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Real Men
DeSoto County Alternative Center
Posted On: Wednesday, October 03, 2012

One of our most challenging opportunities at DCAC is working with teenaged males and helping them bridge the gap between child and young man. Watching our male students, we see every day how they struggle with the messages they see that shape their perception of who a man is and what he does. When we look at television and other forms of media that our young people are seeing, there is no wonder that they are adopting habits and modes of thinking that stand between them and their emotional maturity. To compound the difficulty, their role models at home and in their communities often don't offer them guides to responsible adult behavior.

At DCAC our strategy for providing a positive path to manhood includes these behaviors:

Modeling - our male staff act, speak, and carry themselves as examples of responsible men. We are intentional in our actions; we believe that doing the right thing is a daily decision, and we discuss among ourselves regularly the behaviors we want to model for our students.

Training - we teach the specifics of who a man is and what he does. We show what a man looks like.

Benefits - we tell why it is in their best interest to present themselves as young men.

Every six weeks we meet with all our male students in a group setting. Here we discuss -

                                                                 WHAT A MAN DOES

1. A man pays his own way. For a teenager this can take two forms: with a part time job during school, he can pay for his own recreation and items like clothing. He can also learn the responsibility of saving. For those too young to work, they have jobs and chores at home that they can do to help the household. A biological adult male who is able to work and chooses not to is not a man.

2. A man takes care of those who love him.

   If his mother has to take off work to come to school because he is in trouble, he is closer to child than man.

   If his mother gets a knot in her stomach when she sees the school number on her phone, he is closer to child than man.

   If his mother has to nag him to do what he knows he should do, he is closer to child than man.

   If his mother worries about his circle of friends, he is closer to child than man.

3. A man takes responsibility for what he does. If he makes a mistake, he admits it. It is much harder to admit fault than it is to cause a scene. Admitting fault takes maturity. The world is built on trust and honesty.

4. A man does not have to beat his chest. He does not have to announce what he has done. He has done it a thousand times before, and he will do it again. The people who matter know who the real men are.

5. A man does not have to show his swag. If he has to show it, he doesn't have it. A real man does not have to front.

We talk a lot about why it is important for young males to act and carry themselves as men. We focus on two subjects they are very interested in:

                                                         MONEY and WOMEN

There is a lot of money in the world, and it is not being made by people whose pants hang off their bottoms and can't be understood when they speak. We only acknowledge ways to make money that do not involve the possibility of arrest or fear of violence from other sets.

We as men recognize that without women, we would probably do something stupid and get ourselves killed. A good woman keeps us out of trouble, smoothes our rough edges, and makes us proud when she is seen with us in public. The good women are looking for good men, and as men we all want a good woman. What further motivation can there be for a young man?

We know that in many homes the foundation for manhood is being laid with love, modeling, and consistency. We also know that the more places young people see the proper responses to the challenges of life, the better chance they have for success.

Take care - 


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