Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tell us your men's community story

Everyman’s 21st Century Blog

When the state-grant-funded doors of Everyman’s Center first swung open in late 1979, who would’ve guessed that eventually thousands of men would find their way to the center and its groups, workshops, presentations, concerts, and more? Well, they did! Those offerings were an answer to a call by men seeking lives of greater satisfaction and fulfillment as friends, partners, spouses, fathers, community and business leaders.
Have things changed about and for men today? Certainly there are more of us on the planet.  Much of what really matters remains unchanged. Our inherent goodness as human beings, our ability to care for and be cared for, our ability to build families, businesses, and communities. And yet, something has fundamentally changed about how we view men. There is a growing awareness by both genders of that inherent goodness—and how it can be sabotaged by the way we raise boys to become men. There is an understanding that all the qualities we designate as “masculine” and “feminine” are really present in every person. Each and every human being came here to express those parts in their own unique way. Some of that expression happens within our world in wondrous, collaborative and creative ways. And we all too often sleep-walk in old societal roles and scripts that would have us “divide and conquer”—dividing boys from boys, boys from girls, men from women, ultimately leaving us in isolation from others and vital parts of ourselves.
Probably the biggest breakthrough in our understanding of ourselves as men is that if we are not passionately engaged in creating, building, cooperating, collaborating, loving, and playing we are prone to unhealthy addictions, depression, other serious physical and mental health problems, lowered life expectancy, suicide, and crimes against our own and others’ humanity. The statistics are now well documented. The numbers, sad as they are, help to underscore the ever-more-urgent need for boys and men to learn to stay connected to their inherent worth, their value to society, and their inner and intuitive selves. This can most successfully be done in families and communities that fully understand and embrace who boys and men really are. The realization that each and every one of us on the planet today is on a hero’s journey is important to that understanding.
This is a journey of proving oneself—not through gang or secret society initiation (from barrio to board room) or domination of others through any forms of violence be they physical, psychological, economic, or environmental—but through self-mastery of one’s thoughts, feelings, and acts. It is a self-mastery aligned with the greater good of one’s family and community and therefore the greater good of all of humanity. It is a self-mastery that holds the powerful key to self-love, the true basis of all personal and world-wide transformation.
You may ask, “Where is that community that fully understands and embraces who boys and men really are?” That question is the calling of this blog I’ve called Everyman’s 21st Century Blog. We don’t often see these families or communities identified or even spoken of in mainstream media or the glossy men’s magazines full of advice (some of it useful, some of it further distracting men from their own deeply personal quest for authenticity, meaning and purpose).
In the decades since Everyman’s Center there have been efforts on the part of many to bring new generations of men into a genuine and whole sense of manhood. They are parents, they are teachers, they are counselors, they are community organizers. Most of all they are visionaries and healers because it takes a visionary to see beyond the immediate situation and circumstances of a boy or man’s life, to who he really is and what he can become—especially if that boy or man is in trouble. They are healers because they are willing to get actively involved in those lives, to make a difference for that boy or man, which in turn makes a difference for all of us desiring a more peaceful, prosperous and joy-filled world.

As this blog continues to develop and gain a greater and greater following, I know you will hear some amazing stories, see pictures of what the 21st century for boys and men can look like, receive and be supported by new resources and ideas. You'll be excited and inspired in your own work to bring men fully into partnership with the greatest mission ever undertaken, to bring wholeness to the human world and thus heal the natural world that gives us life.
I invite everyone reading this to share your story as the visionaries, mentors and healers you are.  I invite those who have been the beneficiaries of such a relationship or community to do so as well.  In so doing you will be providing the evidence that in fact the kind of community I’ve described is alive, well, and growing exponentially.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

Randy Crutcher