It is Men’s Health Week this week in Australia.
Mark O’Donnell and Randall Lemin invited me to a meet up with some of the pupils at Braidwood Central School as part of the week’s events.
It was a great opportunity to discuss biological sexual characteristics and the construction of social identity. I am delighted that the school thought it important to host this meet up. It was good for me to be able to explore the intersection of high performance sport and sociology in everyday life at the Central School and in the Braidwood community.
Another guest was Sam Lemin. Sam is an American Football scholarship athlete at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
Sam talked about his experiences as an athlete in Australia and the United States. His presentation led us to talk about the on-field and off-field personas of athletes particularly in collision sports like American Football. The group got to try on his uniform.
Sam’s presentation gave us a great opportunity to discuss male identity and aggression. His concluding line of his presentation was an encouragement for those at the meeting to think about a road less travelled.
I followed on from Sam and his conclusion gave me an opportunity to mention the Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I hoped this made sense as a conversation about adolescence and adulthood. We talked about personal qualities and the choices each of us might make. I hope too it resonated with Jackson Katz’s conversations about behaving differently as a male.
Like Jason, I think we all have a stake in this conversation and for the transformation of socially-constructed behaviour. We can be the change we want to see.
These are difficult but essential conversations for adolescents and adults. Our meet up at the Central has affirmed for me how important these conversations are.