Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?
A friend asked me the other night, “If you could have anyone’s speaker fees paid for and they were available, who would you want to listen to?” I immediately responded – Barack Obama! She was a bit surprised and asked me why. I explained to her that doing the work that I do, it can be hard to find role models of healthy masculinities at times. Masculinities being plural because of the different identities we possess at different intersections. From what I know of the man he is a good leader, politician, husband, father, friend, and dad-joker.
He is everything I want to be when I grow up (save politician, though I have a sinking feeling I’ll end up in politics some day…). When thinking on it, I wondered who else my role models were; The Rock (AKA Dwayne Johnson), Terry Crews, and Will Smith came to mind as well. I’m fascinated that my role models are all men of colour. Not to say there aren’t role models that look like me, but they didn’t come to front of mind. I think part of this may be because each of these men has experience marginalized masculinities and can empathize with others not as privileged as they, therefore they’ve been outspoken about these issues.
Part of that could be because those of us with privilege are lacking with the vocabulary or experience, perhaps we do not feel it is our place to speak up, or perhaps we just don’t understand.
Thoughts of a Next Gen Man…
– Jake on behalf of J(ake)J(ermal)J(ason)
This year we are undertaking a personal challenge to share some of our reflections around what it means to “be a better man” in today’s day and age. Join us every Friday for “Thoughts of a Next Gen Man.” Interested in learning more about our work? Check out our programs for youth, adults, and workplaces, subscribe to our newsletter, follow our social media channels, and get in touch!