Is there a crisis of manliness in society? You are probably disappointed because this is the second time I am asking this question in an article. You may have read or attended the first session on this topic that was held on 25th May 2023. Well, the same question was asked in Part 2 of the session that was held on 24 th November, 2023, at Microsoft Auditorium. The questions seem to bother everyone. So much so that, there was a strong push to have a part 3 of the conversation. Probably, a professional program on
this will be most helpful.
What do you look for in a man? The moderator, Andrew Ritho, was not mincing his words. “Punda amechoka!” He wanted to get this issue sorted once and for all. “ How does the man look? How does his collar look like? If it should be white, is it brown? How cultured is the man? What are his manners and politeness? How will he treat my daughter? Can he sustain a conversation?” Woow, Dr. Mukami Njoroge, the academic director at SHSS, wasn’t mincing her response either. She decided to “spill the beans”.
For a moment, a pin drop silence hit the room. The ladies in the room may have been
celebrating that they finally have a mouth piece in Dr. Mukami. And the gentlemen in the
room, looking at their collars. What a challenge! When Dr. Ceasar Mwangi, the Dean of Strathmore Business School was given a chance to assess the situation from a corporate angle, he mentioned what I was hoping would come out. “Men, are providers and to provide, one needs to be a good professional. To be a good professional, one needs to focus and have an extra mile attitude.” He went further to emphasize the importance of men investing in themselves and going an extra mile in all activities carried out. Most importantly, he underscored the fact that ones’s professional life is highly dependent on their family life. “If his family is dysfunctional, the man will be dysfunctional everywhere, including at work.” He concluded.
Without a doubt, there is a crisis in society today. Fr. Jude, the main protagonist in Part 1 of the series, seems to have asked for back up but went further to read and research on the topic. He highly recommended the book, “Fatherless America; Confronting our Most urgent social problem.” From the book, he painted a grim picture and traced some of the social problems experienced in America to Fatherless homes. Boys raised without fathers’ presence and touch. Families without fathers. The picture painted by the father is one that requires urgent attention. I was only consoled when he gave us a way
out. “Christ reveals man to man. If we want to know what it is to me a man, then only Christ can help us. If we want to understand God’s original idea of who a man and a woman is, then we must go back to Him and understand the original plan.” He concluded. This kept me thinking, what was God’s idea of who a man is? Or rather, who a human being is?
When it came to ideas on parenting in the “new era”, John Gatheru, the Bachelor of International Studies student had the best ideas. He shared his experience and lessons he has learnt from his parents. “My dad has taught me so much. If you have plumbing, electrical or any other work that I can do with my hands, I am the best at it. Courtesy of my dad!” Woow. The audience had the same reaction. Through his “Ted-talk presentation”, he helped us understand the meaning of ignored concepts such as family, society and the place of education in growing a functional society. This session did what it was meant to do; provoke us to think of solutions and do something. It helped us paint a picture of the crisis, establish the nature of it and most importantly brainstorm on the way forward. It was recommended that there is need to develop specific programs for men and to be deliberate in helping “today’s man” navigate the crisis that he finds himself.
It is no coincidence that the moderator of the session, Andrew Ritho, runs a Manliness Project. Please check it out through: https://www.themanlinessproject.co.ke/. We generally agree that we need to do something, however little, to respond to this crisis. Sheila Mukami, the co-moderator, promised to invite us again for a discussion to explore whether there is a crisis with women. These and many more forums and programs are welcome to hopefully help us through this crisis.
More initiatives are welcome!
Article Written by Gabriel Dinda, The writer is a teaching fellow at School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
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