Laidlaw Hall is one of UCC’s greatest classrooms. Manhood was the topic on Nov. 28, a date sandwiched between the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the anniversary of the Montreal massacre on Dec. 6.
Principal McKinney spoke of the value of mentoring, saying “to be a good man, you have to know a good man.” Football coach Dave Brown spoke of his young son, fondly telling the boys how his little boy loves to dance and his concern that will be lost as he becomes “the man he thinks he should be.”
Finally, guest speaker Jeff Perera from NextGenMen spoke about traditional notions of masculinity, describing their toxicity and how they eat away at identity. His questions for boys included the following: Am I the type of person someone would want to be stuck in an elevator with?; Do I present as a “safe space” for others, especially those who are different from me?; Do I have the courage to speak up for and support others in need?
As follow-up to the presentation, Prep students in Grade 6 and 7 will be using themes Perera discussed with them, prior to his Upper School presentation, as fodder for the annual colour house debate in the spring.
In his weekly message to parents, Senior Division head Scott Cowie encourages fathers to “have a conversation with your son about definitions of masculinity, and what it means to be a real man.” Well worth it.