As a psychologist, I predominantly help individuals heal and grow, and sprinkle their minds with insights and good maxims for healthy living. Giving the media an interview isn’t topmost on my agenda. But because of my expertise, I am occasionally tapped by media when breaking news stories unfold offering complex and dynamic human drama.
For those of us who watch the news, we know that most of it is bad news—people engaged in acts that create mayhem and suffering in the world. I’m often asked to explain the inexplicable, the oddities, make some sense to the question of why do people do that? When I DO give media interviews, my goal is to educate and possibly provide motivation for people to seek help. Just this past week, I was tapped twice to weigh in on current stories.
Women as Perpetrators and Victims
The recent stories, one carried by WOOD-TV8 and one by the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com both involved women, one acting out upon younger boys and the others in prostitution. In each story, there are victims and perpetrators.
For WOOD-TV8, I helped provide insight into the case of a former Grand Rapids Public Schools teacher who pleaded no contest to four counts of criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to between eight and 15 years in prison.
The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com asked for my comments about men who use prostitutes and how the Internet has changed the dynamics of how men access women when pursuing pay-for-sex opportunities. You can read my comments about men and online pay-for-sex opportunities on MLive.com.
I am passionate about working on social problems that create such abuses of power and oppression. These problems are often systemic, built into our rigid ideas of gender roles. Here at the Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan, we work to help men grow into strong, caring, and compassionate men so that they can live in respectful community with women and other men in their diverse masculinities.
Interviews Provide Opportunity to Educate
Although I get interviewed often for an hour, the media end up taking a few sentences to buttress the points they wish to make on the breaking news. It is always a challenge to press them to not quote me out of context or to make sure to include three important points, rather than just one. Nonetheless, I look at these interviews as an opportunity to educate the general public on the psychology behind often perplexing—sometimes criminal—human behaviors. It is opportunity to illuminate and educate while contributing to the cultivation of a more informed public.
If you have questions or concerns about the issues I discussed with WOODTV-8, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive.com, please don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me through the Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan. I would be happy to respond.
Mr. Flood, I’m so very impressed by your interview/podcast with Andrew Ferebee of Knowledge for Men.
I’m an elementary school teacher in Elizabeth, New Jersey, an urban, predominantly working-class community just 30 minutes outside of NYC. More than 85% of the students are first or second-generation Americans, born to Latin American, Haitian, or black American parents. My job title is General Music Teacher but, as you have already surmised, I teach listening skills, cooperative work skills, manners, organizational, and social skills to name a few. I provide attention, show empathy, care, and love. I’m a teacher, a school Dad for some, school uncle, big brother to others. It is a PreK through 8th-grade school.
I’m 49-years-old and am now feeling the cost of my work. In other words, I’m more exhausted by what I do than I’ve ever been and continue to find ways to accommodate my middle-aged body. Nevertheless, recently, I read for the third time No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. To my chagrin, I was more of a “nice guy” than I wanted to admit; especially with regard to being a doormat for people and avoiding conflict. Because of this, the books, and podcasts, I’m changing my thinking and life and becoming a more integrated man.
I started a men’s support group. Only two men that joined have committed to the group and we’re all comfortable with that. One of the primary purposes of the group is to execute the action items suggested in the book. Additionally, we help each other become integrated men which for us has meant increasing our confidence, decisiveness, and honesty about feelings especially with people with whom we are close (esp. with women).
I’ve enjoyed this process, the Knowledge for Men podcasts and the books I’ve been reading so much that after hearing your talk with Andrew Ferebee I was convinced that coaching men to be strong, complete, and effective is what I want to do for a living.
Robert Glover is a family and marraige counselor, you are a psychologist. As an educator, I’ve had opportunities to “counsel” parents on how to support their children’s emotional and cognitive needs. I’ve always been interested in family and marriage counseling. I feel especially directed though to addressing boys’ and men’s issues. I’m particularly passionate about launching a curriculum or program like that of the Boys Scouts that will allow boys all over America to fully realize their purpose and potential as men. I want to start this other branch of my career with grown men first then extend my work to high school-aged young men. Would pursuing a Master’s degree in family and marriage counseling get me closer to my goal or do you recommend volunteering in a men’s facility? I’m not so keen on working with the prison population because I know personally that there are men just like me living mediocre lives when in fact we could be living more satisfying, vitalized lives if we just had effective support from other men in the same situation. From there perhaps we as a group can better help our sons and men in society. Thanks for your feedback. I apologize if I’ve rambled on.