The premise of this podcast is that boys have inner lives—personal, emotional experiences that are often hidden from view.
Boys feel things. Boys cry and tremble and break their hearts; they get betrayed and let down and lose things that matter them. Yet throughout all of these experiences runs the ‘boy code,’ a steadily reinforced culture that demands rigidness and invulnerability from boys and men. So they learn at a young age to differentiate between internal feelings and what they express on the outside. In doing so, they lose connection to each other and to themselves.
If we—as parents, teachers and role models—are going to play an effective role in our boys’ lives, we need to nurture that connection by being aware of their inner lives and how they express them. Because of the boy code, this isn’t always easy to do. But for our boys’ mental health, self identity and relationships, it’s crucial.
As the adage goes, boys will not be boys. They will be men. What if we could stay connected to them and help them become healthy, gentle, loving men? What if we taught them to meet fear with honesty, to meet isolation with communication, to meet violence with dignity? What if each boy met the boy code with a chain breaker and an open heart?
Each episode of this podcast is centred on a boy describing a single experience. This is interwoven with the perspectives of experts and leaders in progressive masculinity: writers, educators, researchers, parents, mentors. As we talk, the hidden becomes visible. The visible becomes a step towards connection.
Breaking the Boy Code is supported by Next Gen Men, a Canadian nonprofit focused on building better men through youth and peer engagement, education and empowerment. They lead school- and community-based programs that connect boys and men to conversations about healthy masculinities.
Website and graphic design for Breaking the Boy Code was done by Original Story Design Co.