01 January, 2016


                Each of the 7.3 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth emerged from the womb as “whole souls” imbued with an innate sense of balance.  What are “whole souls”?   “Whole souls” have a full range of emotions.  “Whole souls” spontaneously laugh when they are amused, cry when they are in emotional or physical distress, sing when they are happy, soak up knowledge like a sponge, and have an insatiable curiosity about every one and every thing.   “Whole souls” are spontaneous, empathetic, compassionate, and resilient beings.  At some point during the journey from childhood to adulthood, the Adults of the World decide that Our Sons and Our Daughters must be socialized differently.    By the time our spontaneous, empathetic, compassionate, and resilient Sons reach the age of four or five, they are told that they cannot exercise the full range of their emotions.  They must “toughen up” and “act like a man”.  Our Sons are, for the most part, groomed to be warriors, protectors, and providers.  In and of itself, that is not a bad thing.  They are given a “Code of Conduct”  -- a “Man Code” that they are compelled to adhere to throughout their existence.  While this “Man Code” provides Our Sons with an array of skills for their future roles as warriors, protectors, and providers, it also helps to throw them “out of balance” spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.  The state of being “out of balance” for Men and Boys reverberates throughout our universe.  It affects every one and every thing directly and indirectly connected to them.   If you don’t think so, just look around at what is going on in our communities and our world.  Could this “Man Code” play a role in the rising suicide rates among Men and Boys and the high incidence of prostate cancer, colon cancer, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, and hypertension in Men?  Does the “Man Code” that is thrust upon Our Sons during their journey from childhood to manhood influence the manner in which women, in particular, and society, in general, interact with and perceive them when they become Men?   Robbed of their “wholeness”, Our Sons mature into Men who are perceived to be emotionally disengaged   It is one of many misperceptions about Men that is subliminally conveyed through films, television, and popular literature.  The truth of the matter is that Men and Boys are just as fragile—physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically -- as Women and Girls.  

        Shouldn’t our sons, fathers, husbands, grandfathers, great grandfathers, uncles, brothers, nephews, cousins, fiancées, co-workers, and neighbors have the best of both worlds? What if they were allowed to be the spontaneous, resilient, empathetic, and compassionate souls they were when they emerged from the womb as they utilize the tools that prepare them to assume the roles of warriors, protectors, and providers?  Would this restore the innate sense of balance they were imbued with when they emerged from the womb as “whole souls”?  Would this help to restore balance within our families, our communities, and our world?

          Effective warriors, providers, and protectors are “whole souls”.  The “journey to wholeness” for our sons, fathers, husbands, grandfathers, great grandfathers, uncles, brothers, nephews, cousins, fiancées, co-workers, and neighbors is a shared responsibility.  To that end, the USA International Men’s Day Team, supporters of International Men’s Day, and Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Thought Leaders have designated the month of January 2016 as “Emotional Freedom for Men and Boys Month”.   It is a move to encourage individuals, organizations, and institutions to work together to help create safe havens for Men and Boys to freely express their emotions without fear of violating the “Man Code” or having their masculinity called into question.  At the same time, the mental health issues of Men and Boys will be explored – early detection of symptoms of depression in Men and Boys; eradicating the stigma of mental illness for Men and Boys; preventive mental health care; viewing violence as a mental health issue; creating more mental health resources and support services for Men and Boys; and providing greater and equal access to mental health resources and support services for Men and Boys.    During January 2016  -- “Emotional Freedom for Men and Boys Month”--, anger management training to help boys and young adolescent males deal with anger, rejection, and self-esteem  and body image issues will also be examined.
          Let's work together with all deliberate speed to help Men and Boys become the "whole souls" they once were.

 Rethink!  Rebuild!  Renew!