“If we do not initiate the young men, they will burn the village down.” — African proverb.
Western civilization has, for hundreds of years, stopped initiating boys into its culture. Recent results include the popularity of gangs and the explosion of our prison populations. Another result is the growing number of men in our society who lack integrity and who are unwilling to hold themselves accountable and be responsible for their actions, intended or unintended. Many of our “leaders” today are the “boys” who are in the process of “burning down the village.”
Did you have an adult mentor when you were going through your teen years? Did you have a mature peer group that was willing to listen and support you? On a national average, fathers spend a half an hour a week with their boys in “quality time.” The boys spend 44-plus hours a week watching TV or video games.
“Every time a boy takes a risk he is begging for initiation.” — Robert Bly.
The Boys To Men Mentoring Network (BTM) specializes in creating safe circles where boys can talk about the events, emotions and experiences of their lives.
Every BTM event concludes with a peer discussion group for the boys. It is a place where Journeymen (boys who have completed their Right of Passage Adventure Training and are no longer “boys”) get to practice being fully alive and communicative among men.
The New Mexico Chapter of BTM, which currently includes southwest Colorado, will conduct mentor training (men who have completed a criminal background check and who agree to mentor a boy for a year) March 27 for men who want to staff the boy’s initiation weekend, Right of Passage Adventure Weekend (RPAW).
A RPAW for boys age 12-17 is scheduled near Santa Fe for April 24-26. A Journeymen group (J-Group) is currently being established in Archuleta and La Plata counties. Mentors in the J-Groups are not required to attend mentor training; only to complete the criminal background investigation. And be willing to give unconditional and tough love. We can fill the weekend with boys, but not men. You are needed as a mentor.
Call John Gwin, 731-9666, for more information, or contact www.boystomennewmexico.org.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” — Frederick Douglass.