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Safe Place for the Masculine Soul
There is a lot of talk these days about creating safe spaces. Mostly for minority groups who feel victimised. A lot of this discussion is dribble but at times there is a case for such a cause.
Some minority groups do need a place where they can feel safe and be able to express their emotions and feelings and be affirmed in the process.
Interestingly the largest minority group currently on the planet is the male of the species. In Australia, for every 100 females there are 99.36 males. Men are in the minority.
It is hard to believe that men need a safe place, but it is truer today than ever before in history. The
men’s suicide epidemic
tells the story well.
Why is this the case? Men and manhood are mocked more than ever before. Modern sitcoms perfect the art of man bashing and movies are full of villainous males while within the confines of the Family Law Court system, generally speaking, a man is guilty unless he can prove his innocence.
It is true that some very evil men have brought great calamity and murder into the world. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot in the last century
collectively killed 149 million
people between them. No women have been found guilty of such a level of mass murder and evil. Having said that, does this mean that all men are guilty and evil to the core.
Where was this ideological vitriol for the male of the species born and how did it spread?
To understand where the phrase, “All men are bastards” came from we have turn to our tertiary institutions, the halls of academic power. This derogation of manhood epitomised in the phrase “All men are bastards,” began in the sixties and spread through our political, welfare, legal, media, educational and business spheres of influence.
The current phrase of choice is “toxic masculinity".
Today, to question this divine dogma risks social exclusion and reputational martyrdom.
You might find this hard to believe but checkout the following quotes from feminist academics from the last fifty years. Almost all of them are highly respected professors, educators and authors. Many are household names. These are the academics who have been educating our educators for the last five decades.
Some of these quotes make the “All men are Bastards” mantra look pretty tame. It is hard to believe that such people could be believed but they have been. Trust me!
- “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act.” Professor Robin Morgan.
- “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” Andrea Dworkin, writer & lecturer.
- “All men are rapists and that’s all they are.” – Assistant Professor Marilyn French.
- “Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum-security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.” Professor Germaine Greer.
- “The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.” Professor Linda Gordon.
- “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be… a drastic reduction of the population of males.” Professor Mary Daly.
- “The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Professor Sally Miller Gearhart.
So, what is the answer? Firstly, we must heed the words of Martin Luther King.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Jesus was right to say we must “love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us.” Only love from above can heal the wounds that we, both men and women, inflict on each other.
Secondly, we need to provide safe spaces for our men and boys where they can be affirmed in their manhood and experience a positive male rite of passage. They must know that just as women are leaders in society so are men.
Camille Anna Paglia
, who is herself a strong feminist, was right to say, “When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honour their commitments. And without strong men as models… women will never attain a centred and profound sense of themselves as women.”
Men must be taught to reject the darkness perpetrated by other men and women. Men must also draw a line in the sand for the sake of the next generation. Men must be taught that masculinity is not in and of itself evil. To be a true man is noble and good, just as true womanhood is the same.
That’s what the Men’s Leadership Summit last weekend at The Tops Conference Centre was all about. The Summit was not just a line in the sand but the beginning of a transformational journey. Transformation happens when you gather 125 men together in one place with a passion to grow and excel in their manliness.
True transformation begins when men share a mutual perception that the highest form of leadership was displayed by
who washed his followers feet and said, “Whoever among you wants to be great must become the servant of you all.”
Brilliant input on true manhood from
Dr Allan Meyer,
of Care Force Life Keys and author of Valiant Man was combined with profound insight from former Deputy Prime Minister
and then deep generational wisdom from author
one of the world’s greatest experts on Rites of Passage is added.
Fantastic food was mixed with activities like the
adrenalin pumping giant swing
and archery, laughter, singing, brutal honesty, deep spiritual moments, heartfelt sharing and inspirational small bands of brothers.
The saying from the world’s bestselling book, “As iron sharpens iron so does the face of a man’s friend” then comes to life in living technicolor.
