Greetings fellow travelers, I have been reflecting on the many discussions around “fixing men.” My personal take on this contentious issue is the use of descriptive language and I’ll attempt to explain my reasoning.
The MensWork Project Inc recently conducted a Training Weekend for men interested in learning some group work skills that they could take back to their group. The weekend enabled men from many different individual and interest groups to contribute their views, ideas and cumulative aspects on how to facilitate a men’s group, some of us came from a background of a prepared specific facilitation model, others from a therapeutic intervention model, some from a strict “no fixing” model, some with a skill based emphasis and some with a free range themed style of group. The diversity was most obvious and inspiring for us to all to be together for this wide range of sharing.
Each different model of men’s work may have originally evolved from a perceived community need to offer a reason for men to gather in a structured environment, that process could come under the generic banner of “MEN NEED FIXING.” Alternatively, all of the men’s work currently on offer grew from an ethos that “MEN ARE WORTH THE EFFORT.” No matter in what form men’s work has developed, all have been structured to enable men to grow and raise their personal awareness above the effects of our male social conditioning. So in essence, there has been a collective community effort to provide some form of repair mechanism for the damage and wounding that society imposes on males. By making available a men’s group, we are in actual fact offering a “fix it” model in many varied forms.
Most men’s work impetus originated from the work of Robert Bly, John Lee, Sam Keen, Warren Farrell and many others in the USA, those men used the “mythopoetic” model of describing our cultural male heritage and what we needed to put in place for healing.
I think that the model is due for change, history has shown that men continue to perpetuate the basis of our male socialisation without many questioning the outcomes and the damage done to us and others. Those of us who have taken the brave path of challenging the effects of our personality formation, either in men’s groups or one-on-one counselling, will readily see that other men in our lives could do with some “fixing”!
Resist the temptation, just be available to provide quality listening, empathy and your time, that’s what good men do.