After seeing the Four Corners program last month I also looked into your website?
I wish to offer my congratulations on what your have achieved, not only in your own life but more important your contribution to men’s wellbeing. This would not have been without many struggles and a firm commitment. I know this from my own personal journey through divorce, single parenting and birthing “Parents Without Partners Australia” in 1967. I was a very naive woman.
Sociologically, it was like a “coming out” for single parents and began the rise of change in understanding of parenting and relationships, for good or bad. I tried in those early days to encourage educational programs on parenting and relationships, but most of the members had only one thought to find a new partner. This was where I learned that there were single fathers who had had come through some very difficult issues.
When Men’s groups began forming I attended some open discussions because by then my 2 sons had reached teenage, and I wanted other viewpoints apart from my immediate family. These sessions were very helpful for me.
I have always liked men’s company and felt that they also were just as badly done by as women. I read Maggie Hamilton’s book “What Men don’t say” and felt very sad that every man who passed through my home and saw the book rubbished it because it was written by a woman.
When I first read “Sons and Lovers” I was a deserted wife with two children. My reactions was to blame men’s behavior, but as I matured and later saw the BBC production, the character of Morrell, showed how raw both sexes were, in being able to form a relationship that nurtured families’, many survived but there had to be a better way and this is still an issue.
I am very grateful that I have never had to deal with violence, but the amount of alcohol being consumed as a normal ritual within the family home creates some unhealthy attitudes, and this I do see within my own circles as both men and women use this form of mask to shut out issues.
My grandparents, and my parents, all felt there was a need for education for parenting. There have been ad hoc attempts at this since WW11. This will always vary with differing personalities, but there has to be some very basic ground rules just as there are rules of the road. Some people have children and some people are parents.
Your group is making some in-roads in teaching some anger management at year 10 level. This must be a break through for both genders, as I also see questionable behavior from young women that fuel situations. The recent series on ABV 2 “Brat Camp” made me wonder how many of these kids are out there crying out for “love” and in the substitute they embrace then have children. I think we all had a section of that in our own formative years.
Thank goodness I have a very good memory about my own misdemeanors, which helps me understand some of my clients issues within the modality I have taken up since I retired. I may be just a voice crying in the wilderness, but skills such as conflict resolution are now used in the workplace, surely if some of these tools were introduced as you are doing, they could only be of benefit nationally.
Has the formation of men’s groups now made enough impact that could form some submission to the summit under at least three of the critical issues?
I am putting a personal entry in tying # 1, Education, skills, training, # 5 Long term health strategy, including preventative health measures, # 6 Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion, together as I see these issues as vital for the health and wellbeing of men, women, and families.
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