The Men’s Leadership Summit is a communal rite of passage for modern men without the drums, fire and the scars, but no less effective. When men collectively encourage their fellow men to push past their failures and follow in the footsteps of the
who ever lived, the results are beyond belief.
I have talked to two wives who have said their men were transformed by their attendance and participation at the Summit. It would not surprise me to find that this is the case dozens of times over. Men don’t always realise they have changed but women do!
The challenge, as always, is for the transformational journey to continue but it is certainly a great way to start.
I asked each of the three keynote speakers to give us a five-minute burst of wisdom at the end. All were outstanding but what Dr Allan Meyer said got under my skin.
He talked about his wife as his beloved ewe lamb and he showed us a picture of her when she was 6 years old that he continually has on his desk. Allan shared how he had not been the best husband to his wife over the last 50 years, but he was determined to change that in the remaining decades of his life.
He travels a lot as a prolific author and speaker but now every day that he is home he makes his wife breakfast in bed every morning. I could almost hear the collective gasp!
This morning my wife got a cup of tea in bed. It took me five days but hey I got there! I like to think I could rise to Allan’s example of true servant leadership, but I am afraid I stand in the shadows of greatness and the shadows are more comfortable.
Another great man said the “spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Some of these speakers are a hard act to follow!
I dare not say imitate me but I do know
who is worthy of imitation. In the meantime, save the date for the Men’s Leadership Summit 7-9 August 2020. Opportunities for safe spaces where men can sharpen other men are few and far between.
Yours for More Great Men
PS: On Thursday 22 August the new movie ‘Overcomer’ from the Kendrick’s brothers, producers of War Room, Courageous, Fireproof and Facing the Giants, is coming to Australian cinemas. I have seen it and am going out of my way to recommend it. It is a magnificent movie, particularly relevant to you as a father.
Watch the trailer
. Go to
to find a
cinema near you
. Don’t wait for the following week to see Overcomer as it might not be in the cinemas. With independent movies everything depends on the first few days.
Manliness means perfect manhood,
as womanliness implies perfect womanhood.
Manliness is the character of a man as he ought to be,
as he was meant to be.
James Freeman Clarke
Healing the Masculine Soul
Men’s Leadership Summit 2019
By Nathaniel Marsh
Last weekend, for me, was life changing.
I said the same thing about the 2018 Men’s Leadership Summit, and this year was no different. 125 men converged on the Tops Conference Centre, set amongst 200 acres of pristine bushland at Stanwell Tops, 1 hour south of Sydney. Men were there from all walks of life, from all over Australia – young men, older men, & men in between.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I live with 6 females (my beautiful wife Jodi and our 5 gorgeous daught
ers who are 11 – 3 years of age
) – spending the weekend with a bunch of blokes is certainly a change for me. It’s more than that, though. There’s something profound about being part of a group of men sharing their hearts and connecting with their Creator. It’s something to do with the Masculine Soul, and the
mystical Brown Ooze
. I like to think it’s being part of men rising and tackling the challenges of our 21
To sum it up in a sentence, the Men’s Leadership Summit is a compelling weekend combination of world-class speakers, real conversations in small groups, solid time with father God, some great fun, and all in a beautiful setting. The food and accommodation are not so shabby either (sorry, that was 2 sentences).
This year we had the always fantastic Dr Allan Meyer take us on a deep dive into the Man Box and open our eyes to the fact that a man will make or break the relationship with his significant other. The excellent John Anderson, former Deputy PM of Australia, opened our minds, and in his most eloquent of ways reminded us that if we lose our faith, we lose our freedoms. Our good friend from the USA, the big-man Brian Molitor, inspired us around rites of passage for our sons and daughters, and challenged us all to leave a lasting legacy.
The indomitable Warwick Marsh and team at Dads4Kids put a lot of effort into designing, planning and really curating the whole weekend to be a safe environment for men to be inspired, challenged, and ultimately transformed into better husbands, fathers and leaders.
There were tears (plenty from me), laughter, lots of hugs, and 125 men singing with one voice – now that is something to behold, and an amazing sound. If you missed the 2019 Men’s Leadership Summit, you want to make sure you’re there in 2020.
