The significant benefits of mentoring have been widely recognized in many contexts, both professional and personal. It would be comforting to know that all young men have had the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom and guidance of a male who has learned through his own successes and failures about living a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Unfortunately this is not the reality of a great number of men, both young and across the life-span, who appear lost and unprepared for life as an adult male, and who frequently look to other men only known to them through the media, as potential role-models.
Paradoxically there is no shortage of inappropriate male role-models in the media, but very few who might be able to show them how to be a ‘good man’ – how to succeed professionally, how to be in healthy relationships, how to manage physical and psychological health and how to live a meaningful life.
Clearly it’s not possible to provide a personal mentor for all men but it is possible to indirectly offer a source of men’s wisdom and experience through a collection of life lessons and reflections from prominent male Australians. The ‘What Makes a Man a Man’ project aims to provide this opportunity.
We envisage the project as being one that endures for many years, by adding new voices to those who’ve already agreed to become virtual mentors.
At present many are ‘community elders’ whose life experiences and wisdom will offer significant guidance. However we also recognise the importance of younger men whose lives though shorter, have provided occasion for ‘character building’ and whose public profile afford them the opportunity to act as virtual mentors, particularly to the younger males in the community. As the project develops we will be contacting several such young men, to enlist their assistance for the next stage of this men’s virtual mentoring project.
Agi O’Hara (Psychologist)