Mutual Heroes

This is the article I wrote for the Merredin Mercury dated 8 April 2010

I was in Perth at the end of February for the Mighty Men’s Conference with Angus Buchan. There were so many men from the Wheatbelt amongst the crowd of 2500 men that I could have been at a clearance sale. Next month 400,000 men will gather on Angus Buchan’s farm near Greytown in South Africa to hear the same message which we heard in Perth.

What is it that is drawing men together at this time all around the world through Promisekeepers, Million Man March, Mighty Men and Secret Men’s Business?

Some have said that it is a revolt against the feminist movement but I suspect that it is more than that. The nature of the male species is that of a warrior – he leads the way, he protects and he provides. He must be strong. But, in our society today he undertakes this role with fear and trepidation. He is alone, at the mercy of the elements, big business and politicians. His job is not secure because he has no control over it. The success stories are no longer about pioneers but about men in three piece suits with questionable morals. A man, a real man, doesn’t fit that image – he sees himself now as sidelined and voiceless, even, sometimes, in his own home.

Julian Krieg of Wheatbelt Men’s Health, offers a word of hope. He is helping men to rediscover themselves without turning them into Neanderthals. He offers a simple solution: Three M’s – a man needs a marriage partner, a mentor, and a mate.

A man needs a marriage partner because he needs intimacy (not just in the bedroom but in all of life). He needs one person with whom he can absolutely share his vulnerability and who will love him despite it all (I hope the wives are reading this bit, because there is nothing more vulnerable than a naked man in front of the mirror).

Second, a man needs a mentor. Someone who can give him value guidelines and principles for living in this difficult world. I am fortunate to have such a person in my father but not every man has had this privilege. Over the years I have become a mentor to many men who had no father to steer them into life, and I am mighty proud of what they have done.

Third, a man needs a mate. A man needs someone who thinks like he does, faces the same fears that he does and who has the same hopes that he does. He will not find this in his marriage partner, for she must be vulnerable with him; and he does not find this in his mentor, for such a man is to be revered and respected. A man’s mate is the one who stands with him in the struggle, often back to back against the enemy. A man’s mate is a comrade, who in the thick of the battle, will come up for him – they are mutual heroes.

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