Year 9 Students Debating What It Means To Be A Good Man by PNBHS

What Does It Mean To Be A Good Man?

Some of our Year 9 Character Education classes have recently been pondering the question 'What does it mean to be a good man?'

This discussion began with an examination of the negatives that are associated with 'toxic masculinity' and the impact that this is having on young males globally.

The Man Box

Globally, young males are overrepresented in a number of negative statistics, including educational underachievement, deaths from car crashes and suicide, contact with the Police, incarceration in prison and unemployment.  Those who enter tertiary education are less likely than their female counterparts to complete their qualification.

In looking for a reason for this disturbing pattern, concepts of masculinity are increasingly under examination.  A number of stereotypical concepts of masculinity have been identified as likely causes and these concepts are no longer fit for purpose.  Instead, we looked to create a new 'model' of healthy masculinity that might help to change the global pattern outlined above.  

Below are the thoughts of some of our Year 9 students in response to the question 'What does it mean to be a good man?'

A good man:

  • is polite and uses his manners
  • is a positive role model for everyone
  • expresses their true personality and doesn't hide behind a fake identity to make themselves seem strong
  • shows their emotions - the full range, not just anger and happiness
  • listens to others and helps them to find support when necessary
  • treats others with respect, especially females - treat others the way that you would want them to treat you
  • treats others with kindness at all times
  • is caring
  • is supportive of others
  • is honest with themselves and with other people
  • uses encouraging language
  • expresses their feelings and shares their worries
  • is accountable for their own mistakes
  • thinks about how others feel has empathy for others
  • is reliable and loyal to others - does not let others down
  • has the courage to do what he knows is right
  • makes their own decisions and stands up to peer pressure

These are the character traits that these young men would like to see in the male role models in their lives and the traits they would like to develop in themselves.

Men's Mental Health Reminders — Image by: #menshealthmonth

Unfortunately, White Ribbon Day, November 25, was marked with the release of more devastating statistics (summarised in the graphic below) showing the lack of respect that too many males have for females, further evidence for all of us to ensure that the young men in our community are given strong messages and positive role models about the importance of respectful relationships. 

Click here to check out the article How to be a man: Old ideas of manliness make us miserable. Being labelled ‘toxic’ doesn’t help. A reimagined masculinity is the way forward.

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