Written by Aidan Hayter. Aidan is working in his second year as a ManUp leader in Ottawa. He has wisdom well beyond his years and he thrives when it comes to sharing ManUp’s message.
In our generation, teenagers will go to great lengths to fit in. Even if that means supporting something that they know is wrong. The easy thing to do is to simply follow your friends and the social norm. But what separates the leaders from the followers is those who stand up for what is right, even when confronting your friends can be the hardest thing in the world. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know how difficult it truly is. But I can promise you that a simple conversation can change a perspective.
I have been put in situations where my friends were saying something derogatory or planning on doing something harmful. The kind of stuff that can make a woman’s life miserable. We call this an “opportunity to Man Up”. Despite the difficulty of standing up to my friends, I decided to take a stand against what was right. As it turns out, people will listen and take into consideration your opinion. Peer influence is powerful, so use it to do good. I’m not asking men to save the world, but we can have a positive impact when we have the courage to stand up to our friends, peers and classmates. It can be as simple as saying “Hey, that’s not cool.” or, “What if someone were talking about your sister like that?”. A word from a friend goes a long way, but as hard as it is, I promise that no matter what, there are good people out there that will have your back.
A brave act can change a life. You never know how much harm someone’s words or actions can cause, so put a stop to it when you have the chance. If you become the guy that stood up for what is right, people will respect that and they will likely gravitate towards that positivity. Be brave. Stand up for the right thing, even when it seems impossible. Don’t miss your opportunity to Man Up.
MINDS ON MEN – QUESTIONS TO PONDER
- One of the most important roles of a ManUp man is to start conversations within your peer groups to help align their mindsets with healthy ideals and relationship values. Can you think of anyone in your peer group who could use a discussion?
- As a group, think of specific strategies on how you can start these conversations. Sometimes, creating a phrase or a question that you can use whenever an opportunity presents itself. If you aren’t prepared, you will almost surely miss the opportunity to make a huge impact.