guys also influence her to honour mothers who do those tasks full-time. She realises that mothers who are ‘not working’ are as valuable to society as working women.
In fact, ‘not working’ is a gross misnomer. Housewives do these (and much more):
- Organise the house, which determines whether it is a beautiful, safe haven for the family or a stress-inducing shipwreck.
- Cook meals to make sure she knows what exactly enter the body of her husband and children. It determines the long-term physical health and mental performance of the family.
- Spend most of the day personally guarding her child’s mind, especially during the early developmental stages. It determines whether the child grows up to become a world-changer or a dysfunctional citizen.
So, how on earth do we end up saying those who dedicate their full time to these vital functions ‘not working’?
Perhaps, it is because our materialistic mind (without us realising it) defines ‘work’ only as ‘that which earns money’. We then misvalue human beings based on that faulty definition.
We need to redefine it. We need to honour homemakers as much as we do women and men with careers.
And we need to do it soon. Before we slide into a high household-income society that lives in stress-inducing shipwrecks, fed with food that makes them sick, and raises a generation of spiritually dysfunctional citizens.
Helping mothers instead of impressing others
By helping their mothers with the housework, the cool guys may risk the acceptance of their circle of peers.
Here they learn that their worth as tough, masculine men are not enhanced by impressing their friends. Instead, it is enhanced by doing the right thing to take care of their homes, to defend their family castle.
They are willing to be unpopular.
They also respect unspoken rules. Losers break the rules for fun, to show off to other loser friends, to impress naive girls. But cool guys know, rules at home are essential to keep the household from falling apart. So does the rules at school or university. It doesn’t mean the rules are perfect. They do challenge the rules. But only when it’s necessary, and only after they genuinely understand the wisdom behind those rules.
To cleanse away their arrogance, the cool guys help their mothers cleaning the toilet and taking out the garbage . Lack of arrogance makes it easy for them to respect older people around them.
When they need to disagree with the elders, they do it carefully, respectfully. Because they know the good things they have are only there because of the blood and sweat of the older generations. They are grateful. They spend more time sharpening the blade of their minds than busily criticising others online.
To improve the world, they need to improve themselves first.
So they start by helping their mothers. Because they know: An honourable man honours women, and there is no woman more worthy of honour than his own mother.
 I said ‘imperfectly’ because, over time, misogynistic practices seep back into many societies. No matter how good a teacher are, those who follow you sometimes find a way to do exactly the opposite of what you teach them.
 Based on reports such as in Sunan an-Nasa’i 5144: Book 48, Hadith 105; in which Ali bin Abi Talib said, ‘The Prophet of God took hold of some silk in his right hand and some gold in his left, then he said, “These two are forbidden for the males of my Ummah.”‘
 This is not to say that Islam oppresses men. Legal opinions like this are balanced by others that honour fathers and husbands. When it comes to gender relations, Islam does not aim for gender equality; it aims for gender complementarity. It is a loving relationship that respects physiological and psychological differences between genders.
 The Japanese children are taught to do the cleaning in school as well, a practice called ‘o-soji’.