All posts filed under: men

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Why men need community and compassion: “The White Snake” fairy tale

Fairy tales for men? These four words seem guaranteed to turn off most men from reading any further. But wait – if you’ve ever felt alone, hurt or confused by a romantic partner, tremendously angry without explanation, or confused about what it means to be a man in our changing times, then please read on…

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Do men need to descend to find themselves?

8 min read | One of the most influential recent books about exploring the problems and potential solutions for modern manhood is “Iron John: A Book About Men” by Robert Bly. The book was published in 1990, was a New York Times bestseller, and is still in the Top 25 bestsellers at Amazon under Gender Studies. What I found striking about the book, other than its provocative arguments drawn from a wide range of sources – poetry, mythology, literature, and modern cultural observations – is how little it seems to be on the minds of men now.

Why? Either the book’s ideas no longer resonate with modern men, or we lost awareness of a flowering in the 1980s and 1990s of male writers trying to rediscover and reinvent manhood.

Bly interprets a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Iron John, as carrying important insights for what boys specifically need to come to terms with as they mature into men. He writes,

“…the next step in initiation for men is finding the rat’s hole…

Why we need more life mentors, and why they’re not what you may think

When I hear working professionals talk about mentors, I worry that we’ve mixed up our priorities.  What we need are more life mentors – people who cultivate a long-term interest in your development across a range of domains of our lives.  Instead, I usually hear folks talking about mentors in terms of people in your field who advise you on a next career move (i.e., a career adviser) or those who give you a leg up for promotions or new job opportunities (i.e., an organizational sponsor).  These two roles are helpful and often necessary for finding a job that you would like.  But considering these roles as “mentors” can obscure the deeper and longer-term value a true mentor can have. The people who have helped me the most are generally older, longtime friends.  Usually, after our friendship had developed for several years, I asked them if they would become a mentor.  That generally means staying in touch once every few months and speaking as needed when a big issue comes up.  In return, in addition to our friendship, they …