A client of mine recently asked me why I only worked with young men and not with young women. It was a great question that seemed important to answer. Here are the reasons that I gave him…
1. Young men are in deep need of support. Anxiety, depression, substance abuse, gaming, technology and media addiction, ADD/ADHD, social anxiety, interpersonal challenges can all cripple a young man in his pursuit of a life well lived. The pitfalls are many, especially for young men who are creative, sensitive and are walking their own path, and the number of supportive mentors available to these young men is limited.
2. There are not a lot of strong, caring men that are available to work with young men. If there were an abundance of mature men who were able to hold and challenge our young men with ferocity and tenderness, confrontation and compassion, our world would be a very different place.
3. I really don’t feel that I am best qualified to support a young woman on her journey through her teens/young adult years. I have not walked the path of a young woman, and I strongly believe that there are fundamental differences between the evolution and maturation of women and men.
4. There are an abundance of strong, insightful women that are available to support young women. There are an abundance of soulful and insightful women who have done their work and are prepared to support their younger sisters. They are much better suited to support these young women.
5. I am very qualified to support young men having lived my life as a man. I have struggled, and continue to struggle to a somewhat lesser extent, with most of the core challenges that my clients struggle with. From a masculine perspective, I know what works and what doesn’t, what is helpful, and what isn’t.
6. My daughters. I have 2 teenage daughters, and my hope in doing this work is that I will indirectly but positively impact the young men that they are interacting with in their lives. My hope is that they find and connect with young men who are skilled in navigating life, feel confident and empowered, and can honor the feminine.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” — Frederick Douglass