The emotional pressures young men face

An article by celebrated Australian author Tim Winton gives some insight into the pressures young men face in their emotional development. He suggested that some of our social constructs and false media norms may force boys to hide their emotions away. Tim has a real passion for surfing and comments that in this very relaxed environment, he often overhears conversation amongst boys. He states that he hears 'stuff that wants to make him hug them, stuff that wants to make him cry and sadly, stuff that makes him ashamed to be a male.' He surmises that the boys are simply experimenting with their emotional growth; 'rehearsing their masculinity' as he puts it. The cues and feedback that they receive after each behaviour and interaction will determine the behaviour they will most likely adopt and the feelings and emotions that they may openly share into the future.

Tim Winton contrasts this adolescent struggle with the wonderfully open manner that younger children, particularly boys, will share their feelings and love for family and friends. In his 2018 book, ‘The Shepherd's Hut’, he comments that in children we see 'What beautiful creatures they are. There's so much about them, and in them, that's lovely. Graceful. Dreamy. Vulnerable. Qualities we either don't notice, or simply blind ourselves to. You see, there's great native tenderness in children. In boys, as much as in girls. But so often I see boys having the tenderness shamed out of them'

In helping in the formation of our young men, it is important that we are not allowing tenderness, compassion, genuine care and respect to be shamed out of them. 

Mr Darren O'Neill