Here's how Sudbury's John Rimore is helping define manhood in the 21st century

The John Howard Society of Sudbury is hosting a men’s support group to help nurture encouragement on issues that affect men in today’s society.

John Howard Society of Sudbury is hosting a men's support group to help navigate life's challenges

John Rimore is the executive director of the John Howard Society in Sudbury. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

The John Howard Society of Sudbury is hosting a men's support group to help nurture encouragement on issues that affect men in today's society.

John Rimore, the group's executive director, said there are many questions around the definition of manhood, and the role that men play in a changing world.

"This is actually a support group for men who are changing the way they respond to anger, or the way they've been taught what it takes to be a man and they'd like to learn a little more, because it's not fitting into today's society," Rimore said.

"Basically, even though we're living in the 21st century, many young boys and men really have never been taught or learned what it really takes to be a man in today's world. We're still working under so many old stereotypes," he added.

"For example, Sandy is a really good man if he goes to work every day, he comes home gives his wife the cheque, takes the kids out to basketball or hockey practice once in a while and that's about it."

'We know in today's world it's completely different."

Rimore says the sessions, which are open to the public, may deal with issues like a father's role in parenting.

"There's a lot of questions about what it really is to be a man. What does manhood look like? [What does] men being parents look like?" he said.

"Really learning or being taught...what it really takes is for a man to understand that they are not the powerhouses of the world."

Rimore says being a man in today's world means that one has to be flexible.

"Equal sharing in any partnership, equal sharing in any kind of child rearing or helping your children grow," he said.

"Being a man means that you are open to suggestions from other people. Being a man does not mean that you have to make the final decision and bear the brunt of all decisions that are made in a family. Being a man means you're open to an equal partnership, and realizing that a man does not have to have all the answers all of the time."

Rimore says this support group is almost like a "booster" for men who have taken part in other programs, like "Caring Dads," which helps navigate men who have a history of domestic violence through the stresses of parenting.

"These programs, they've been very successful and many of the men are saying 'you know I've learned a lot. I'm really starting to change,'' he said. "'I'm starting to understand now….what a father is supposed to do or how I expressed my anger was really wrong and I've learned all these new things."

Rimore says the John Howard team will assess the program after running a few sessions. They are hoping to provide them once or twice a month.

The men's support group meets this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the John Howard Society's office on Pine Street.


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