The everyday of positive masculinity
The concept of ‘positive masculinity’ can be a daunting one for some boys. As society shines a light on males more broadly, and as collective standards are raised, what can a young man do to become a positive male role model within the community?
Positive masculinity is made up of three pillars: connection, authenticity, and motivation. And a key message for boys is that you don’t need to be a hero to be a good man. Rather, it’s the everyday actions that form the building blocks of positive masculinity.
Here are three examples of connection, authenticity, and motivation that I’ve been reflecting on over the past few weeks.
I have always admired leaders who know the names of every person in their organisation, and a little bit about them too. Such connection demonstrates care and consideration that forms the basis of trusting and productive personal and professional relationships.
Do we know the name of the person who helps us to safely cross the road each morning? Have we said ‘Hi’ to the groundsmen who keep our school beautiful? Have we connected with the people who run the tuck shop and prepare nourishing food for us each day?
One of the most heartening things that I heard last week was a young man say to another student, just as they were both trying to find a seat for their maths test, ‘I’m feeling a bit nervous about this assessment and I feel I’ll be able to focus better if I can sit in this part of the classroom. Would you mind if I take this seat?’
This young man had the courage to show his authentic self, name his emotions, and use this as a springboard to clearly communicate his needs in the moment. This is everyday positive masculinity.
Motivation is like a flywheel. And each action that we take either nudges that flywheel on, or allows it to spin on its own steam.
One of the biggest drivers of the motivational flywheel is success. When we feel like we’re achieving, whether it be academically, on the sporting pitch, or in our relationships, our motivation to engage grows. It’s a positive cycle.
One of the most beneficial things that we can do is recognise this, and in each moment (should I watch this additional Netflix episode? Should I play another 30 minutes of this online game?), consider the impact that we’re likely to have on our motivational flywheel, and choose to give it a nudge by pushing towards success.
How will your everyday positive masculinity show itself this week?
Following from a successful +M webinar in 2021, our friends at the Foundation for Positive Masculinity are hosting an International Conference on 1 September 2023 for educators, men’s health practitioners, teachers and leaders who are ready to help boys improve their life outcomes. Learn more about the upcoming conference.
Oliver Lovell is a Secondary School Teacher at Brighton Grammar and a Senior Researcher with the Crowther Centre. This article is about Positive Masculinity
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