Pictured L-R: Riley Knowles, Joshua Narain.
Riley Knowles and I were privileged to have been selected to attend a Male Youth Summit at TSS last week. Upon arrival at the event, we were posed with two questions; 'What do you currently see from our young men?' And 'What do you want to see from our young men?' The truth is, and TSS principal Mr Andy Hawkins said it perfectly at the start of the afternoon, "As a group of young men in society, we could be doing a lot better, and we need to be doing a lot better."
Throughout the day several workshops were held and hosted by some people with compelling stories. The first of the workshops questioned "The Men's Law," what it means to be a man, and the truth of the struggles many of our youth are going through yet bottle it up as to not burden others or seem unmanly. It allowed myself, and many of the students, to see the reality that as a group of young men in society we are struggling, and we need to help each other.
The second workshop allowed the group of more than fifty students to share experiences and feelings and reiterate the experiences and situations of other young men in the group. We also heard from the perspectives of four St Hilda's girls who shared opinions and experiences that I don't think surprised the group of young men but made us feel quite ashamed of the actions of many young men in society. It allowed us to see the change we need to make, and the harsh truth of the way "The Men's Law" is ruining many young men and the possibilities of the great men they could be. The final workshop was hosted by a staff member of Palm Beach Currumbin State High School and three students who shared the story of how compassion and programs in their school have created change within their school and indicated how it is possible through 'Growing Good Men'.
In the final part of the evening, we heard from two cricket legends and a Paralympic gold medalist with a compelling story. The stories of Darren Lehmann, Matthew Hayden, and Curtis McGrath revealed to the students the importance and need for men to change, to express emotions, and most importantly, utilize the teams and communities we have built around us when we need them as they are there for use despite what we may think.
Overall, I feel that the day allowed us to understand the change that needs to occur in society, especially in our young men. It indicated the changes we need to make in challenging what it means to be a man and what we can do and need to do in order to be better.