An Experiment That Works
I have long believed that traditional definitions of masculinity are too narrow and shallow to encourage full and creative expression of the masculine. Seventeen years ago I began meeting with men to explore what it means to be thoughtful about their lives as men. These meetings evolved by “word-of mouth” into Men Mentoring Men (M3), a not-for-profit organization that provides a unique, empowering, and seasoned structure to support and expand men committed to being thoughtful about exploring the best of masculinity in their personal and professional lives. We believe that a happy man is one who is fulfilled in his own expansive definitions of masculinity. The day of limiting the expression of masculinity to “provider” and/or “warrior” is no longer viable.
Mission of M3
The mission of M3 is simple and direct. M3 is designed to provide a safe and shameless experience for men to discuss, share, explore, and live inside the best of masculinity. Men are encouraged to broaden their imagination of masculinity to include fulfilling and expressing a broad spectrum of emotional needs, desires, and capabilities. The best of masculinity includes many of the values identified by positive psychology that promote living a full and happy life . One of our recent discussions focused on the relationship between strength of character and the best of masculinity. The men spoke with pride of being healers, fathers, defenders, protectors, creators, builders, playmates, lovers, visionaries, intimate partners, and wise elders.
M3 invites men who are healthy and searching for more meaning, connection, and growth in their lives. Men join us from all walks of life and at various stages of career, age, and from many backgrounds. They become willing to trust, think, process, laugh, support, encourage and model the pursuit of a fulfilling life. They participate so authentically because M3 creates a safe atmosphere by imposing only one rule….no man shames another man. M3 does not provide therapy or accept men in serious distress. Men seen as having psychological issues are referred to outside resources. At the same time, the M3 experience has been an effective support for men currently in therapy. It can be a catalyst for experiences and change perhaps not accessible through individual or couple therapy. The influence of M3 goes far beyond the participants; the beneficiaries of the M3 experience are also the wives, family, and other significant relationships connected to the M3 member.
How it works (structure and process)
The meetings are held every two weeks. They are self-supporting and peer-led by experienced leaders. Meetings include a time for appreciations, group exercises and conversation, and individual focus. In addition to the group meetings, M3 offers day-long workshops, intensive weekend retreats, community service, family and couple events, and opportunities for men to get together and just play. Men Mentoring Men has four ongoing groups in two locations– Somerville, NJ and Lambertville, NJ. M3 attracts men from northern NJ and as far south as Philadelphia.