January 31, 2012

Puberty Boy - by Geoff Price

Geoff Price is an author and therapist based in Sydney, Australia. He also happens to be a friend of mine and ally of man-makers everywhere. Just one of his solid publications is a book called Puberty Boy. It’s been called ‘rite of passage’ manual for adolescent males. It’s a book designed to help boys, going through a very complicated (and sometimes embarrassing) time in their lives, understand what’s going on and feel good about themselves and their masculinity in the process. It’s a much needed guide for boys, helping with all the questions surrounding the transition from being a boy to becoming a young man.
Geoff is described as a man who, for the last two decades, has been working to improve the health and well-being of men and boys. Because he is a very boy-literate guide, the book is written in boy-friendly language, with lots of helpful stories. It offers much needed and accurate anatomical information and illustrations, and covers not only physical changes, but new research on brain development at puberty every boy undergoes. One of my favorite charts in the book describes the changes in a young male’s body as he is propelled by his internal chemistry.

You can learn more about Puberty Boy at Geoff’s website. If you’re in or near Australia, you can order the book directly from Geoff. For US readers, the book is available at Amazon.com.

While you’re visiting Geoff’s website, check out his newest book, “What They Don’t Teach Men About Themselves.” You can quickly download the e-book and immediately begin increasing your male literacy.



LIKE: If you enjoy this blog, please visit the Man-Making Facebook page and click the "Like" button.

TWEET: Sent this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!

SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email 3-4 times a month, go to this link for a free subscription.

CONTACT: Send Earl a message.

January 23, 2012

The Power of a Mentor

On January 3, 2012, President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation officially designating January as National Mentoring Month. January 2012 marks the 11th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, and this year's campaign, Invest in the Future. Mentor a Child, is being driven by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

There are plenty of good reasons to designate a month to honor mentors and raise awareness about this transformational form of relationship. Mentor, the National Mentoring Partnership, again tells us what has been clear for a very long time. Studies of both well-established programs and newer ones that provide youth with formal one-to-one mentoring relationships, have provided strong evidence of their success in reducing the incidence of delinquency, substance use and academic failure. These studies further indicate that formal youth mentoring programs can also promote positive outcomes, such as improved self-esteem, social skills and knowledge of career opportunities.

A Ford Foundation study also found that high school students with mentors are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, have fewer arrests, have fewer children, become involved in community service and are more hopeful about their future than those without mentors. These are not uncommon findings. One-on-one mentoring really does work, and it deserves our support.


On the National Mentoring Month website there is a list of 10 things a person interested in this concept might do, including become a mentor! One easy action I really like for those who aren't ready to step into a full mentoring relationship, is to, "Think about the mentors in your life, and post a tribute to them online." Most men have a guy or two in the background of their lives, other than their father, who gave them a boost, some coaching, was supportive, or who showed up at an important time in their lives. You can post a "thank you" tribute to that man by going to the Who Mentored You website for ideas about where, or by telling the readers of this blog about him in the (new) comments section to this post below.

Another simple action listed on the National Mentoring Month website is to simply find a mentoring organization near you and make a donation. With the deep cutbacks in funding, these heroic organizations need your financial support more than ever. For a zip code search to find a mentoring organization near you, look in the center of the home page of Mentor, The National Mentoring Partnership.

In the Man-Making book, I outline a dozen or more ways men can have a positive, and often critical, influence in a young man's life. I know mentoring is not for all men. However, after good and involved fathers, there isn't a connection more powerful than a long-term, one-on-one mentoring relationship. Men who have taken that step will always say both males were made better for their time together. The truth is, every man reading this post, just as he is right now, is perfect for the job!

You make me want to be a better man!
Jack Nicholson (as Melvin)
As Good As It Gets (1997)


LIKE: If you enjoy this blog, please visit the Man-Making Facebook page and click the "Like" button.

TWEET: Sent this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!

SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email 3-4 times a month, go to this link for a free subscription.

CONTACT: Send Earl a message.

January 18, 2012

RESULTS of the 2011 Man-Making Blog Survey

NOTE: There has been a slowing in my posting rate the last two months. Some of it was due to the holidays, but mostly, the fact that I’ve been working on the Second Edition of the Man-Making book. Watch for the publication announcement in late February or early March.  

Thanks for your interest in the Annual Man-Making Blog Survey for 2011. If you didn't get a chance to give me your ideas and opinions, the survey form, at this link, will continue to accept responses until the end of January. If you haven't yet, please take a moment and help me increase the value of this blog for you. While very helpful responses are still coming in, there are some common trends showing up I’d like to share with you.  

Here is a general summary of what you told me:

Your overall satisfaction with the blog came in with 64% of respondents giving it a 5 (love it) and another 24% with a satisfaction rating of 4. That means 88% of you really like what you’re getting. No one gave the blog a one or two.  

As to the frequency of posting, at the current 3-5 posts per month, again this year 85% of you said it was just right. A few wanted more, and a few wanted less. One person who requested fewer posts said he needed more time to “digest and research” the content. In the hopes that too much of a good thing is OK, I'll continue post at about the same rate.

