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For Men and Boys Today


A runner and his two sons following a marathon.

 

Are you in any group chats? Perhaps someone added you to a WhatsApp or Facebook group.


"Happy International Men's Day to all the men in our department," was the message I received last week from a coworker inside a group chat. I replied with a thumbs-up emoji, and others followed with their responses. Then, I started to clean the house.


As you know, responsibilities don’t stop on holidays.


“International Men’s Day is an opportunity for people everywhere of goodwill to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all,” as indicated on internationalmesday.com. This year’s theme is suicide prevention.


Men and boys often die from suicide at alarmingly higher rates than women and girls.

Although men are more likely to take their lives, it is not uncommon for women to perceive death as a viable solution to problems. In addition to the International Men's Day greetings last Sunday, I received another message about a former high school classmate of mine who died by suicide. She played on the girl's basketball team and married ex-Chicago Bulls player Eddy Curry.


It shocked me to learn of her death within the same 24-hour period of learning about International Men's Day's efforts to address suicide among men and boys.


Last November, I accepted speaking engagements with Antigua and Barbuda's Directorate of Gender Affairs. They invited me to talk about health, wellness, and masculinity with other men on the radio and at luncheons.


This year, I stayed at home. I helped clean the house, wrote two pages for another book project, swam, read, and spent time with my family. It was a recovery day after last weekend’s trip to St. Lucia for the 31st Annual Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Swimming Championship Meet.


My daughter and youngest son made the national team. I went to provide support and capture footage for the team.


While at the event, I saw boys and men making positive contributions. They participated in the swim meet as athletes, coaches, officials, technical staff, photographers, and hosts. Boys and men also showed up as supporters and spectators.

Two brothers hugging.

Any day is appropriate to celebrate the boys and men in our lives. We don't have to wait until International Men's Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, or any other holiday. Life is unpredictable, and we don't know when we will run out of time.


I need to be better at recognizing the significance of people in my life. Masculinity constructs taught me to avoid expressing sentimental feelings in the presence of other boys and men. Despite teaching and receiving many alternative lessons, I still struggle.


Am I in this alone, or do you consistently acknowledge the positive acts of boys and men in your life? If you do, perhaps you should start a group chat or at least share your methods in this post's comments.


Some of us will die by suicide. Others might meet death by homicide. Plenty of us will die from natural causes.


Today, you and I can determine how we will live.

Listen to the boy, man, girl, woman, they or however the person identifies along the gender spectrum expressing suicidal thoughts. Take their feelings and lethal threats seriously. Get them the professional help necessary to increase their chances of living.


Subscribe to this blog for future pushes toward self-improvement. I don’t post on social media as frequently as I do on this site. Your subscription grants you access to my weekly content and more.


Watch the video below of last week's momentous championship win at the OECS swim meet. You will see some of the boys and men referred to in this post.



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