‘IS it okay for a man to cry? Should boys and men talk to each other about their experiences? What does it even mean to be a man in Limerick in 2019?’
These were some of the questions addressed by participants of the Narrative 4 ‘Boys’ Stories’ project made up of 67 boys from three primary schools in Limerick City, five members of the Moyross Youth Academy and 32 men, community project participants, youth workers and teachers.
Based on Limerick’s O’Connell Street, Narrative 4 uses story-telling and story exchanges between different groups to help young adults improve their lives, their communities and beyond.
Participants discussed gender stereotypes, learned about storytelling and explored boundaries. By choosing stories from their own lives about being a boy or man, and sharing it with the intergenerational group, they gained an empathetic insight, and a greater understanding of masculinity from the group.
A fifth class student from Corpus Christi National School in Moyross concluded that “boys should talk about their stories and not be afraid to tell their story.”
Michael Ryan, principal of Our Lady Queen of Peace commented: “Every story has helped me to know each person here a little bit better. My story is everybody’s story.”
Narrative 4 Ireland Regional Director James Lawlor said, “There was so much wisdom in the room today. The participants learned that there are many ways to be a man. We also learned about the importance of sharing our experiences, our stories remind us we are not alone.”
He went on to thank the participating schools: Corpus Christi Primary School; Our Lady Queen of Peace National School, Janesboro; and St. John the Baptist Boys National School, Garryowen.