"Well I want somebody to tell me, answer if you can.
I want somebody to tell me, tell me what is the soul of a man."
Blind Willie Johnson – Soul of a Man
David Hatfield has delivered his masculinity work since 1998 to over 20,000 boys and men in Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Spain, New Zealand and the USA. In 1999 he founded Manology: Exploring 21st Century Masculinity in Vancouver. Manology continues to successfully engage men, women and all genders in deep dialogue and exploration of male identity. Manology is quite likely one of the first and only on-going, experiential, community-sited courses for men in North America. David is the Canadian Coordinator for International Men's Day (IMD) and directed the first-ever IMD event in Canada in 2010.
Soul of a Man was recorded in 1930. It seem that the question it asks remains a challenge to answer today. In the 1990's, the work of Robert Bly, Sam Keen, Michael Meade and others catalyzed a wave of interest in men's issues. Though powerful and important, that wave did not generate a true social movement. We're into a new century now, one buzzing with rapid social changes fuelled by global warming, economic instability and expanding technologies. Like every other social group, males are affected. While Western women have been redefining their roles in society for decades, there has been little encouragement or infrastructure for boys and men to explore male identity.
New Writings on the Wall
In recent years Maclean's magazine, Newsweek, The Economist and New Internationalist have all run front-page stories about the need to rethink masculinity. To meet 21st century challenges, progressive thinking calls for a value set of flexibility, collaboration and emotional intelligence. Yet for boys and men, we continue to script masculinity as stoicism, competitiveness, invulnerability, individualism, and emotional repression. Clearly, something very different is needed. Males of all ages and stages, ethnicities and orientations benefit from dedicated space, time and skilled support to critically examine their questions, experiences, values and sense of male self. The following programs are a response to these needs and are based on an evolving set of values about 21st Century masculinity:
A 21st Century masculinity seeks to create and sustain positive community among males; understands that the masculine and feminine co-exist in all of us; strives for holistic health in body/mind/spirit; is skilled in the arts of friendship, intimacy, mentorship, and fathering; is skilled in leadership and followership; is honoring in relationships and conscious in sexuality; is creatively alive, spontaneous, clear and aligned in life purpose; is skilled in cooperation; is self-aware and responsible in communication; is assertive in conflict; is connected to the wider community and nature, and practices sustainability with self, others and the Earth.