2013 Theme: Keeping Men and Boys Safe

International Men’s Day… Why do we need such a day? After all aren’t men at the top of the food chain so to speak? Maybe this is why this year’s theme stuck out for me. “Keeping Men and Boys Safe.” Let’s consider for a movement what this really entails. Men are often accused for being hostile and abusive… When and where do men learn such behaviors? Boys are taught to fight. This is what it is to be a man. When are they taught peaceful resolutions? Men are stereotyped as not being sensitive or unemotional…. Who was helping them connect to this side or acknowledge they even had an emotional side and when did they get the permission to express it? Boys (and men) are told not to cry. Women tell men they want them to be sensitive but reject men who cry. Men are labeled as not knowing much about women – how to please them, listen to them or even satisfy them. Where and how did they get this attitude and who was there to help them to understand and learn about women? Men are told simply that women are mysterious and that women are impossible to figure out. The idea of keeping men and boys safe is crucial. Young boys often learn what it is to be a man from male role models. If boys grow up with negative or incomplete images and ideas of what it means to be a man, what can we expect from men?

The 2013 theme for International Men’s Day (IMD) is, “Keeping Men and Boys safe”. According to a IMD Coordination Committee Press Release dated February 14, 2013 there are five nominated target areas: 1.Keeping men and boys Safe by tackling male suicide; 2. Keeping boys safe so they can become tomorrow’s role models; 3. Tackling our tolerance of violence against men and boys; 4. Boosting men’s life expectancy by keeping men and boys safe from avoidable illness and death; and 5. Keeping men and boys safe by promoting fathers and male role models.

The 2013 Press Release asks, “People all over the world are used to relating to men as protectors and providers, but how often do we consider the actions we can all take to protect Men and Boys from harm and provide them with a safe world where they can thrive and prosper?” As men, our first response is to look to ourselves. In what ways do we need to heal to be good mentors for others and to those who follow in our steps? Do you carry wounds like these? Do you feel alone somehow, like you don’t measure up? Have you ever wondered how to be a better role model to your son or to a young man you are mentoring as a coach or through work but did not know how? Are you tired of being labeled by other men, by women, by employers or by the news media?

In January 2014, Step By Step Counseling, LLC will be offering a very significant opportunity for men in our community to start addressing these issues that we have identified above. This will be your opportunity (or opportunity for a man who is close to you) to become part of a small group just for men. These therapy groups will focus on the points listed above and much more. All issues that relate to what it means to be a man and ways to heal the wounds that many of us as men have carried for far too long. For more information about this group, contact Eric Hamrick, MA-CIT at Step By Step Step Counseling or by emailing to eric@lifesworkcounseling.org.

Wishing you peace,

Eric Hamrick, MA – CIT




Eric Hamrick is a Masters Level Therapist with Step By Step Counseling, LLC. Eric specializes in working with couples and families.