The issues embodying healthy expressions and identities of masculinity are well documented.

Given current social commentary, including debate around ‘toxic masculinity’, the College recently commissioned a Respectful Relationships research paper, conducted by Dr Sheridan Kerr from the ACU and psychologist Alasdair Roy. The report gathered significant data through surveys and focus groups, involving parents, teachers and both current and past students. The report provides insight into the strengths and opportunities for ensuring the seeding of respectful relationships as our boys grow into adulthood.

The issues around respectful relationships extend way beyond the school gates. Schools do not exist in a vacuum and they are inextricably linked to behaviour that may be accepted as ‘normal’ in wider society. We have recently lived through an extraordinary period of exposing what we now call ‘hidden’ or ‘silent’ sexism - though it was not all hidden or silent to many women.

We do not want our boys to grow up ‘shamed’ of their maleness or being collectively accused of being misogynistic. While some issues are complex, nuanced and sensitive; others are not and are at crisis point, like the dehumanising of women often seen in readily accessible pornography. Genuine respect for others is straightforward and is what we are all called to do. It goes to the very centre of what being a Good Christian and, indeed, what being a good human person is all about.

Throughout the year, in this newsletter, I intend to share some reflections on some new directions in positive masculinity for boys and young men.