Do yourself and your loved ones a favour, lock the 7 – 9 August 2020 into your calendar for the 2020 Men’s Leadership Summit. It might just change your life.
"Many couples believe their marriage is strong because they rarely argue," he says. "But the real marriage killer is when we distance ourselves from our spouse to keep the peace: We throw ourselves into parenting or work to avoid dealing with issues that cause conflict." And if you and your spouse become distant, it places pressure on your kids to fulfill your emotional needs.
After all, when you put your marriage on the back burner, your kids can sense the lack of closeness between you. "Kids whose parents' relationship has cooled are more likely to have behavioural or academic problems than kids of happy couples," says Philip Cowan, PhD, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied families for decades with his wife, psychologist Carolyn Pape Cowan, PhD. Think of your relationship as the emotional environment in which your kids live. Just as you want them to breathe clean air and drink pure water, you want them to grow up in a loving atmosphere. "Even if you can't see yourself going out on a date for yourselves, do it for your kids," says Dr. Cowan. Consider the following ways to make your marriage more of a priority.
Have a Weekday Update
You always find time to listen to your best friend when she needs to vent. But if your husband seems irritable when he comes home, you might just hand him the baby and rush out the door to do errands. In these days of tag-team parenting, those lazy hours spent talking about everything can feel like a distant memory. To stay close, Code suggests that you each share a highlight of your day (like when your son winked at you across the room) and a low point (that parking ticket). Discussing your worst moments may seem like a downer when you have limited time together, but when you understand what the other person is going through, you'll be more of a team.
No matter how great your marriage was before you had kids, you can't just leave it on autopilot now. "A lot of family life is about putting out fires," says Linda Waite, PhD, a sociologist at the University of Chicago. "With children, there are so many things you have to deal with immediately, so you don't work on your own relationship." However, you have to invest time and energy in your marriage—and address tense topics—if you want it to sustain you during tough times.
"In the year after my son Kevin was born, I thought my marriage was in jeopardy," admits Caroline Bogeaus, of Agoura Hills, California. "I felt like my husband left all of the work of parenting to me, and there were days when I was so angry that I couldn't even look at him. But I didn't want us to fight, so I stayed silent and got even madder." Fortunately, her husband, Brandon, eventually sensed her frustration and got her to open up—and now that they have three kids, the couple is closer than ever. "I don't wait for him to guess my thoughts anymore," says Bogeaus. "If I need his help, I just ask him."
Pay a Bit Less Attention to Your Kids
We all want our children to grow up feeling loved, but that doesn't mean you have to stop a conversation with your spouse anytime your kid wants you to watch her do a cartwheel. In fact, she'll be more likely to learn patience and resilience if you ask her to wait. Sunday breakfast is sacred in our family because we can all sit down together. Dan and I like to read the paper and chat after we finish eating, but Aidan would constantly interrupt us. So we put a clock with a timer in the family room and told him he had to play on his own for at least a half hour after breakfast. If he did, his reward was that we'd do something special as a family later in the day. After a few weeks, he started looking forward to making plans for his "Sunday-morning-paper time."
Make Time to Be Alone
Your child may push all your buttons when she begs, "Don't go!" but adult-only time is crucial. "Couples need to work harder to find a good babysitter," says Scott Stanley, PhD, codirector of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. You'll feel less guilty going out if you know your child is home having fun with that college student she likes. Nicole and Craig Campbell, of Rowley, Massachusetts, love the outdoors. Even with four young kids, the two of them manage to hike, jog, and take long walks together. They also have a regular Saturday-night sitter, the same way her parents did. "My kids need a break from us as much as we need it from them," she says. "They get a babysitter who gives them lots of attention, and they get to eat macaroni and cheese. I'm afraid if we didn't do this now, when the kids are grown up, I'd look at Craig and say, 'Who are you?'"
Men and women have strengths
that complement each other.
