We all remember the classic Clint Eastwood movie ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ depict the very nature of each of these characteristics: Good – fighting for a good cause, Bad – the typical baddie role and Ugly- the repulsive nature.
In the film and generally in life we hear references to people fitting into these characterizations depending on their behaviour. A few years ago a very wise man shared a story with me, which provoked a lot of contemplation from me around this subject and the story goes as follows:
Once a man was travelling through a forest when suddenly three robbers fell upon him and robbed him of all his possessions.
One of the robbers said, “What’s the use of keeping this man alive?” As he was saying this he drew out his sword ready to kill him.
The second robber interrupted him and said, “Oh, no! What is the use of killing him? Tie him hand and foot and leave him here.” The robbers bound his hands and feet and hurried away.
After a while the third robber returned and said to the man, “Ah, I’m sorry. Are you hurt? I will release you from your bonds.” After setting the man free, the robber said, “Come with me. I will take you to the public highway.”
After a long time they reached the road. Then the robber said, “Follow this road. Over there is your house.” At this the man said, “Sir, you have been very good to me. Come with me to my house.” The robber was afraid and said, “Oh, no! I can’t go there. You will call the police.”
This world itself is the forest. The three robbers prowling here are The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It is they that rob a man of the ‘Knowledge of Truth’. Ugly wants to destroy him. Bad binds him to worldly pursuits. But Good rescues him from the clutches of Bad and Ugly. Under the protection of Good, man is rescued from his aggressive behaviour – Bad, and the other effects of evil – Ugly.
The interesting take homes from this story are to understand that all three of those robbers live within each and every one of us and at various times are very much present and evident in our behaviour.
In society today it is undeniable that statistics show an overly unbalanced list of ugly behaviours performed by men such as:
- Domestic Violence – national survey of 16,400 of Australian adults 18 or over, conducted in 2005 found that half a million women had experienced violent, sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months.
- The Latest Australian Bureau of statistics crime victim survey indicates about six in every 100 Australian males aged between 15 and 24 were physically assaulted in the preceding 12 months.
- 0 % of Australians aged 14 years and over have used meth/ amphetamines. Of these people, 50.4 % report the most dangerous drug on the planet, crystal or ice as the main form of drug used.
What is a man’s role in society today?
Firstly I would never suggest for a man to directly challenge the violent behaviour of another man as these types of aggressive situations have a good chance of further escalating out of control. This type of challenge is best left to the professional capacity of our police or security services; a good course of action would be to alert the authorities if you witness this type of behaviour.
A great place to initiate change is always with ourselves first, it’s well understood that if we change ourselves then we have the opportunity to positively influence others to make changes through the ripple effect.
When it comes to domestic violence, I believe as men we have a responsibility to challenge any behavior that we deem to be detrimental to women. It starts by questioning the comments and degrading suggestions that may be made within our peer groups. It requires a little skillful open questioning to create a less confrontational challenge.
For example: Chris is among a group of footy friends when a friend Paul makes a remark about a girl that walks past such as “She deserves to get it by wearing such a short skirt” Chris questions this remark by saying “Paul I find your comment offensive, what if that girl was your mother or sister, how would you feel about that comment? “This promotes an opportunity for Paul to contemplate the impact of his statement.
The frightening statistics of our growing ICE drug culture and it’s direct link to violent behavior due to the nature of the coming down off such an intensive high have been well documented within the media. The media is currently showing adverts with horrific violent assaults committed by our ICE addicts, and the perpetrators having to be shackled to beds and sedated heavily to avoid injury to themselves and others.
What is the solution to addressing UGLY behaviours?
One way is to integrate primary prevention education programs into our schools, starting as early as possible with a focus on connecting young boys with male mentors, who have an invested interest in inspiring them to become the greatest version of themselves. This role could be performed by our male teachers or by professional mentoring groups.
In the US they have seen significant improvements in behavior within the classroom through the implementation of emotional and social intelligence leadership programs that are run by mentors. The figures of improvement have shown a 30% in overall behavior and exam results. The reason that the results are so high is that the schools and classrooms alike have noticed a greater connection among its students, with a change in attitudes, embracing the new concept of working together as a team and seeing others through the eyes of empathy and compassion.
I would like to see a similar implementation of leadership programs in schools rolled out here in Australia, What are your thoughts? Do you think early intervention is the key to changing statistics?
About the blogger, Dean Quirke is a health and wellness educator, Director of YoungMen’sGroup and creator of ‘The Ultimate Work Experience, White Ribbon Ambassador and speaker.
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