I also asked, What's ONE thing I can do or change to improve the blog for you? By far the most common response was to just keep on doing what I’m doing. There was a suggestion to provide a listing of local opportunities for men who want to get involved with man-making (check out the zip code search engine at the National Mentoring Partnership). There were a few requests for research based posts, and a couple wanting to learn more about an adolescent male’s developmental stages. I’ll try to honor those themes in upcoming posts.

While it’s difficult for me to collect, a number of you wanted to hear from young guys; what they want from men, what a rite of passage experience was like for them, and how it feels to have an older man (other than the father) involved in their life. Will do what I can on that one too. If you have a story like that or know young men I can interview, please let me know.

In the question where I asked, What type of content is most interesting or helpful for you?, there were a few clear leaders. The Physical and Emotional Development of Boys and "What You Can Do" to Support Boys were the most requested at 62%. Stories about Personal Rites of Passage Examples, from men and boys was close to the top at 58%. Men's Stories about Man-Making, Activities for Men and Boys, and Man-Making Related Research were requested content by almost half of you.

Here is the complete list. Remember people could select more than one response so the totals come to more than 100%.
  • What You Can Do" to Support Boys 62% 
  • The Physical and Emotional Development of Boys 62% 
  • Personal Rites of Passage Examples 58% 
  • Men's Stories about Man-Making 46% 
  • Activities for Men and Boys 46% 
  • Man-Making Related Research 46% 
  • Related Film and Book Reviews 35% 
  • How to do Rites of Passage for Boys 31%" 
  • Recorded Podcast Interviews (with people in the field) 27% 
  • Information on Organizations Initiating Boys 27% 
  • Community Violence Prevention 19%

I also asked, Is there a resource you know of I should profile in the blog? The short list of your responses to this question included: the Pathways Foundation in Australia (post coming soon), the name of an organization initiating young male in South Africa, a number of books and films for guys (any book or film reviewers out there?), and an offer from New Zealand to be a “down under” correspondent for man-making happenings in that part of the world. All this has been captured for future blog posts.

Finally the question: Why do you stay subscribed to this blog? Some of your responses really warmed my heart. Just a short sample of what you said includes:
  • Because I want to help young men become good fathers and citizens. 
  • I need this inspiration to keep me involved with the boys in my neighborhood. 
  • It keeps me connected to my own journey to manhood, keeps me aware of the boys around me. 
  • I am a parent of 3 sons and 2 grandsons. 
  • Curiosity and desire to learn how to support them keep me coming back to your blog. 
  • Your blog posts cover current affairs and are very relevant to men like me with the passion of helping boys on their journey. 
  • I’m interested in men/ boys/ masculinity/ how to be a male in this world 
  • Great information to pass along in my office (mentoring organization)--where all of my women co-workers need to be constantly reminded on how to recruit male mentors. 

Thanks again for your feedback. I’m always open to your suggestions, challenges, book or film reviews, and your stories about men and boys on their journey to manhood. You can use the comments feature at the end of any post, or use the "Send Earl a message" link at the end of each post.

Mostly, THANKS for your support and for caring about all our boys.

Earl



LIKE: If you enjoy this blog, please visit the Man-Making Facebook page and click the "Like" button.

TWEET: Sent this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!

SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email 3-4 times a month, go to this link for a free subscription.

CONTACT: Send Earl a message.

January 10, 2012

Young Guys and Warrior Energy

Testosterone has been called the aggression chemical. An average adolescent male is experiencing five to seven surges of this chemical a day, increasing the presence of that hormone in his body up to 800% over the course of a day. This results in new and confusing feelings of physical and sexual energy, increasing strength, muscle growth, and feelings of personal power. This is part of the reason young males show up so full of themselves, aggressive, restless, moody, and looking for any opportunity to test their newly-discovered potential. Another way to say all that is adolescent males, full of testosterone, are perfectly primed to hear the call to become warriors.

When I think of a "call" to be a warrior, there is nothing I've come across that can match the War Haka from the Maori people of New Zealand. There are different types of hakas, and they are performed by both genders, but the most fierce is the War Haka. It was traditionally used by male warriors before battle, to demonstrate their viciousness, aggressiveness, strength, and battle skills, in order to discourage and scare the crap out of the enemy. It's still used that way today.

The first video clip of two just below, shows the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team doing the War Haka at the 2011 World Cup tournament. As someone commented on YouTube, It looks like those guys will eat your liver for breakfast and your kidneys for dessert. Yikes! This clip sets the War Haka bar for the boys in the next video.

The second video shows hundreds of adolescent males at the 2011 Westlake Boys Haka Competition. I couldn't help but feel this was a great way for all these high school guys to channel all that young dude warrior energy.

BIG QUESTIONS: Adolescent males don't have a choice about what's going on in their bodies. Does your community provide a variety of positive outlets for this powerful warrior energy? Another question that haunts me is, what is a normal adolescent male to do if there are no positive outlets? If you have answers to these questions, please tell us about it in the comments section for this post, or contact me with your response.



Use this link if the All Blacks Rugby Team clip doesn't show up.



Use this link if the Westlake Boys Haka Competition clip doesn't show up.




LIKE: If you enjoy this blog, please visit the Man-Making Facebook page and click the "Like" button.

TWEET: Sent this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!

SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email 3-4 times a month, go to this link for a free subscription.

CONTACT: Send Earl a message.