Edwin Louis Cole
Preparing Sons for Manhood as a Single Dad
By Matt Haviland
This is the Boy Scouts’ motto. It should also be the calling for every young man as he ventures into manhood—spearheaded by his father to help get him there.
As a father, you carry great weight when it comes to influencing the way your son views himself as a man, how he treats women, and his self-confidence. He’s counting on you to navigate him through life’s uncertainties in becoming a real man. Here are a few quick tips for single dads raising sons—whether alone or in a co-parenting agreement.
“I’ve learned that simple walks with my father around the block when I was a child…did wonders for me as an adult.”—Andy Rooney
This quote really emphasises the point of how important father-son time is. Dad, engaging actively in your son’s life will lead to him gaining greater self-confidence, a healthy perspective of masculinity, and reduce the possibility of his involvement in risky behaviours. Whether it’s breakfast on a Saturday morning, working on the car, playing games, or as stated above, simple walks—they all add up tremendously in the upbringing of a confident young man.
If Mum is not Present
Whether she’s physically or emotionally absent, a mother provides a need in a young man’s life that only she can fill—like us dads filling the needs only we can. Talk about his mum in a positive and respectful way. If that’s a stretch now, hold your tongue and don’t say anything at all. Help him to honour his mother. Be creative whenever possible, such as making her a card or gift for special occasions. Encourage your son through age-appropriate touch and affection. Give him the nurturing he desires. Your boy will view all women with the same manner you model. Let him see you open doors for ladies, anything that models chivalry or courtesy will go a long way.
Finding a strong mother-figure to be in his life can be a great move as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean someone you are dating, though that may happen eventually. Is there currently a close family member or friend he can relate to within healthy boundaries to fill in those mother gaps?
Preparing Him for the Battle Ahead
It’s no secret we live in a hyper-sexualized culture. I mentor a middle school boy. One day I talked with my wife about the difference between the way girls dress in elementary school versus middle school. She reminded me that my mentee sees that every day. How will you talk with your son about the proper way to treat women and help keep his eyes and heart protected? Even with a smaller amount of parenting time, you can be influential here—but it must remain a front-burner issue and delivered in a way he will understand.
Similarly, when we fathers hold fast to our integrity regarding protecting our own hearts and eyes, we are much stronger in living truth out before our children. No doubt single dads have their fill of sexual temptation too. How much more will a growing boy face and how will you lead him through it? The more equipped you are to face the battle of sexual temptation the easier it will be to have confident talks with your son. We’re able to impart solid wisdom when we are living in integrity ourselves.
We’re able to impart solid wisdom when we are living in integrity ourselves.
You can be the standard that your son strives for as a man. If you fall short, begin making any necessary changes today. Don’t be intimidated by this calling. Rather, embrace it and live it out for your son.
Edwin Louis Cole said
“Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous”.
Edwin is right, so help me understand the meaning of your Son’s words.
When He said, “
He who loses his life will find it
Help me sit at the feet of the Master
as I learn how to lose my life for my family’s sake!
Help me sit at the feet of the Master
as I learn how to make my children
the first priority in my life
and my wife a greater priority than that.
Love birthed my children and love will carry them
because true love gives!
in May 2002 and is a tax deductible harm prevention charity. Fatherlessness and inadequate fathering has been proven to be a source of harm. The Dads4Kids (trading name) Fatherhood Foundation (registered name) helps children by promoting excellence in fathering. Excellent fathers are in word and deed: responsible, involved, protective, loving and committed to the well-being of their children and their children's mother.
To transform the nation by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be.
To equip, encourage and inspire fathers, strengthen and support families and engage with community, church, business and government to see our children thrive.
Educating and inspiring Dads, families and communities into action. through electronic and digital media with awareness campaigns, programs, research and other resources.
Equipping and developing leaders of national, state and community fathering initiatives through forums, conferences, festivals, mentoring courses, curricula, training and technical assistance.
Engaging every sector of society through strategic alliances and partnerships.
Courage, Compassion, Integrity, Humility, Faith.
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