Sure, it’s been thousands of years, but has anything really changed?

Once my curiosity was piqued, I could see a bit of curdling in some of the men around me, too.

They struggled to relate to women. They didn’t have enough friends. They lacked long-term goals. Some guys — including ones I once knew — just quietly disappeared, subsumed into video games and porn or sucked into the alt-right and the web of misogynistic communities known as the “manosphere.”

~ Christine Emba from,

This article was interesting… but I didn’t feel like it offered any answers. Then again, I’m no longer the target audience (man, of a certain age), so perhaps it simply didn’t “land” with me. On the other, other hand, I do think it’s worth a read.


Growing up is hard

When people say they don’t want to embrace adulthood, what they really mean is that they don’t want to be a grownup themselves, but they want to live in a world where everyone else is. They want competent, effective politicians to represent them; they want their journalists and doctors to be smart and level-headed with a comforting mantle of gravitas; they want their children’s teachers to be dedicated and on-the-ball; they want customer service to be friendly and efficient; they want police officers to be honest and fair. They want the world to be stable, predictable…so they can afford to be erratic and irresponsible. They want to be kids, but live in an adult world, where grownups are at the ready to take care of their every need.

~ Brett McKay from,

This was an enjoyable read that brought up a lot of good points. The basic question being explored is why is growing up harder “these days”? Brett spends a lot of time talking about what is different “these days” in society, in culture, in the human experience. It was a breath of fresh air from the more common “kids these days…” sort of screed.


Move or die

Suffering long and mild, leading nowhere of consequence…

And suffering swift, short, and harrowing… leading to the life you long for.

We take to the former gladly, happy to stagger down tortuous but clear paths.

But it is the brief, blind leaps that change the game entirely.

~ Bryan Ward from,

Reading anything written by Bryan Ward is like playing with a sharp knife: You will get cut, and you will learn a very valuable lesson.


Code of conduct, and Principles

[We] spent weeks drafting the core principles that would support our classroom. We scribbled them down, and over the years they have become clearer and more concise:

Defining humanity, both masculinity and femininity based on the strength of your relationships and the contributions you make to society.

Developing relational skills with teammates, parents, siblings, teachers and friends and learning to maintain and sustain strong positive friendships.

Developing empathy toward others so that you can be supportive and understanding.

Practicing good sportsmanship before, during, and after practices, games, and events, and in life.

Defining success in life as being relationally successful and having a cause bigger than yourself.

Acting with integrity in every area of your life

Contributing to society by taking it upon yourself to get invollved in actions and projects that make the world better in some way.

Becoming an advocate of justice and an ally with others by speaking up on behalf of others and against injustice.

Refraining from committing acts of injustice, including bullying, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of hurtful behavior and not accepting or tolerating this kind of behavior in others.

Refraining from violent behavior and learning how to resolve conflict in a postiive and productive manner.

Developing a coherent narrative by making sense of your life experiences, good, bad, and ugly.

~ Joe Ehrmann, InSideOut Coaching pgs 166-7,



The purpose of our coaching is to help boys become men of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible, and change the world for good.

Be mindful never to shame a player, but to correct him in an uplifting way. Affirmation!

Believe in every player. Remember, “In youth is where miracles are made.”

Protect our players. Be big enough to build up, not tear down. Our kids are getting attacked from many places that we don’t often see and of which we are not aware.

Remember our job is to put our players in a position where they can develop to their fullest potential through proper teaching and nurturing.

Each player is part of our family, deserves every chance to succeed, and deserves the utmost respect.

Coaches can disagree in meetings but never in front of our players or anyone else outside our family. Disagreements are saved for private meetings.

Our players are student-athletes and we are teacher-coaches. We hold ourselves accountable as teachers of young men and the lessons they need in order ot navigate masculinity and life.

If you do not know, say so and get approprate information. Don’t bluff our kids! They know the difference.

Remember that parents are our parnters. We strive to work with each family in helping their sons succeed. “Every boy is a son to his mother and father.”

Love your players and the other coaches.

No profanity!

Know the difference between shaming and coaching. No screaming, shaming, swearing, or sarcasm.

Don’t be afraid to apologize! We all make mistakes. When mistakes are made publicly, apologize publicly; when mistakes are made personally, apologize personally.

We are nurturing successful people, not just successful athletes.

Treat all opposing coaches and their taems with the honor true competitors deserve.

Respect all referees, officials, and timekeepers. They are imperfect and trying their best just as we are.

Regardless of our wins and losses, we will be successful if we carry out the above items.

Because I am a role model who has the power, position, and platform to make a positive difference in the lives of my players, I commit to this code of conduct. When failing to live up to our standards I will allow for accountabiity and take responsibility for my actions.

~ Joe Ehrmann, InSideOut Coaching pgs 191-3

These are much bigger than my usual pull-quotes. …both in the sense of word-count and in the sense of potential value if they were more widely known.

Ehrmann is writing in the specific context of sports-coaching boys in primary schooling, but one could easily trim out the parts that are specific to sports and still be left with a very useful set of principles, and a well-thought-out code of conduct. If you coach– no actually, scratch that– If you are a human being, I highly recommend you read this book.