What I have learnt from… young men

  • bbash 

I am not a young man, I am closer to 60 than 16, closer to the end than to the beginning; and it is for this reason that I was reluctant to take on teenage clients.  I often wondered what wisdom I would have to share and help them.

How wrong I was.

Over the past 18 months I have opened my practice to anyone high school aged and above.  As a result, I have been fortunate enough to meet and guide many young people through their troubles.  A number of them are young men, and boy (forgive the pun) have I learnt from them.

Here are some of the lessons I have learnt:

  • They are more in tune with themselves and their surroundings I ever was,
  • They want to be better.  Better than the people in their lives, better for their future (or current) partners, their children, their community, and their employer.
  • They want to love, and be loved–deeply, honestly, and passionately.
  • They want a better future for all.
  • They want–no desperately need–strong positive and healthy male role models.  They often have males in their lives but recognise those males are not positive people.

But most of all, I have discovered they hurt.  Why?  From what I can gather, because they do not have the above.  They do not want to be part of a lifestyle that uses, abuses, and discards people; what is known as the throw-away lifestyle.

They hurt because they are confused about being blamed and punished for the sins of the few.  They see on the news that schools are forcing young men to stand and apologise for their gender and toxic masculinity (most don’t know what that means, including me).

They hurt because of their alleged toxic masculinity; they are no longer sure where they sit in the world.  Mostly, they hurt. 

And that hurt has manifested in self-harm and suicidal ideations and/or attempts.  And these young men come from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. 

What can we do?  STOP!  Stop generalising.  Stop maligning a whole gender.  And START supporting and loving them. 

Trust me they need it.