Session Outline: What makes a man?
Registration & refreshments
Superhero sorter: Split the group into teams. Give each team a list of superhero names and a description of their super-powers. They have to decide which are genuine superheroes and which have been made up then match the right superhero to their superpowers… the first group to get them all right is the winner of the challenge.
Who do you think you are?: Time to find out how we think or, more to the point, the way we think. Get everyone to answer questions to find out whether they have a more ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain as they respond to a set of circumstances or deal with certain information (see leaders’ notes). The idea is not to get people questioning their male identity, but to understand traits that are more ‘common’ to guys than girls, thus getting a better picture of the kind of things that ‘make a man’.
Taking a risk: Physicality is a big part of male identity – help the group to explore their physical limits and develop a sense of trust through, risk-taking and physical challenges.
It takes one to know one: Watch a series of clips of movie scenes that depict a range of male roles. Are there any common traits amongst each of the characters? What makes these characters ‘appealing’ to other men? What ‘masculine’ characteristics do they portray that you identify with? Do you think these men represent a true picture of what makes a man?
45 mins: 15-20 mins viewing 25-30 mins discussion
Genuine masculinity: In their book ‘Cut to the chase’, Lee Jackson and Baz Gascoyne refer to a quote from Phil Wall: “If genuine masculinity does not find a way to be expressed and affirmed, then it will find a dysfunctional expression.” Do you think that is true? What is genuine masculinity – do the Bible and Qu’ran give any ideas? How should masculinity be ‘expressed and affirmed’? What ‘dysfunctional expressions’ do you see or experience around you?
30 mins discussion
Role-models: What role do other men play in shaping our identities as ‘men’? Who are the men in your lives that have had a positive influence on you? What have they taught you – especially about what it means to be a Christian or Muslim man? In groups share your answers to these questions. Now, use those answers to ‘make a man’. Construct a ‘model’ man using different materials for different parts, each representing something you’ve been taught about what it means to be a man.
1 hour 15: 5-10 mins individual thoughts 15-20 mins sharing ideas 45-50 mins building
Rites of passage: These are common to most cultures in history – acts that determine how a boy crosses over the threshold into manhood. There aren’t specific ‘rites of passage’ in contemporary British culture so it’s your turn to decide what should be a test of someone’s readiness to be a man. Find out a bit about some of the weird and wonderful things done in other cultures’ and decide for yourselves what makes a man.
30 mins: 10 mins researching 20 mins plotting!
He who dares…: Becoming a man is something that takes time and there’s no hurry! Enjoying boyhood is important because so much of what it means to be a man is learnt through the trials, challenges, games and adventures we go through as boys. Facing challenges and overcoming problems teach us a lot about ourselves. So let’s start the journey by testing out some of these ‘rites of passage’ (those that are possible, given time and resources).
At the end of the session, get everyone to write down a challenge that they face, an achievement they want to accomplish and an area of faith they want to develop – encourage them to think of ways that they can approach each of these. Lay out scriptures from the Bible and the Qu’ran for them to read and keep to encourage them in these challenges.