Randy Crutcher has over three decades of experience as a teacher, counselor, and community organizer/builder. He is a personal and professional development coach, facilitator, and consultant to both large institutions and small organizations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He has done extensive work with men and boys to become all they can be having opened one of the first state grant funded men’s counseling center’s in America. He developed programs to assist men in learning alternatives to violence, father and son workshops and gatherings.

Direct short-cut to this page:

Men, Power and Reproductive Freedom
Mr. Holmes
How We Make Bullies
Sherlock's Hiroshima
Someday Soon-Civil Rights in America
When Men Change- Pain and Longing
Tribute To A Passionate Father
Who Would You Be Without Your Story?
Man-A Woman's Best Friend
Men and Worthiness
A Man's Success
True Friendships Among Men
Men: The Passionate Providers
Homecoming: Men, War and Passion
Is Compassion Worth a Dime?
Food, Passion, Father and Son
Maybe baby-It's time to talk about population
The New Autism for Boys- Where are the real deficits?
New Focus on Boys of Color
What's the Difference? Overcoming the legacy of racism
To Your Health in 2014! Ultra Body to Ultra Min
2013, Ominous or Auspicious?
So What's a Man to "Do?"
What Is A Man-cession?
Coming Out As "Spiritual"
A Funny Thing Happened at the Men's Gathering
Can Discovering Their Passions Save Men's Lives?
Is bullying the real problem?
Everyman’s 21st Century Blog

Men, Power and Reproductive Freedom

I was in a bit of a state of shock when I arrived at work to find out someone had tried to burn my office down. A neighbor had called the fire department and everything was under control with no substantial damage done by the time I arrived. Why would someone do something like that?

It was l985 in the USA, at the beginning of President Ronald Reagan’s second term in office. I was a Director of Information and Education at a Planned Parenthood affiliate providing low cost voluntary family planning services to those least able to afford it, both women and men. Among other duties, I had been hired to specifically address how teen boys could be supported to take responsibility for their role in teen pregnancy as well as to foster healthy father-son relationships that included conversations about taking that responsibility. Though the bulk of Planned Parenthood and my mission was to educate people about their individual and private choices, I was well aware of the controversy over abortion services—and that is what had flames licking the siding below my office window.

When people feel powerless, they are at risk of being manipulated and can sometimes be driven to desperate measures to draw attention to what they feel is wrong, not just for them, but everyone. Ever since the l973 U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting women’s right to choose whether or not to end a pregnancy in consultation with their physician was put in place, there have been those who have attempted to reverse that decision, in any way they possibly can think of, at any cost to others.

Uniquely in the USA for many decades now this issue has been used by politicians to curry favor for themselves or denigrate others by playing on the strong emotions of a minority of voters. We are currently seeing the latest version of a strategy to divide and conquer with Planned Parenthood again being used as a convenient target for an angst that is continually inflamed both by people with strong personal convictions and beliefs and others that simply see abortion controversy as a political football to keep in the air for political gain and power. That is why you will see many seeking or in political office waver in their opinions or support for reproductive choice. They are attempting to see which way the political winds are blowing with particular constituencies before they take a clear stand.

Unfortunately, playing political games with the lives of women, men and families in need of high quality reproductive health care undermines both the health and freedom of hundreds of thousands who have have come to rely on Planned Parenthood for safe, reliable and effective means for making their own private choices about when and how many children they will have. It is always important to remember that for some, when they cross the threshold of a clinic it may be their first access to health screening for cancer and other services associated with primary health care that person might not otherwise receive.

I’d like to think this drama will stop repeating itself in my lifetime and political machinery will no longer benefit by the constant flame fanning of this divisive issue. I’ve no investment in changing people’s strong convictions about when life begins or their choices about their own pregnancy, the consequences of which are shared by both women and men.

I do know that when men in particular (along with women) feel they have the right to determine other individuals and families life choices, they are not merely hypocrites maintaining they are committed to individual freedom, they support those desperate ones who lit fire to my office. If not explicitly they implicitly condone acts of terror against their own country men and women. Now well into the 21st century anti-abortion violence has actually remained a consistent, if secondary, source of domestic terrorism and violence, manifesting itself most often in assaults and vandalism, with occasional arsons, bombings, drive-by shootings, and assassination attempts. Acts of terror don't arise in only one culture or religion nor from an aberrant gene. This violence, like other forms, is committed by those who have become emotionally isolated, lost touch with their own humanity or are manipulated into believing that denying others their right to liberty and the pursuit of their own happiness, is a threat to their way of life, when it clearly is not. They are acting out their own personal powerlessness.

