Reimagining Mentorship

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About Justin Cascio

Justin Cascio is a writer, editor, and activist. He has written on food, lifestyle, gender, and sexuality for The Good Men Project, xoJane, and other publications; his work has been selected as Editor's Picks on Open Salon.
Justin is a former managing editor of The Good Men Project Magazine and editor of The Good Life, and a founding editor of Trans-Health.com. You can follow him on Twitter, Google, and Facebook.

Comments

  1. Justin,

    Thanks for this insightful look at mentorship. You ask powerfully important questions, like “what kind of society do we want to build?”. Boys become men – at least chronilogically and biologically – just as a matter of course. But mentorship introduces a level of intention to the growing up process that allows us to answer your question.

    I’ve never thought of mentorship as a way to “create wealth” in society, but in a profound sense, that is certainly a potential outcome of positive mentorship.

  2. That is a beautiful call to action. There is no question about the critical influences good men can have in young male lives. The opposite is also true, when men don’t show up, chaos prevails. We see clear demonstrations of the need for men in boy’s lives on the news every night. Lost boys, most without men in their lives, gone violent or foolish in some tragic way. Without any form of positive or functional guidance in their lives it’s simply Goulding’s Lord of the Flies everywhere. It’s tempting to blame the boys, and in fact, our cultural answer is to imprison them in droves. But what we really have is an epidemic of under-male-nourished boys. It’s men’s work to fight that dis-ease.

    In the work with men and boys I’ve been doing for the last 10 years, I have yet to find a mentoring organization that didn’t have a long wait-list of boys who are hoping for a match with a man. But the men, except for a very few compared to the need, are not just not showing up. I don’t think we so much need a new form of mentoring in the world today, as men becoming willing to be involved with the young guys. I have an article on my website describing some of the many reasons men don’t step up in service to young males (http://goo.gl/jqYUN).

    What most men don’t realize is that thousands of years of men having to socialize testosterone fueled adolescent males has hardwired them for this work. If you put a collection of men and boys in a group doing just about any activity, all the right things happen naturally. Like I said, the trick is to get the men to show up.

    If you hear the call and can’t find a group of men and boys near you, you can go to the mentor.org website (http://goo.gl/Aq6W8), put in your zip code, and you’ll get a list of mentoring groups and organizations near you that would love your involvement.

    You, as a man, are the book on manhood for a young male, and you can be sure the young guys are waiting for you to show up.

  3. Great piece. Mentorship is so very important. I think it’s important between young boys and men and older men, and among girls and women as well. I also think it’s also important for young boys and girls to have mentors of the opposite sex so that they don’t just learn from their own gender, but the other gender as well.

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