Conversations that expand our understanding about masculinity

February 24, 2018

The tragedy (2.14.18) of 17 people, most of them teenagers, being shot dead at a Florida school has put important conversations in motion and I am not just referring to the much needed and to be applauded protesters who took their plea for tougher gun laws to the Florida House of Representatives.

A recent NYT column, “The Boys Are Not All Right” by Michael Ian Black in a must read. In a nutshell, Black makes a compelling case for the need to start having conversations with boys that will best support their movement toward the complexities of manhood. He says “too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured by strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others.”

The conversations the women’s movement gave voice provided women the language they needed to talk about all things female and we can see how it has served them well. There is no such equivalent for men and young boys.

Reading is one of the best ways we accumulate the language needed to talk and think about complex issues and feelings. There is a direct relationship between the empathy a reader has for the characters they meet and self knowledge. To understand another is to better understand the self. To experience the wide range of emotions found in the best of stories help us relate to our own complexities. The best of stories introduces us to one character we might recognize but are not always eager to know better: ourselves.”

In my work with young boys and men I see their difficulty to express their feelings and especially feelings they don’t fully understand. Reading to our sons and having the conversations that seem to come more naturally with our daughters, won’t solve the trouble many boys find themselves in, but it is a step in the right direction. Let our sons be the recipients of conversations that will help them understand and develop all aspects of self—pushing against the boundaries about what defines masculinity.

What would Presidents Washington and Lincoln have to say to us today?

February 19, 2018

It would be good to know why February 19 is a holiday and to ponder the sentiments of the leaders the day honors. Presidents Day honors President Washington, whose birthday falls on February 22. The day is also believed to celebrate Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President who was born on February 16. Though we don’t […]


A school curriculum that focuses on happiness… not math…

February 18, 2018

A modern new school in rural India, expected to be completed by 2020, turns the traditional education model on its head-focusing instead on cultivating happy students and compassionate people. The primary goal is to teach chidden how to be happy. Learning skills comes next. Preparing for standardized tests is not part of the curriculum. The […]


Diane returns to Hong Kong—Reading aloud is a skill, Conversational Reading is an art.

February 11, 2018

I am thrilled to be once again be working with Bring Me A Book, Hong Kong, which just installed their 400th BMAB Library. My workshops will focus on Conversational Reading, a technique which helps readers of all ages reflect on what they read and better understand what they read, showing them how to engage and […]


Nourish your imagination

January 28, 2018

The world has been diminished with the death of Ursula Le Guin and yet we have her words which will never be lost as long as her books continue to be read.  Those familiar with her work are blessed to have been enriched by her books and with that blessing comes the responsibility of making sure […]


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