On the occasion of International Men’s Day which is being observed under the theme Caribbean a happy International Men’s Day. The theme of this year’s International Men’s Day: “Helping Men & Boys,” is rather general, but the Bureau of Gender Affairs’ theme: “Reigniting a Nation for Greatness: Man Deh Yah” more adequately addresses our need to know that men are here and present and reminds us to be mindful of the type of manhood that we showcase and how the men show up in this island space.
As a feminist and a mother of three adult children, I imbued my children with the same skills and values: respect for self, family, and everyone, confidence, and self-reliance. These core values have made all three independent, successful young adults who are making a place for themselves in the world. Sound parenting and positive role models are key to success, and I know our men and boys can lead meaningful lives with the right guidance.
It is important to celebrate a day such as this because celebration brings out the best in anyone. It is obvious that men and boys in our society are in crisis and we must pause and ask ourselves why. Who failed our boys and how? How do we help them now? If we don’t help, we all pay the price of living in a society plagued by crime, gender-based violence, and other negative social consequences.
Once what is meant to be a man was clear, but with development, some “manly” attributes have become outdated as everyone adjusts to changing roles. What this means for me, and hopefully for all self-respecting men is that they are present, willing to participate communicate and be accountable for their actions.
Helping boys and men means we too have to treat them better, take their feelings into account, listen to them, affirm and guide them to discover their potential. We must strive to be as compassionate towards them as we are towards women and girls. Boys must understand that they need to be educated to contribute fully to society and understand that social and cultural equality benefits them as much as women.
The message to boys and men this International Men’s Day is: we see you; we respect you; we honour you and we invite you to partner with us so that we can live in harmony and support each other to be our best selves. Walk good, my brothers.
Published in The Gleaner, editorial Page, Nov 17, 2022.