Dylan Stewart Columnist
How do you explain why a man needs a men’s circle? How do you tell a man, who won’t even ask for directions, how to find direction in his life? What can you possibly say to the man who knows it all, and has every answer, to get him to start asking better questions?
I believe that we have been doing a disservice to men in the way that we communicate about the opportunities available to them through community. Through brotherhood. Through connections with other men.
Those of us that have experienced a men’s circle know what it feels like, know what it can do for you, and understand why all men should experience something like this at some point in their lives. But if you’ve never seen the color blue, how can you ever have it described to you? How can you ever understand what it looks like without experiencing it yourself?
I recently learned a new way to discuss it. And now I’ve seen it from another perspective. The perspective of the women in men’s lives.
I was meeting at a coffee shop a week or two ago with a group of men discussing the possibility of creating a new men’s team, and one of them told the story of a conversation with his wife the night before.
He had been off of his men’s team for almost 6 months, and when he told his wife he would be waking up early on his day off, she laughed at him, wondering what could possibly possess them to do that. Until he told her it was because he was meeting with some men about starting a new men’s team.
Her whole demeanor changed, and she asked how she could help, offered to get him coffee, wake up and feed him breakfast, anything to get him back on to a men’s team. Why? Is this man just unbearable without a men’s team in his life? I don’t think so, I know this man. But I do believe that his wife recognizes something in him that we as men need to be aware of.
The women in our lives can often see us and our potential better and clearer than we can see it ourselves. They know what we are able to do when we are our best selves, and they also know what happens when we are less than our best selves. How we get in our own way, stumble over our own feet, allow our ego to be greater than our commitments. They see what we can be at our best and our worst, and as the amazing nurturers that they are, they want to see us at our best. Actually they need to see us at our best. For society to work, both men and women must be owning who they are, and what they’re capable of, and supporting each other.
I’m in a pretty new relationship, six months this weekend in fact. She has never known me to not be involved in men’s work, and although she doesn’t fully understand it, she definitely supports it. She gives me the room and the space to do the work that I need to do around the men in my life. She encourages me to have “guy time.” She can’t wait to see what this new team I might step onto will do for me, and for us, and for those in my circle. Without ever knowing me without met in my life, why would she support me like this? I believe it is inherent in our women to see what we are capable of. To see what we can do when we really put our minds to changing ourselves, and the world around us.
So the point of this is that we may be looking at enrolling men the wrong way. Rather than trying to convince a man that he needs a circle, maybe we need to show that man how his wife will respond when he starts working on his life in a better way. When he starts doing the work. When he starts keeping his own yard clean, so that he can be a better husband, a better father, a better son… a better man and l a better member of society.
Men can be complicated creatures. We believe our own stories. We mistake the masks we wear for our true faces. We refuse to ask for help and believe we can do it all on our own. We sell out our dreams and hopes for instant gratification and quick fixes.
Is it any surprise that the suicide rate among men is as high as it is? Does anyone blink at the statistics that show men dying earlier than women at an ever increasing rate?
And yet when we are inspired, motivated, surrounded with other men who pull us up rather than those who push us down, we create miracles. We build monuments. We change the very society and world we live in.
Men have gotten a bad rap lately, and in truth… We deserve a lot of it. But we are not simply the negative, we are also the positive. The amazing. The nurturing. The supporting. We are the rock that our women can count on, the mentors that are children look up to, the examples that people in our society need so desperately, and our women see that potential. They see that possibility. They see that unmistakable truth in our eyes every Day.
So if you’re not going to make yourself a better man for you, do it for her. Whether that woman is your mother, your daughter, your sister, your girlfriend or your wife. Do it for her. They need us to be better, they need us to be stronger, they need us to show up, and step up for them and for all the other Women out there who don’t know that good men still exist.
Let’s change the tide today. Let’s turn this society around and show the women who we really are.
We are men.
We are loving and giving, strong and vulnerable, reliable and resourceful, unmistakably amazing and completely capable of asking for directions.
It’s time we start living up to our true potential, and raising the bar for what the world can expect of the Modern Awakened Man.