January 30, 2009

A Call to Missing Fathers

One of my Man-Making heroes profiled here in the past is Mustafa Mahdi. He runs The Rising Son, Inc. Young Men's Development Center in Jonesboro, Georgia. He is living proof about how one dedicated man, on a wing and a prayer, can have enormous impact on the lives of countless boys in his community. Mustafa and his loyal band of Man-Makers are dealing with the tragic costs of absent or under-involved fathers in boy's lives. That's why it wasn't surprising to get this email from him:

Greetings Brother Earl,

I pray and hope all is well with you and your family. I just had the pleasure of viewing a new video by Hip Hop Artist New York Oil called "Father Father." Take a moment to check it out and listen closely to the words. You will see a wonderful video with some beautiful photographs of fathers with their children.

The video is indeed a thing of beauty. The clip is just below. Fathers are the most powerful Man-Making force on the planet. This video, including the clips of President Obama, is a heart-based call inviting dads to come back home and do what needs to be done.

If the clip doesn't show up, go to this LINK. Let me know what you think.

You can read a note from Mustafa, and learn more about his work at the end of this post.

From Mustafa: We're still here at The Rising Son, Inc. Young Men's Development Center striving to be all that The Most High would have us to be. Now that Clayton County School System has lost it's accreditation we are planning to offer home school tutoring for boys at our center in a few weeks. Keep us in your prayers.

From Me: I don't often endorse, but if you are passionate about Man-Making and have a few bucks laying around, The Rising Son would be a great place to send a donation.

January 20, 2009

Tasmanian Wildmen

To build solid young males, you need committed, motivated, male-literate men. That's why I like to occasionally profile organizations pursuing men's development. One solid organization that has been doing that since 1999 is the Tasmanian Men's Health and Wellbeing Association, Inc.

Their most recent offering is the upcoming Explore the Wildman meeting in Waddamama, Tasmania, March 6 through the 9th, 2009. Rob Dalton, one of my connections there asks these compelling questions, "Where is that part of you that knows exactly what it wants to do and won't let fear or anything else get in the way?" Your source for living,"Raw, energetic, powerful, passionate and full of life." As Rob says, it promises to be a time for, "Exceptional cooking, reflection, new experiences, ritual, humor, delight, and an opportunity to explore your Wildman with other men from around Australia.

As a prelude to that gathering, the Second National Elders Gathering will be held from the 4th of March to mid-day on the 6th. It's theme is Letting Go of the Warrior. Elders will gather to discuss changing lives, energy, emotions, and roles, all in the contexts of self, families, community and spirit.

As men evolve and experience the powerful mutual support at these meetings, our communities are profoundly enriched. The supply of men modeling a positive and authentic masculinity for young males grows, and we all benefit. Given what's in it for you and the other males around you, you'll consider starting a meeting like this in your own community? Or just engage your wildman and do it!

For information on what these Tasmen are doing, contact Rob Dalton at robjdalton@gmail.com, or visit Tasmen's website.

January 16, 2009

Man-Making Movie - Grand Torino

Phil Perry, a Man-Making blog reader, sent along this review of the recently released movie, Gran Torino. If you have a favorite film that speaks to men and boys, send along your suggestion or add it to the comments section of this post. I'll add it to the growing list on the Man-Making Website.

Here's Phil's review:

How I identified with the two main characters in the movie Gran Torino. The film starts showing us an old man that nobody wants to be around. He is isolated, gruff, uncaring, haunted by his past, and quite content to be left alone. He is trapped in a struggle to break free from the past and embrace the present. As a male I identified with his struggle. Twenty years ago I referred to myself as a recovering male. Back then I was recovering from my past, and I felt frozen in an ambiguous, confusing present.

As a teenager, while trying to figure out who I was, I felt the peer pressure to be like everyone else. I felt the cultural judgments, the fear of being different, and the fear of not belonging. Gran Torino also profiles a male teenager with similar feelings. He's new to the neighborhood and trying to be himself. He has cousins in a gang that are determined to have him join them.

The relationship of the movie’s two main characters is beautifully woven. During the course of the movie, the old man discovers his caring side (apparently dormant most of his life), his mentoring ability, and his nobility. The young man discovers his manhood, is given hope, and a better chance at life than he once had.

I liked this movie a lot. It's not just a sad, painful tale; it's filled with delightful wit and humor. The story is told masterfully, keeping you entertained all the way. And as an older male, it brought home to me the need to try harder, to reach out more to young men. I was reminded, once again, of how the young males in this country painfully need older men involved in their lives.

Thanks Phil.

Here is the trailer for
Gran Torino. See if it doesn't stir something in your protective male soul. If you can't view the clip use this link.

January 4, 2009

A Playground for Men

It had to happen. Imagine a place where men can go to play with guy toys. BIG toys, like a giant Komatsu backhoe, Hummers, jackhammers, dirt bikes, quads in mud, and much more. If you are over 16 and love the smell of diesel fuel, man sweat, and getting really dirty, you'll love Männerspielplatz. It's in Germany, and the word literally translates to "men's playground."

From a very young age, many of us played with miniature versions of a dump truck, steam shovel, or fire engine. There was something about these toys that totally captured a young male's imagination. An almost always successful outing with boy or group of boys it to the dealerships where big cats or trucks are sold. Climbing around on the big guys is always a treat for all the males present. But now the Männerspielplatz created the opportunity to release those inner hungers.

I haven't heard about "men's playgrounds" like this in the states. If you know of one, let me know and I'll share it here. For now I'll have to settle for the dream of playing for a day with all the guy toys.

Here's the Männerspielplatz promotional video. It seems to focus on the big machinery, but they offer an enormous variety of ways to get a man (or young male over 16) a reason to say, "Yesssss!"

If the video doesn't show up, go to this link.