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Barrington Reeves Project Development Co-ordinatorSowing Seeds Working With Men/Fathers, Male Inclusive services The African Caribbean Experience
Holistic Human Principles • Love and Balance are prerequisites for Human Relationships, between masculine/feminine (Internal) and Male/female (external).
Holistic Human Principles • Certain principles can be developed to bring balance to all relationships for the benefits of the children. These are: - • Willingness, • Awareness, • Acknowledgement, • Acceptance, • Understanding, • Forgiveness, • Responsibility, • Commitment, • Faith.
Holistic Human Principles cont’d • Life is energy and we all possess energy expressed as Love. • How we feel depends on our experience. our experience is an internal process consisting of Thoughts , Feelings and expressed as Behaviour. • Intuition and creativity can transform our internal and external worlds, so anything is possible, working with men/fathers as a positive resource.
Sowing SeedsIntroduction Aims: • To work with Parents especially Men/fathers including Young fathers to encourage and participate in responsible and consistent parenting and relationships. • To work with Service Providers to develop culturally appropriate services for Men/Fathers from African Caribbean Communities, by running African Caribbean Fatherhood & Relationship & Parent programmes. Objectives • To establish workshops/forums & events for the Black Family, especially Men/Fathers to gather and share experiences and discuss issues relevant to successful parenting and promote bonding & consistent interaction. • Improve parenting skills amongst the Family, especially Men/Fathers. • Network with other organisations to inform about research, practice & delivery of services. • To help services providers develop strategy for Male Inclusive Services.
Sowing Seeds Philosophy • The name Sowing Seeds also indicates our philosophy and the way we work. The square was agreed upon, at once for the beauty of its simplicity, as it represents a number of important concepts, firstly the four points on the square corresponds to the cardinal points on the compass that used singularly or in combination provides direction and engenders a full view and awareness of ones environment and ecology. • The square (or in its 3 dimensional state, a cube), also represents the four basic elements necessary for life, these being earth, air, water and fire. Life and more precisely the quality of life is critical, and through our various activities, we aim to improve the quality of life for all. Colors • The color of the square, black was so chosen to represents the home of ideas that are formed and take shape within the depths of the mind and the place where the seeds of new ideas can be planted. The color green indicates the fertile receptive mind, or the mind that is no longer stagnate or dormant but able to generate and contemplate life enhancing options. The font Sowing Seeds is completed in yellow as the bright light of creativity and progress. • Sowing Seeds derives its name from the belief in growth and the potential of individuals and communities to adapt develop and progress. It is then about stimulating generating and supporting effective ideas that will contribute to constructive change growth and thinking. • We are aware that change is an evolutionary process and that individual and collective growth takes time and is not, in the first instance immediate or apparent.
“It takes a Village to Raise a Child”African Centred Spiritual Concept The roots of this ancient proverb lies in Africa in the main attributed to Igbo /Yoruba Traditions in Nigeria. On one level it tells us that the raising of the young cannot be left to individual families let alone one parent, in isolation. It reminds us, that for the most part child rearing is probably the most demanding of all human activities and though it is a role we adapt to, it is nevertheless presents us with a massive challenge to our self concept, patience, financial resources, understanding and our own challenge to fulfil our dreams and accept ourselves. On a deeper level, this is an illustration of a particular way of experiencing and relating to the world that sees wholeness a connectedness in all things that implies a responsibility we all share, in the development of our young, each other and community.
The programmes explores the issues faced by African Caribbean Men/Fathers & Women in single & mixed gendered groups. The Fatherhood Programme & Parenthood & Relationship Programme Issues explored include:-Masculinity, Relationships, Identity, Money, Parenting Styles & Child Development, Education, Family Law, Spirituality (Cutting the ties that Bind), Communication, Sex, Fatherhood, Intimacy, Mixed Relationships, Re-constituted Relationships, Communication. “It Takes a Village to raise a Child.” Sowing Seeds African Caribbean Programmes
Questions Posed During Sessions • How were you Mothered/Fathered, what was the Impact of this? • What is it to be a Man/Father, What are the expectations for these roles? • Do you feel there is Understanding Of Black Family Life and your role In it? • How do we as men teach young boys about Masculinity? • Does Society and Culture have an Influence on your Parenting Role and Capacity?
