There are 7 key questions which are helpful for a man to ask himself and other men in either personal reflection or in a men’s development group:
A number of things underpin the strengths of these 7 Key Questions:They promote a wellness model of engaging men through beginning by focusing the conversation on what’s going well.They focus on supporting men through reflecting on their personal experience,They help us identify our needs. They support us to identify resources to incremental actions for better health and wellbeing.The questions are strengths based in their approach and direction, clearly focusing on normalising and sharing our lives in both our joys and challenges.It is MDN’s hope that through using these 7 Key Questions we will continue New Conversations with and for men, and be part of promoting greater autonomy and ownership of our wellbeing and health.
The aim of the MDN Leadership Programme is to provide the opportunity for the men to locate the need for leadership and change within their own personal experience. The focus of the training is to explore our understanding of leadership including its purpose, the qualities that underpin it and the confusion or misinformation we may carry as men in relation to this important role or function. Leadership within the MDN is about empowerment of one’s self and others through mutual respect, and the desire for a more equal and just society.
MDN’s overall aim for the Men’s Leadership Training Programme is:
The Parenting Support Programme is a course designed for parents to enhance communication and relationships within families.
Family Communications and Self-Esteem
Being a parent is the most important job a person can have. Good communication and healthy self-esteem are key ingredients in enhancing relationships between parents and children. In the long term, good relationships can help prevent problems such as the misuse of drugs and alcohol.
How this course can help parents
This course is designed to:
What the course involves
The course runs for 8 weeks (2.5 hours per week) at a time that suits the parent’s mornings or evenings. The topics covered include:
Through group work, participants get the opportunity to share experiences, gain information and practise skills. Each week new information and skills build on those learned in the previous weeks. To get the maximum benefit it is necessary to attend all sessions.
Who is the course for?
The course is primarily aimed at parents of 9-17-year-olds. It is the only parent support programme that concentrates on the challenges of parenting and teenage development. It has been successful in its engagement with parents as it aims to support parents in building good relationships with their children. This is done by focusing on:
Parents have stated:
“I was glad that it was focused on ‘Me’ as a parent as I have been to other parenting courses where all the focus was on the child strategies to deal with children, this was refreshing to have the focus on ‘Me.’
“The course has made me aware that everyone goes through similar struggles, worries, fears and concerns, that having support is key and you can find it on a course like this one.”
“This course had a different form that I expected. I’m glad that it required me to get involved and allowed me to practice expressing my own feelings which I had problems with.”
The Summer School has usually been a 3-day event which works on helping and supporting men by offering training and development.
The goals of the Summer School are to:
1. Create a new conversation with among men so that men can create better lives for themselves and for those around them. This conversation is supportive, developmental, and experiential. At the Annual Men’s Training and Development Summer School men both experience this developmental process in a supportive environment and are trained to use it.
2. Provide information to men on why they are the way they are, explaining male gender conditioning, and the non-governmental organisations and Men’s Development Network and statutory support systems and programmes that are available.
3. Encourage men’s creativity, culture and capacities.
4. Build confidence in men to realise their own intelligence, to address the challenges of life and identify any additional steps they need to take to enhance their life-skills through education, training, community development and leadership.
5. Highlight and address the major issues faced by men at present such as employment and unemployment, family relationships and health.
6. Develop a caring atmosphere and environment among men so that they can safely admit to their vulnerabilities.
7. Have men plan their next steps in order to make progress in their lives.
Challenges in Recent Years
In the last number of years, the socio-political views of the world have become very challenging, particularly in relation to gender relationships. The #MeToo campaign has been the primary movement reflecting on this particular issue with developments all across the globe. This is where the Men’s Development Network (MDN) looks to not only support men but challenge them to reflect on their attitudes, behaviours, actions, and worldview. The MDN is aware of the need for them as service providers and men to source opportunities and methodologies that will support other men in these difficult times for both sexes and all genders. The New Conversation with Men is one method identified by the MDN to help support men and their wellbeing.
MDN New Conversation with Men for Service Providers
There are many types of groups; support groups, issue-based groups, groups addressing addiction, discussion groups, activity-based groups, unemployed men’s activation groups, organic gardening groups, woodwork groups, men’s sheds, breakfast clubs, boat-building workshops, therapy groups, lobby groups, groups based on background, ethnicity, sexual orientation and so on. There is an opportunity in any of these groups to work out:
These groups can be an effective way into men’s lives, their relationships, their personal and collective goals, their vision and development. The New Conversation with Men can be used as a reflective resource for supporting men towards better health and wellbeing and living to their full potential. This approach helps men to develop a greater understanding of the complexities of life, strengthen their relationships and finds the keys to creating a better life.
A New Conversation with Men Process and Methodologies
At a Men’s New Conversation Group meeting the following roles are defined at the beginning or over time as the group develops:
There are a number of questions that are helpful to ask in a men’s development group which can help a man to become self-aware. They are:
2.1. While it’s important to engage participants in a process of connecting positively with men and themselves, it’s equally important to engage them in a process of exploring the challenges they experience with their relationships with men. So it’s important to follow this question up with: What is it about men that you find challenging, difficult, offensive or even harmful about men?
These questions are designed to positively address issues that may impact men’s lives and to map out the steps which need to be taken in order to have a better life for themselves and those around them.