July 9, 2015

Groups for men and young men . . . EVERYWHERE?

Some of you know about the gifts of transformation that occur when men gather in a circle to speak their personal truths. I've spent over thirty years in men's support groups of one kind or another and I can say from experience, when the bond of trust has been formed in a group, regardless of the group member's age, magic happens and better men are the result. It's one place where real man-making occurs.

I've seen this magic in countless men's circles, in school groups of young males, and even on weekend passage adventures. If you make a safe place for guys to show up un-masked, you will eventually hear profound honesty about the fears, joys, pain, hopes, anger, longings, and all the parts of males that otherwise lie hidden in confusion behind the face they show the world.

Because of the power of these circles to improve lives, I'm of the opinion that more groups should be available to men and young males. Sadly, in addition to the fears so many males carry about the risks of real intimacy and vulnerability, there are other real world barriers to group attendance. Finding a group at all, or one close enough geographically to be practical, is an issue for many. Then you have to find a group that meets at a time that fits into your busy life. For some, especially the young guys, finding transportation to get to a group can make regular attendance difficult or impossible. For these reasons (and many others), I really like the idea of digital, on-line support groups!

. . . for me, meeting on-line
is far better than not meeting at all.

While I'll admit I have a large bias in favor of being in a face-to-face circle of males as opposed to looking at them on a screen, there is no question for me that meeting on-line is far better than not meeting at all. I have been exploring different platforms for holding on-line, topic-focused meetings. In a conversation with my friend, Luis Oliveira, he mentioned he was a member of an on-line support group. His group was started by Graham Reid Phoenix, the author of the e-book, Journey to the Core of the Masculine. Graham launched the on-line support group two years ago, and it's now called, "The Virtual Men's Gathering." Graham lives in Spain, Luis is in Portugal, and the other men in the group are scattered across the globe. This group is proof that geography doesn't count for much anymore when it comes to man-making.

. . . geography doesn't count for much anymore
when it comes to man-making.

Because The Virtual Men's Gathering is such a good example of how an on-line group for men works, I interviewed Graham and Luis in a Google Hangout to see what we all can learn about this digital approach to man-making. In the video below you'll hear about the benefits of a digital support group, some nuts and bolts about how they work, how they differ from face-to-face groups, and there's even some help if you're thinking of starting an on-line group of your own.

Check out the video and then either contact Graham or send me a quick note and let's see how we can use these amazing digital tools to enhance the lives of men and young males . . . everywhere!

If this clip doesn't show up use this link.

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  1. Anonymous5:47 PM

    Earl, I love your blog. You use the terms male nutrients which is a great term. I also like to think of this as vita-mans!

  2. Earl - Thank you for sharing. I've been part of the Virtual Men's Gathering since Graham started putting it together. It's a powerful group of men.


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