A call to healthy manhood

This is a blog post written by Landon’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Joe Canty about a program he brought to campus in August named “A Call to Men.”

In August, students, varsity head coaches, other faculty and staff, as well as parents participated in workshops about healthy manhood. These workshops were facilitated by Ted Bunch, Chief Development Officer of A Call to Men, an organization that educates men all over the world on this topic. 

The goal of these workshops was to provide us with resources and training to help foster a community that builds young men of character and promotes respectful actions and words. This program was a partnership between the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Athletics Department to continue to encourage an inclusive environment for all community members.

The first training sessions, named A Call to Coaches, were held with the varsity head coaches and team captains. It was fascinating and inspiring to have so many of our student-athletes engage in serious discussions about identity and discuss the behaviors they see as healthy and unhealthy for men. It was also inspiring to see our coaches express their emotions and be transparent about their own growth in various stages of life. This is what this work is about! Our team captains felt supported and encouraged to express themselves in authentic and respectful ways.

During the second workshop of the day, students, faculty, and parents participated in discussions centered on A Call to Men's LiveRespect curriculum. The goal of this curriculum is to promote healthy manhood by challenging harmful cultural and social norms.

The group discussed understanding the “Man Box” (which identifies the limitations on what a man is supposed to be and what he believes), conflict resolution, self-identity, dating norms, language, the impact of media, and expectations of interactions in relationships of all kinds when faced with peer pressure. Members of our faculty and a number of our parents attended to support their children at the workshop.

It was amazing to see such a high level of engagement from participants as they listened intently and responded to Mr. Bunch’s message. The supportive environment and open dialogue inspired students to lean into the conversation and comfortably engage with this important topic. I hope it felt good for students to have the support of so many adults in the room during these conversations. When we are transparent and share our truths in a safe space, growth begins.

If I could sum up the entire day in one word, it is possibilities.

For those students who were not able to attend the workshops, please know additional training and discussions will be scheduled during the school year. For more information on A Call to Men, visit acalltomen.org.