The Men’s Shed organisation is an Australian concept that has become popular in all States. These shed locations, sometimes purpose built, are where older men can have the opportunity to make friends and share meaningful activities. The idea originated to improve the health and wellbeing of members.
Today many younger people’s immediate reaction is one of shock upon seeing an organisation established that doesn’t cater for both males and females together. However, before you decide to send off a protest email to your local member of parliament it might be a good idea to get an understanding of why such an organisation needs to exist.
I think most will agree men can be complicated individuals. More so, the men who have been raised and grown up during a period when the male in the family had far different expectations placed on him than what we see today.
From a young age, todays older male Aussie was given lessons on how to be a man. These started by being told not to cry. Big boys don’t cry. In those years, society had set views on manhood. You didn’t reach out to others when you felt vulnerable. You didn’t seek help. You had to be in charge and you would use force if necessary, to get your own way.
As these generations grew, considerable peer pressure ensured any intimate or open close relationships with other men was frowned on by other men. Blokes had mates they drank with or played sport with but rarely formed any long-term relationships. The results caused today’s older male to have experienced emotional periods where anger, bullying and violence came to the surface.
Spending time with your mates at a men’s shed is an important way to introduce change to men giving them the freedom to become more vocal, empathetic and compassionate. Men’s sheds are good for men’s health.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s life.