September 16, 2012

LAAMB-ing and not FRAP-ing Boys

Vacation: Because I'm on a vacation trip to Switzerland and France until the end of September, I'm taking the easy route and publishing a few favorite posts (mine and yours) from the history of this Blog. Enjoy!

Out of the Boys to Men network has come a beautifully simple job description for a man mentoring a boy or boys. It's called LAMMB-ing. It stands for Listen, Accept, Admire, Model, and Bless. It's something most men can do without much effort. The hope is, in addition to the quality of connection that results, this prescription will eliminate some of the fears so many men carry preventing them from showing up for young males. Like the too common fear, "Who I am and what I know is not sufficient to be a man-maker for a boy."

As I write this I'm having the feeling I too would like to be LAMMB-ed more often. 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 you reading this wouldn't feel safe, cared for, and blossom in that kind of relationship?

In addition to the "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 young males.

FRAP stands for Fixing, Rescuing, Advising (unsolicited), and Projecting. In general, these are behaviors man-makers try to avoid. The goal is to create an environment in which LAAMB-ing can regularly and frequently occur, and where FRAP-ing is avoided.

In my experience, there is real danger when a man feels compelled to direct a young male's path through life with some form of FRAP-ing. The latter problem shows up most often 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 young man's answers, even if you have to make up something to sound 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 keep the relationship comfortable for everyone, it gives a man the opportunity to model humility and the importance of asking others for help.

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

If you want to know more about LAAMB-ing, FRAP-ing, and training for the men in your organization to work with young guys, contact me. You can also download a PDF of this post describing LAAMB-ing and FRAP-ing in a little more detail.

If you want to know more about the Rites of Passage Adventure Weekend being offered by the men at Threshold Passages (and see a sweet video clip of their weekend), check out their website at:

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

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