December 29, 2008

LAAMB-ing and not FRAP-ing Boys

Out of the Boys to Men network has come a beautifully simple job description for a man who is mentoring a boy. It's called LAMMB-ing. It stands for Listen, Accept, Admire, Model, and Bless. It's something that most men can do without much effort. This man-making job description is easy enough that it might help to take away some of the fears so many men carry that prevent them from mentoring a young male. Like the one that says, "Who I am and what I know is not enough to be a man-maker for a boy."

As I write this I'm having the feeling that I too, would like to be LAMMB-ed more often. That even in my elderhood, I still hunger for men in my life who will listen to me without judgment, regularly admire my gifts, model behaviors I can learn from and absorb, and who will drop the occasional blessing on me. Who of us reading this wouldn't feel safe, cared for, and blossom in that kind of relationship?

In addition to the sweet "to do" list inherent in LAMMB, two of my man-making heroes, Edoardo Lippolis and Collin Irish at Threshold Passages, Inc., have added another acronym that takes the art of man-making up a notch. It's the very intentional avoidance of FRAP-ing others.

FRAP stands for Fixing, Rescuing, Advising (unsolicited), and Projecting. In general, these are behaviors that mentors try to stay away from in a mentoring relationship. The goal is to create an environment in which LAAMB can occur, and which creates inclusion and healing. In my experience, there is a beauty in the gentle support described by the LAMMB behaviors, and real danger when I man feels compelled to direct a young male's path through life. The problem shows up most often is when the young man is making poor choices. Those behaviors call up the latent parent, therapist, cop, or all those other potentially inappropriate and possibly damaging roles men can play. The temptation of course is to be seen as all knowing by having all the answers, even if you have to make up something that just sounds smart. Men never do that . . . right?

To avoid FRAP-ing someone, the men at TPI suggest waiting until the young male is "soliciting advice of his own volition." When that happens, and IF the man really does have solid information, he can share it with the young man. If he does not have solid information, he points the lad to someone who does. Not only does this process keep the relationship comfortable for everyone, it also gives a man the opportunity to model humility and the importance of asking others for help.

While each element of LAAMB and FRAP could have a short course all to itself, taken literally and applied, they provide the basis for safety and trust in any relationship.

If you want to know more about LAAMB-ing, FRAP-ing, and the Rites of Passage Adventure Weekend being offered by the men at Threshold Passages, Inc. check out their website at:

And then why not start LAMMB-ing the boys that cross your path . . . starting today?

1 comment:

  1. Warren2:31 PM

    Let us learn . . . that the inner emotional/spirit 'real' NEEDS of our children and of our FAMILIES MUST be our PRIORITIES. So that soon, and in the future, when we see, hear and read (on our iPhones etc.) about our 'boys and girls', we’ll hear less horrific news about atrocities in our streets, or violent conflict in our homes, and how they have overcome wicked selfish greed in our financial institutions, and no longer tolerate untrustworthy individuals, corporations and government agencies.

    Then we can be soothed by GRACE when it is acknowledged globally how our citizens have BECOME once again (or maybe for the first time?) thousands of shining points of lights to the nations of the world.

    I'm bout you?


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