Meeting 2-1
Focus: What it means to be a Man

The basic structure of this meeting is the same as Meeting 1.1 - refer back for more information.

Some issues may have come up during check-in that the group may wish to spend more time on rather than moving straight into the 'focus'; or perhaps some issue is still to be dealt with from the previous week. When it is appropriate the leader moves the group into the main focus for this meeting.

5) The Big Bit in the middle - the leader announces the focus of the meeting

Focus: What it means to be a man

"One of the hardest things for a men's group to come to terms with is the idea of 'what it means to be a man'. We've been taught that somehow we have to prove our manhood - we have to measure-up to someone else's definition."

"Each of us comes in with our own experiences, our own lessons learned, our own understanding of what manhood is - some of these lessons may have been learned in healthy and supportive ways, some may have been learned in inappropriate and painful ways."

"How do we apply those measures to ourselves today?"
"How do we judge other men in this way?"
"How do we let ourselves be judged in this way?"

Exercises

  1. Reflect and share on experiences and lessons learned around 'manhood'.
  2. How have some of these experiences impacted you - were they painful or pleasant?
  3. Who gave you these lessons? What do you think motivated them?
    What do you understand about their level of understanding now?
    Were they wrong/right? Why?
  4. How have some of these experiences influenced life decisions?
  5. How have some of these experiences influenced relationship decisions?
  6. What would you change in these experiences if you could?
  7. Who decides what it means to be a man - now - for you?
  8. Is anybody judging you in your life right now about 'manhood' ? - ie about what you 'should be', or be doing for them, because you are a man? Why?
    How do you feel about that?
    Are they 'right' or 'wrong'? Why? What motivates them?
  9. How many different ways are there of being a man?

Notes for Meeting 2-1

This meeting is an opportunity to share, release and raise awareness about our experiences in this area. Some of these experiences may have been very painful. Our self-judgements continue to control and direct our lives - as do judgements other men have of us - and - judgements we apply to others around us. As we become more aware of these expectations and judgements, we are more able to consider their appropriateness, both when (self applied to us, and when we apply them to others. (See Meetings - Shaming; Emotional Violence).