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Theodore A. Hoppe

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Is there a need for a "Gathering of Men" to explore the role of the man in the modern family?" Might a TEDMen Conference fill this need?

Robert Bly, the author of "Iron John" organized a series of events called "A Gathering of Men," but that was more than twenty years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP3HWLIL1Aw

When one listens to these talks it becomes clear that there is a need for a TEDMen Conference, in the same way there have been TEDWomen Conferences. The only way to make this happen might be to organize such an event as a TEDxConference for Men.
Is there a need for a TEDMEN Conference? Would you be willing to organize a TEDxMen?

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  • Feb 13 2014: Answer to your question.. why not?
    I believe any Men or Women gathering should be prefaced by a refresher course in kindergarten, we seem to have lost the essence of those beautiful lessons we all learned their. Which is no wonder because the next 12 to 22 years we spend learning habits that conflict with those lessons. I think we would have a much better society if kindergarten was repeated every other year so we would not forget what makes a society beautiful. To begin with the teachers should have cookies and milk then lie down and take a nap together. They should learn to listen to the students and share with the students.
    "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion"- Dalai Lama
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      Feb 13 2014: GREAT idea Keith! And the official "plan", or information, could come from the book "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten".....:>)

      There is a LOT of truth to what you say my friend, because I believe kids are born with many of the qualities we seek, and life experiences cause us/them to build walls, which hide many of those qualities from our "self" and others. For all of us women and men, it may be a matter of remembering:>)
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      Feb 13 2014: These are the things I learned:
      Share everything.
      Play fair.
      Don't hit people.
      Put things back where you found them.
      Clean up your own mess.
      Don't take things that aren't yours.
      Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
      Wash your hands before you eat.
      Flush.
      Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
      Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
      Take a nap every afternoon.
      When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
      Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
      Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
      And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
      Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
      [Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]
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        Feb 13 2014: Perfect! There is the foundation for a conference:>)
        • Feb 13 2014: By the way, going threw this exercise I figured out what the hardest job in the world is! What's that you say? "practicing what I preach"
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        Feb 13 2014: Aw yes Keith....practicing what we preach.....much easier sometimes to say...do what I say....not what I do!

        I really feel that your idea of going back to what we knew as children is a great exercise to remind us of the simple and basic ideas that are SO important in all aspects of the life adventure, and would be a GREAT theme for a conference:>)
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      Feb 13 2014: In all seriousness the sharing of food is perhaps surprisingly effective in bonding communities, which is why so many teachers at the secondary level sneak food into the classroom, despite school rules that prohibit it because of real pest issues if it is stored at school or crumbs remain in the classroom. I have split one piece of cake thirty ways in the classroom. It's the thought that counts.

      My first year of teaching secondary school, the school had a gathering of young men. Either that or it was a gathering specifically of young men of color. The library was used for several hours for this event, with male teachers, male students, specially selected male speakers who had risen from challenging beginnings, and lots of food.

      I remember there was careful consideration given to the food and that the center-point of the food was massive amounts of fried chicken.

      I remember this detail because my classroom was opposite the library and because I remember how vital it was to organizers that there be "real food" rather than, say, cookies and juice boxes.

      I believe the idea was for there to be some continuity in these gatherings with the male teachers becoming leadership figures within a community of young people holding themselves to goals and standards suggested by the conference and to which they had become associated as a result of a conference that would be very positive experience for them.

      While I remember no continuity in my building, these sorts of gatherings of young men are sufficiently common that I would think their short and long-term effects on the participants have been evaluated.

      I hope, Theodore, that you do not find me off-point of your question.
      • Feb 13 2014: Well, well my friends... see how easy it is when everyone works together? Colleen offered encouragement and direction, Theodore brought the references and Fritzie brought it all together with confirmations. Teamwork!
        When I was in Hawaii I learned all about teamwork just by going to a real luau. Everybody had a part to play in a this community project even me, I was a guest. The big macho guys went hunting for wild pig, the less macho guys went fishing and the kids swam offshore in the rocks collecting opihi. The younger ladies gathered and prepared fruits and flowers, they also made many things out of palm leaves like bowls, mats and even hats. I helped dig the hole which was lined with special shore rocks and then a huge fire was built again out of special wood that would burn long and make coals that would last all night. The elders (our version of doctors, lawyers and politicians) were always sitting together working out community problems, telling stories (their version of the library) and were always available to any member no matter what age. Their was no such thing as your kids, kids belong to the whole community and all were important. Where was I? Oh, the fire. Everything was around the fire. While the fire was going the younger kids danced and sang, followed by the fertile generation showing their seductive moves to attract a possible suitor. As the fire burned down leaving a huge hole of hot coals on hot rocks, we threw banana leaves on top and then placed the wrapped up pig, fish, turkey and vegetables on top then covered with more banana leaves. Over the top of everything was a huge tarp to keep the heat in. Huge rocks and dirt where then placed around the edges and a small team of guys including me stayed up all night making sure there were no leaks which would ruin the cooking process. The next day... eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die.
        This story was about the community but if men could pull off something similar it would be grand.

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