Men who have taught and exemplified values like honesty, loyalty, respect, unselfishness, compassion, and love to young boys around them watch these boys grow up to become responsible members of society. This is why we decided to commemorate International Men’s Day this year by inviting five young boys from Barton College to a small event at the Softcom Headquarters to have inspiring conversations.
In an ever evolving world, where the modern day man has to be more sensitive, aware and bare, men must begin educating young boys in order to make any significant changes to societal expectations and preconceptions, about what they should and shouldn't be. The rigid rules of masculinity make men feel unsafe, resulting in harmful behaviours that make them vulnerable to mental and physical health issues as well as social vices – substance abuse, depression, suicide, social isolation, compulsive gambling, etc. Men who have taught and exemplified values like honesty, loyalty, respect, unselfishness, compassion, and love to young boys around them watch these boys grow up to become responsible members of society.
It is critical that boys navigating this unique phase of life are led to discover their own definition of masculinity in ways that are healthy for their growth and for society. In delivering potential for everyone, International Men’s Day is important to us, because we believe that every young boy in Nigeria has potential. They are the nation's foreseeable future, who will define and decide the culture of masculinity. It's essential that we start providing boys with learning opportunities in our own small way.
This is why we decided to commemorate International Men’s Day this year by inviting five young boys from Barton College, which is housed under our inclusion program, to a small event at the Softcom Headquarters to have inspiring conversations and instil in them values essential to navigating society today.
This event is our effort to teach young boys to model traits that promote positive masculinity. We believe in supporting dreamers who want to break away from societal boxes and harness their potential in ways that are healthy and useful.
These five kids; Anthony Achille, Solomon Omosule, Chinemere Fidelis, Femi Kpenje, and Joshua Djivo, were brought in and, impactful conversations were had to learn their positions on certain societal values like consent, friendship, love, family, money, and leadership.
Leadership is accepting responsibility, influencing, motivating, and showing good examples. We made the decision to invite men from unconventional walks of life and career paths to educate the young boys about proper values and behaviours needed to build a healthy society, such as respect, integrity and honesty, and to equally expose them to the tools needed to help them in their personal lives and journeys, paving the way for them to remember these principles and stand for what is right, especially when it matters the most.
We had present: Mr. Remi Ademiju, Director of Inclusion, Softcom; Mr. Tomiwa Afolabi, Art Consultant/Style Advisor; Mr. Rigo Kamp, Music Artist/Songwriter; Mr. Igwe Michael, Multidisciplinary/Visual Artist; Mr. Elvis Osifo, Writer/Creative Director; Mr. Lanre Lawal, Talent Manager/Music Consultant; David Oyawoye, Designer/Creator; Mr. Victor Adewale, Photographer/Storyteller; and Mr. Nanjul Dakat, Pilot/Engineer.
The event started off with a panel discussion with everyone present. The conversation covered sensitive topics, from family backgrounds, role models, coming-of-age challenges, peer relationships, dreams and aspirations, challenges and lessons learned, to even favourite superheroes. It was a heartwarming dialogue with an organic, deep sense of connection.
This interactive session was an eye-opener for all the men present as regards the realities, struggles, and needs of these younger boys, and the importance of them having a clear sense of direction and mentorship.
After the panel discussion, a film screening followed suit. The screening was of an 8-minute Oscar-winning short film from the National Film Board of Canada by Norman McLauren, on the dynamics of “man” and “human nature.” Following the film screening, the young boys were given the opportunity to directly engage the men by asking questions and seeking guidance for anything they had learnt or found challenging.
There is no single, better way to teach than by example. The values one holds dear seeps into one’s daily life. For men to be better, the focus should be on the grassroots – supporting boys as they explore and create their own interpretations of masculinity while inculcating in them the values and principles that they need to thrive.
Helping young men see the importance of values is a role every man should play and the effort will be worth it, for men and for society as a whole.
So, men, take the time to teach these young boys about masculinity in ways that matter, and by example, lead them to know how to find better happiness, better love, better fulfilment, and a better life.
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