One approach for ripening men to man-making with boys is to help them remember their adolescent years. To remind them of the joys, discomforts, and the men that played important developmental roles in their lives. What follows are a few of the questions I asked of the men who contributed their stories to the Man-Making book. You can find additional questions at this link on the Man-Making website or you can download the PDF here. If you can gather a group of men, I guarantee questions like this, discussed in small groups, will lead to some very powerful sharing, are guaranteed to touch a man’s soul, and will be moving for all men present.
1. Important Male Mentors: Who was an important male mentor for you (other than your father) as you were growing up? Tell us how this man helped you along on your journey to manhood.
2. Being between Boyhood and Manhood: Do you remember shyness, confusion, and the discomforts of no longer being a boy, but not yet being a man? Will you share a story about the rapid growth in your body, your voice changing, your general restlessness, feeling clumsy, stealing for the excitement of it, your emerging sexuality, embarrassing moments (first hard-on), pimples, being with girls, or testing parents' limits?
3. Important Lessons about Manhood: What were some of your earliest lessons you were taught about how to be a man? Who taught you? Did the lessons come from your father, a relative, a friend, another boy, a person in your neighborhood, or someone else? Tell us about one important lesson you learned as an adolescent about something a man does or doesn’t do?
4. Learning How to Be a Man: Tell us about one of those moments when, on your own, you discovered or figured out one of the pieces to the puzzle called "How to Be a Man." It could have been from experimentation, reading, TV, movies, or just watching older boys and men. What was your discovery, how did you figure it out, and what did you learn?
5. When Did You Become a "Man": What was THE moment in your life when you knew, for sure, that you had become a "man"? What event, action, or ceremony took place so that you knew a line had been crossed and you were no longer a boy and had entered manhood? If you can't remember any defining moment, how do you feel about that now? How do you know you are a "man" today? Simply helping remember they too were adolescent males once upon a time, along with some of the detail, is a great way to put men in touch with the need for good men in boy's lives. I also like to remind men that the good men who did show up for them didn't have any special training!
If you want to take a whack at answering any of these questions, you can go to the Man-Making Blog site, click on the word "comments" below this post and add your response there. You can also send it along to me and I'll add it for you.
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