Evaluation Comments from Participants Excellent, Thank you. Needs a full day seminar on this particular topic & include much wider audience. Dynamic & Healing. Very supportive in helping us to make positive decisions. Superb, challenging & Inspirational. Needs more involvement of professionals with the community.
Men/Fathers Today • 5.4 Million fathers living with Dependant Children. • 178,000 Lone parent fathers up from 60,000 in 1970. • Around 2 million non-resident fathers. • 33% of childcare taken care of by men/fathers. • 93% of men take time off during the birth of their children. • 2005, 31% of father worker flexi time compared to 11% in 2002. • Only 44% of women with babies believe women are naturally better carers than men. • 80% of men/fathers in BME Communities compared to 68% of white fathers want greater involvement with their babies. • Statistics taken from Equal Opportunity Commission 2005.
Human Interaction, Solution focused • We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. • It’s the process of solving rather than the outcome that proves to the learning • Albert Einstein
The Challenge : • Every worker in the field of Health & Social Care should be trained to recognise the ways in which their own Cultural upbringing is likely to have affected their perceptions of the difficulties that their clients bring…………… Source : Murphy- 1986. Race & Counselling In Health & Social Care.
Model for Change, Human Interaction, Self Awareness Do you as a professional recognize your own feelings, thoughts & emotions in relation to what issues are being presented by the client and do you recognize them in your professional practice? REFLECTIVE PRACTICE!!!!!
Involving Men/Fathers Is the parenting capacity of men and women ordained by nature, biology and psychology? Or Is it a product of particular historical circumstances, social processes and ideologies, and vary with ethnicity, religion and cultural background? Working with fathers and male carers raises many issues for us all, both personal and professional? We all bring values and beliefs related to motherhood and fatherhood – whether these are implicit or explicit?
Professional Attitudes Regarding Men/Fathers. • What Is Fatherhood about • What do we see as the roles and responsibilities of men/fathers • As professionals how do we support the notions of Manhood, Masculinity & fatherhood. • What are your attitudes and beliefs about Men/Fathers, • How do your attitudes & beliefs influence your interactions with Men/Fathers in your professional practice. • How do we as adults/professionals influence Children & Young people’s views of men and fatherhood. • What is your Organisational attitude regarding engagement & working with Men/Fathers, from BME Communities, especially African Caribbean men/fathers and young men/fathers.
Organisational Strategy • What are the organisations policies towards men/father, especially now with the Gender Equality Duty On service provision. • How do staff relate to working with Men/fathers and what are the issues for staff. • How does the organisation work with Equality & Diversity, i.e. working with BME, Disability & Sexuality. • How do you feel about working with African Caribbean Men/fathers and other BME groups.
Engagement Of Men/Fathers. • What do you feel are the incentives for men/fathers to get involved, how do you communicate this? • Do you prioritise activities for men/fathers? • Where do you advertise events for men/fathers? • Do you think of men/fathers as a positive resource of experience and learning? • Do you make events meaningful to their lives and experience and a learning opportunity?
Some Tips For Professionals & Volunteers • Look to research the local area in which you work and find out what work is going on with men/fathers and seek the local knowledge. • Do an audit of the local community and find out how organisations are working with men/fathers and what they are doing, find your own unique way of working with them. • If you want to work with men/fathers, look into research about their culture and lifestyle, do not make assumptions. • Please do not leave working with men/fathers to male staff only especially Black staff as this can fell very patronising. Work as a team to devise strategies to deliver this service as a team, even if the BME staff facilitates it. • Keep up to date on the research produced on men/fathers work and their role in the family, use this to form debate and practice in the organisation and continually ask men/fathers, be that your husband, partner, boyfriend, young men, older men what they would like, make it hypothetical as they may take offence to be asked in such a direct way. • Look at the alternative cultural models of Family functioning and see what can be learned from this in relation to the Indigenous cultures model of family functioning (Nuclear Model)
Humanity Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." • “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD!!!” Yoruba Tradition, Ile Ifa, Nigeria. Nelson Mandela: Speech to South African Parliament For New Government Post Apartied 1994.
Support for Male Inclusive Services A Male Inclusive Service Self Assessment & Practice Tool can be purchased from Sowing Seeds. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or phone 07816-211559 ask for Barrington Reeves, Project Development Co-ordinator.