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Commentary: Helping men to stand tall and be counted!
Published on August 29, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Dr Neals J. Chitan

As a young Christian boy growing up in Grenada, I was groomed, directed and driven to be a man of mission and purpose by our highly inspirational quotation, “The greatest want of the world is the want of men – men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall,” from the popular Adventist published book, Education pp 57. This powerful mantra framed my young mind to duty, and I purposed in my heart to answer the call and become an agent of change.

Dr Neals J. Chitan holds a doctorate in Social and Behavioral Sciences and is the Grenadian-born president of Motiv-8 For Change International -- a Toronto based High Impact Social Skill Agency that is specially dedicated to the social empowerment of individuals, families and communities
I knew that being a change maker involved challenging the status quo, challenging models, theories and set patterns of operations. I knew that this path to change would sometimes be lonely and I would often be ridiculed and challenged, but my mind was conditioned to change and I was resolved and undeterred.

According to Albert Einstein, “The true definition of madness is repeating the same action, over and over, and expecting a different result,” and despite my past mistakes and social dysfunctions, madness has never been a coveted title of mine.

In my years of working alongside colleagues and professional acquaintances, I have seen them trapped within the cycles of ancient ineffective so-called professional routines and methods, just doing what the job description demands, though with no resounding and fulfilling results.

I have seen professionals who are burnt out and frustrated in their careers trying to decode the maze of frustration their clients are facing. Professionals whose excitement is only triggered by the thought of an upcoming long weekend holiday, while their long term lenses are focused on the joy and benefits of retirement. And by the way, who doesn’t enjoy a good vacation? However, for most, only to be followed by the lamenting cry of “Back to work already?”

In my heart, I knew as a man, I couldn’t settle for this kind of existence when I was indeed cultured in an atmosphere of purpose and resolve. I wanted to not only leave my footprints on the sands of time as Longfellow suggests, but to enjoy myself immensely while helping to change lives at the same time.

It was then I met my epiphany!! And out of that was born a series of social skill concepts, ideas and models designed and copyrighted to bring radical change to the 21 st. century social ills we see in our homes, schools and communities at large.

However, as I decoded these social ills, I realized that they were especially damaging the emotional and social growth of men while jamming our jails and detention centers into overcrowding mode and creating a lucrative market for local funeral directors and cemeteries. From my perspective, if we did not do something different, the successful black male would soon be scripted on the extinct species list.

It was then, that my solution oriented creative mind kicked into gear again, and another great movement “I’M MOI-Men of Integrity” was born. You see, from my dealing with the social issues that have plagued men across the USA, Africa, England and the Caribbean, I can confidently say that the three most fundamental questions needed to be answered are; “Who am I?” “Do I love me?” and “Why am I here?”

The pressures to conform and the “longing for belonging” have drastically disfigured the self-concept, personhood and independent thinking of men, throwing us into a male identity crisis tailspin, the perfect recipe for feeding the gang subculture.

In my April 2017 article, ‘There are no bad boys,” I outlined a number of issues that get misdiagnosed as the so-called ‘bad boy” syndrome. In that article I said that they are not bad boys, but:

• Misguided boys
• Hurt boys
• Traumatized boys
• Grief stricken boys
• Disappointed boys
• Negatively labelled boys
• Abandoned boys
• Rejected boys
• Low self-esteem/self-perception boys
• Depressed boys
• Fatherless boys
• Bullied boys
• Sexually abused boys
• Unwanted and unloved boys.

Currently under contract with the ministry of national security in St Kitts-Nevis as an international crime reduction specialist, I decided to walk through what is deemed a gang infested community and share my thoughts. As I read the article to a group of young men hanging out on the block, one young man jump out and said, “That’s me right there!!” I asked him to show me himself in the article, to which he replied, “It’s right there; misguided, abandoned, fatherless, unwanted and unloved.”

My heart sank in pity for him, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness invaded my being as I reached out to give him a hug. As I held him in a fatherly embrace, this so-called bad boy or gangster became my son, and the conversation began. As we spoke, more and more young men were diagnosing themselves, pointing out the issues on my list that shackled them to a life of failure, crime and doom, and I was becoming more resolved to reach every one, through our “I’M MOI-Men of Integrity” movement designed to go straight to the heart of the matter addressing the issues that have damaged their social and emotional growth.

And so, on the eve of launching this movement in St Kitts-Nevis, I salute both the minister of national security, Prime Minister Timothy Harris, and his visionary permanent secretary, Mr Osmond Petty for their out-of-the-box attitude towards reducing crime in the Federation and challenge other Caribbean countries experiencing the rising plague of homicides to follow in the steps of these leaders.

Truly, we cannot keep doing the same thing over and over in the Caribbean and expect a different result, and by embracing the “I’M MOI-Men of Integrity” movement, these gentlemen have shown stalwart leadership, the type that will help the men of St Kitts-Nevis to stand tall and be counted!!
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