|Being a man in the 21st Century is no easy task. In just one generation, the expectations on men have changed dramatically. Our roles as fathers, lovers, workers, community members, brothers and friends have all changed from what was expected of our fathers, in some cases almost beyond recognition. This rapid rate of change has left many men without adequate role models and in a state of confusion about what it means to be a man in the modern era.
Meanwhile the essential nature of men and manliness remains as it has always been… to initiate, to create, to succeed in worldly endeavours, to demonstrate strength and intelligence, fortitude and integrity, leadership and loyalty. At their deepest level, most men yearn to participate in some small or large way in the creation of a better world, and in doing so serve their families, loved ones and community. How to fulfil this yearning in these complex times is a conundrum that leaves some part of just about every man struggling for clear direction within himself about what it means to be an authentic, healthy man in our society.
MHWAQ is a not-for-profit, incorporated association, entirely run by volunteers. The association strives to serve the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of men. We create opportunities for men to reacquaint themselves with their essentially masculine nature, and to express what they find in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Our experience tells us that by hearing the stories of other men, we often discover (to our delight) that we share common questions even as we navigate our unique and highly individual journeys. We come away from our encounters with other real laser pointer by the experience, enjoying a deeper clarity within ourselves about who we really are beneath the hustle and chaos of modern life.
MHWAQ activities are focused around mens gatherings of various shapes and sizes, from our bi-annual festivals of 130 men (Manshine and Manhood) to our
Many of the men who attend MHWAQ events or volunteer on one of the numerous event committees have found their own unique answers to the puzzle of modern manhood, and enjoy a sense of empowerment and freedom in their relationships, their work and their lives in general. Those men tend to return repeatedly to MHWAQ events as they provide the rare opportunity to mingle with other like-minded men who refuse to accept the hand-me-down stereotypes of masculinity portrayed in the media and by our culture. As one man put it, “I make sure to maintain my relationship, my career, my car and my house. Manshine is maintenance for my masculinity.”
The organisers of MHWAQ events take care to ensure that our events are not prescriptive or promoting one model of masculinity over another. We happily welcome all shapes and sizes of men, regardless of race, creed or sexual persuasion. At the same time we discourage advice-giving (unless asked for) while encouraging respect, active listening and the freedom to choose your own path to your full potential. We insist on non-violence in our interactions with each other while encouraging heart-felt passion and the strength of firm conviction for what you believe to be true and righteous. We invite each man, on his own terms, to explore for themselves their own answers to questions around their masculinity.
What we would like you to know
If you feel comfortable within your masculine skin; if you feel empowered to speak your truth and follow your heart; if you can respect differences while focusing your thoughts, speech and actions on the common good, then the men of MHWAQ honour you as an elder in the community of men.
If you feel unsure of what it means to be a man in these rapidly changing times, then we want you to know that you are not alone. We acknowledge that many men struggle to find a quality relationship with their father, while harbouring concerns about the way they are fathering their own sons. We share with you the struggle to find meaning in our work and our day-to-day lives, and we lament how so many of our brothers no longer find answers from our society or from the old among us.
We see the pain of so many men around us… the alcoholics, the gamblers, the violent, the drug addicts and those obsessed with any one of a thousand different diversions that we use to avoid facing the unanswerable. We are not counsellors. We cannot offer therapy, but we can offer a firm handshake without judgement or condemnation, and the company of a few good men who might just remind you of who you are as aan.
Through our gatherings, the men of MHWAQ offer you an opportunity to explore what it means to be a man in the company of elders and other men in search of deeper clarity. We do not offer you answers, but rather we offer you ourselves as mirrors that reflect back to you what we share in common as men.