Men in urban areas do well to seriously consider their 'fears' of connecting with a boy who has a background very different from their own. The best way to insure a positive experience for both males and to "do no harm" to the young man is to get some training and have support. Each year, boys in gangs seem to reach new lows of depravity. Misled boys are not limited to inner-city gangs however. Even our suburban communities experience problems with groups of out-of-control young males. Gang socialization often results in high levels of stress and trauma-related experiences for the boys. In addition, many of those boys will exhibit aggressive behaviors, inappropriate social responses, and have inaccurate perceptions about the “real” world. A man might encounter a boy with substance use or gang affiliations, most often ‘handed down’ by older men who are negative role models of manhood. So, it's really important that men who feel led to make a positive connection with a boy, make cautious choices and get some training before getting involved with young males that are not from their part of town.
For men who are considering making a difference in the life of a boy with very different socio-economic background than their own, and not wanting to let a boy down with another rejection or have big problems in the connection, some training is in order. Study this Man-Making Blog. Read Earl’s Man-Making book and other books and articles on troubled boys. Consider getting training and/or support from formal mentoring organizations. This is all part of a responsible plan of action. Sadly, the urban boys of our cities are in desperate need of relationships with men. But the men who can serve them the best are those who know who they are and the nature of their challenges.
For Bostonians, here is an invitation for the sake of our local boys. Contact us at Family Service of Greater Boston and we’ll help you get started in a productive mentoring relationship.
The suggestion from Warren to get training and support when working with boys whose lifestyles and backgrounds are very different from your own, is very good advice. However, taking a small risk to get involved with the boys from your family, neighborhood, or you community who you do “get” is a very good thing to do.
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