Men. The solution starts with me.

A man on duty. Aiming to protect. We trusted him. Others too. Porta Princesa, Philippines.

Men are everywhere. And where there are men, there is trouble. Violence, abuse, greed, power striving, competition, selfishness.

In the democratic countries of the so-called West, there is the movement to diminish the power of men, to demand an end to the abuse of women by men, and to build equity with gender balance in all our institutions and professions. In other countries, the power of men continues unabated.

Every man everywhere has the potential to be abusive, violent, aggressive. There is testosterone that partly explains that. Deeply rooted biological and genetic factors too. And of course, the influence of nurture and adult role modelling. A man’s hindbrain (sometimes referred to as the reptilian brain for good reason) hosts this potential.

Thankfully, men also have a mid-brain that motivates them to be curious, to seek love, comfort and companionship, and provides the scaffolding for the subsequent development of thinking, awareness, problem solving, decision making, language producing, abstract thought processes that reside functionally in the cerebral cortex. The cortex being the last part of the brain that develops. Sadly for some, sometimes not sufficiently.

However, unless a man (or a woman) has a chronic intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury, they are free, if they choose, to become the best a man can be (thanks Gillette). They can choose, to educate themselves, to be more open-minded, to live by universal values of respect for others, to manage their emotions better (yes men are emotional!), and to be more mindful. To learn and so know that the power they possess within can be used for good.

These choices start with each of us, especially we men. Choose to be a good man. It makes for a better life. And it is the greatest legacy a man can leave, for his family, and for his community. It is up to you, it is up to me.

Leave a comment