Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Some folks around the world are watching

flickr photo image Kieth Williamson
This is a guest post by Michael Josefowicz, retired printer, education advocate, Twitter aficionado and idea generator extraordinaire...

I would like to thank Sean for allowing me to post at Grow Boys. I thought it might be useful to share the view from Brooklyn on what I see as the important work you are doing in Alberta.

The "problem" of boys finding ways to be men in this new emerging world is happening all over the world. Lots of reasons having to do with globalization, demographic changes and new communication technology. But whatever the reasons it's a problem across the globe.

In the States it usually presents as "high school dropouts" and much more seriously as young men of color winding up in the Juvenile Justice System. You probably know that the overwhelming majority of people in American prisions are men of color. From everything I think I know it goes to the problem of finding a meaning in life, ways to make a difference and defining for each of us what it means to be a Man.

In Atlanta, ( @ DrDia ) has done some breakthrough work using HipHop and a program she calls HYPE to work with the same kids who have the same problems. Hopefully she will have some time to help us all get a clearer view of her program.

It is helpful to know  that I've become friends via Twitter with other amazing people who are all trying to help figure it out.

I also wanted to add some words that probably will sound like jargon to many, but bear with me. Over the last year or so I've been tweeting with Sean and a couple of other wonderful people defining something that has evolved into nemetics. Maybe seeing what your are up to with Grow Boys! through that metaphor will help.

A Man can be said to be embedded in a "NemiTube". My nemitube is made of "nemitangled nemiStrings." One set of NemiStrings is Me as son, father, grandfather. Another is Me as husband, brother, uncle. Still another and in some ways the most grounding, is Me as part of a 6000 year old nemiString with roots in SouthEast Asia - the Levant, where Africa, Asia and Europe all sit on an inland sea. You should know the place all my nemiStrings are now nemiTangled is Brooklyn, NY... ( Aside from Alberta of course, the coolest place on the planet.)

I have learned so much already about Alberta from talking to Sean and closely follow your progress up there. Just the other day, Sean taught me about Medicine Wheels. It seems to me these are evidence of your 6000 year old nemiTube.

What I think I've learned so far (I'm 65) is that what makes each of us able to make a difference is our unique history. We are all positioned to be the world's expert on ourselves. No one will ever know better what is going on inside ourselves than us.

What has really helped me to be a Man is to see that "Our Selves" is the product of the precise entanglements of our nemiTubes going back 6000 years to the beginnings of recorded history. If one takes a little time to think about it, we really are literally all connected.


  1. There is a crisis occurring as it relates to our youth, and I'd argue it began when I was a child in the 80s and 90s. But as I ponder the long term effects, which we are experiencing now, I believe much of the focus must be on boys for a couple reasons. 1. Boys grow into men. And it is the man that determines the culture of the family. Yes women keep the wheel spinning, but the man guides the ship. When the man's focus is off, everything from standard of living to energy in the home is impacted. The converse is seen when a man who is strong and goal oriented is at the head. 2. Much of the production that society as a whole is missing, I believe is due to this crisis with,our boys. Creating things and products has traditionally been done by men. But as our potential workforce is weeded out in grades K-12 and herded off to prison, we've lost that.

    Great post, and thanks for the HYPE shoutout!

    1. Michael JosefowiczMarch 7, 2012 at 3:45 AM

      Thank you for stopping by in what I bet is a very busy day.

      I think it would be great for the folks in Alberta to understand alot more about your program. As you told me on twitter the insights you've earned are not limited to people of color. I would love to hear anything you can share about your work in rural areas. I have to believe it would be so germane to the work Sean and his team is doing in Alberta.