Friday, June 05, 2009

Comments from Christina Thompson that Came to Martin's Talk About Men

[Christian is a trombones and music instructor who is responding to Martin Brossman's talk about Men for a group of women.]

I truly enjoyed Martin's talk, and came away nothing short of enlightened! I realized I'd been making some assumptions about men and boys, and those assumptions were nearly opposite of the truth. A couple of things that struck me last night were:

1. Many self-help books are geared toward the way women operate. Martin shared how for men, "getting in touch with one's feelings" in the same way that women do can be harmful, even lethal! I had never realized this before.

2. Men have their own signature way of processing emotions, that's more about doing than sitting and talking. I now understand why my husband Andrew goes out and mows the lawn when he's stressed. Whereas I would call somebody and vent and feel better, he feels better by -doing- something instead.

3. Boys' need of mentors and rites of passage to grow into mature men. This is really going to affect the way I work with students. I already make a point to talk to students about how with every practice session, they become more closely knit into the worldwide fellowship of musicians. But I wonder if I could make this even more concrete, would it help young boys even more? Is this why school bands and choirs, when run well, save young men from gangs and street life?

4. I have had many experiences of being marginalized as a woman, but men have these experiences too. Hearing Martin talk challenged my misguided notion that men live on "easy street" while we women have to fight for our rightful place in the world. Men have their own challenges--and knowing this, I can now be more sensitive and understanding.

I agree with Martin's comment about "movements". I bet, one person at a time, that Martin's message will grow and spread. I think I'll use the information I learned last night to be more at peace with men in my own life--to see where they're coming from, to let their workbenches be messy, and to let them be where they're at.

Thanks, Martin Brossman

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