Some notes for lifelong students seeking to be a role model, guide or support to other men and young men along our journey of manhood. By Jeff Perera.
Remember that kid in school who would take really good notes, and everyone wanted to borrow them? They would use different colour highlighters, and make little diagrams? That is who I am striving to be, someone who takes good notes from the lesson of Life, and is willing to share them.
When it comes to the pursuit of consciousness, the growth of the mind, body and spirit: I believe there are no teachers only students. The only true teacher is Life, and the lessons are The Classroom. When you approach life with the belief that ‘we are all students’ it allows for real learning and for others to learn from your example, not just your words.
You become the lesson in action.
Any good teacher you come across, is really a student who is simply sharing the lessons they themselves have learned. They have gotten further in particular lessons, but they are always learning and unlearning as they go from classroom to classroom.
So, when it comes to the pursuit of healthy masculinities, the way forward is those who identify as men supporting one another on a journey to be better men. There are no fully-evolved men, no complete men who have found the cure or cracked the code. Beware of any person or group that say there is one way and that they have all the answers. Beware of those who point critical fingers and say ‘those men‘, when it is ‘we as men‘.
We need to admit to our failures and mistakes, talk about the struggles of unlearning a lifetime of coded and programmed beliefs. I look to join those who share stories of mistakes and lessons learned, in order to further open up some honest dialogue among us as men, to model accountability, self-awareness and transparency. We need living maps to manhood, real-life examples of possible ways forward. Leaning into the discomfort is where the real growth happens.
When we say that we are all students, it levels everything, it eliminates hierarchies of knowledge. This creates a state where we can take in and accept lessons from anyone, be they eight years old or eighty years old.
With Life as the teacher, we all move from classroom to classroom throughout our lives. Some of us cross paths in the one class, so consider the impact you make. Some of us are lucky to journey from class to class with familiar faces. There are also students who aren’t paying attention in a particular class and will have to repeat it again until they learn the lesson. We will all face and take tests, many times we will fail the test, but can learn the most from these failures.
There are students who can turn to you and say “Hey, I’ve had that test before, here’s what I learned.” Some of us are further ahead in our lessons, but can learn from those who picked up on points we missed or overlooked from that class. Students must recognize that the path towards changing our world begins and runs through your own heart, mind and spirit. You need to be constantly working on yourself.
The way forward begins with us, within us.
It isn’t about being better than other men, it is about trying to be better than your yesterdays. While all the good you did in all your yesterdays matter, they don’t excuse you from trying to be and do better today.
These students are Men who seek to lead with Love. A Love that is Justice, is Strength, is Accountability, is Resilient, and is about healing. A love that demands better from ourselves and our fellow men, that inspires holding ourselves and one another accountable. No hierarchy, no egos, no judgement, just us getting together to support one another in our journey, support one another in the work we each do, and in turn inspiring other men to strive for better.
My personal belief is that when it comes to the pursuit of consciousness, growth of the mind, body and spirit: there are no teachers only students.
That’s all I got for now, but class is never dismissed.