Part 3 of 5……For me, putting the horse before the cart means that we give the most attention to the adults around the teenagers, rather than the teenagers themselves. We need to ensure that adults have the tools and support to understand their own behaviours, needs and motivations, and to model mature communication, the safe expression of vulnerability and conflict resolution techniques.
When we show up and commit to dealing with our patterns of wounding and unhealthy behaviours, and to building healthy relationships with others the rewards can be great. By entering into the fray we get to be better men, better husbands / partners, better fathers / carers, better people. Stronger, more compassionate men, creating a stronger community for our children to grow up into. As Jung stated:
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
That’s the deal. There are many stories which show this; just try a search for the Native American story ‘Jumping Mouse’, have a read and ask yourself;
If you hear the great river will you go to find its calling far away from the safe village? Will you cross the plains with the buffalo’s hoofs thundering around your tiny body? Will you pay the price to help wolf remember who he is (you are)? Will you climb the mountain and, after becoming blind in service to a greater cause, face certain death? To be reborn anew and greater, to fly high in the sky as an eagle?
As Polly Higgins (End Ecocide in Europe), book is called ‘I Dare you to be Great’, knowing that it won’t happen easily, without pain, or without suffering. If we don’t, can we live with the worse pain and suffering of not fulfilling what we dream of or what we long for? The pain of being trapped in our wounds anew each day, never to find release from suffering?
I suggest it is less painful and more rewarding to face through our unconsciousness and become free from the suffering we create in ourselves and our lives. How does that happen then? I suppose for all of us, we have to at some point get over ourselves!
On one occasion, I was staffing a men’s initiation, and I shared a painful father issue with one of the event leaders. He turned to me and said: ‘There are three words that mostly fix issues like this’. I looked at him expectantly. ‘Do you want to hear them?’ he asked. I nodded. ‘Get over it.’ He checked my reaction, saw it had landed, and, with perfect timing, wandered off!
I did indeed get over my Dad not being the Dad that I had needed, but accepted he was the Dad I got. We became closer at the end of his life, and it was a beautiful peaceful death with his family around him. Even now he is dead, I feel him at my back as a stronger presence than in his alive life.
Of course, dealing with our childhood wounds requires huge amounts of self-compassion, it often involves ongoing counselling and therapeutic support, as well as the need for patient, loving support from those around us. My point is that it’s healthy for us to get to a place where we decide these wounds will not hold us back in life any longer, where we take responsibility for who we are and how we behave in the world, and where we recognise our role in being of service to our communities and the wider whole.
To read part four of this article see: group mentoring circles for teenage boys
Journeyman UK is a mentoring charity, dedicated to supporting boys aged 13 to 17 to discover their unique potential and apply their gifts in service to themselves, each other and their community at large.