On another plane of view, I can see how these continued threats to individual freedom serve a purpose as they bring more into the open both the shadow and light of power and powerlessness. They provide an opportunity for men of honor to declare themselves allies to not just women, but to themselves and their own core values, their authentic and true personal power.

During this political season and era, consider telling Planned Parenthood what a fine job they have done for you or anyone you’ve known lucky enough to cross the threshold of one of their many welcoming clinics. Support those political leaders who are true public servants that understand the critical importance of taking a stand for the health and wellbeing of all American families and the funding that makes that possible. And for those readers living elsewhere than the US, remember that the International Planned Parenthood Federation supports many programs on all continents, making a healthy difference for those women and men attempting to take charge of and make better lives for themselves and their families.

*     *     *

The U.S. Justice Department sided with Planned Parenthood in its court battle with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) Monday night, telling a federal judge that Jindal lacked "sufficient reasons" to cut off Medicaid funding to the family planning provider.

Last month, Jindal moved to cancel Planned Parenthood's Medicaid contract in Louisiana after an anti-abortion group released a series of heavily edited undercover videos that show the organization's doctors discussing the donation of fetal tissue for medical research after abortions. The 2016 presidential hopeful and other Republicans are claiming the videos show Planned Parenthood engaged in the illegal sale of fetal body parts.

“In recent weeks, it has been shocking to see reports of the alleged activities taking place at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country,” Jindal said in a statement on August 3. “Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life. It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.”

Jindal felt so strongly about the undercover videos that he aired them on the lawn of the governor's mansion during a recent demonstration in favor of Planned Parenthood in Baton Rouge.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which does not offer abortions in Louisiana, asked a federal court to block Jindal's move in late August, arguing that the undercover videos lack the evidence to "back up false and outrageous claims." Donation of fetal tissue after abortions is legal, and federal law explicitly allows for donors to receive reimbursement costs for the preservation and transportation of fetal tissue. Five state investigations into Planned Parenthood have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.

“We’re in court today to protect over 5,200 people’s access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and basic health care in Louisiana,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a statement. “Many of these folks would have nowhere else to turn for health care.”

Jindal said in a statement last month that the Medicaid provider agreement between Louisiana's Department of Health and Planned Parenthood "gives either party the right to cancel the contract at will with a 30-day notice." His office did not respond to the U.S. Justice Department's "statement of interest" filed Monday night in favor of Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Holmes

A funny thing happened on the way to the movies this week, or rather when I got to the box office. The movie I had intended to see, Me, Earl and The Dying Girl was not being shown as advertised online for that night. My friend Tim had just told me I wanted to see that movie and post a blog about it. As I’d driven across town to this venue and there was a group of women meeting at my house, I decided I’d still make it a one guy’s night out and bag a different flick, Mr. Holmes.

I’m glad I did. No mistakes. This crime drama mystery directed by Bill Condon and based on the 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind written by Santa Fe’s own Mitch Cullin features an aging Sherlock Holmes (played by Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings “Gandolph”) living in retirement with his house keeper Mrs. Munro (played by Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (played by Milo Parker).

The film follows a 93-year-old Holmes living in his country estate, struggling to recall the details of his final case while his mind begins to deteriorate.

In 1947, having just returned from a trip to Hiroshima, he starts to use jelly made from the prickly ash plant he acquired there in an effort to improve his failing memory. Unhappy about his ex-partner Watson's account of Holmes' last case, he hopes to write his own account, but is having trouble recalling the details. As he spends time with Roger, showing him how to take care of the bees in the farmhouse's apiary, Holmes comes to appreciate his curiosity and intelligence and develops a paternal liking for him.

Over time, Roger's gentle prodding helps Holmes to remember the case (shown in flashbacks) and why he retired from the detective business.

The movie was based on autobiographical material from author Cullin’s life as a boy who cultivated a relationship with a kindly and learned neighbor who gave him access to one of the most complete collections of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.

Without revealing more of the plot, as I’d hate to spoil it for you, my focus here is multi-faceted. On the one hand it is a story that illustrates how genius can be a blessing but also a curse when combined with what I’ve spoken about throughout this blog, “men’s isolation.” The great rational and deductive thinking ability of the Holmes character is thrown into relief when viewed as a wall between he and the characters reaching out to him for human connection and emotional resolution. His own emotional intelligence is portrayed as crippled but not beyond recovery at age 93 and it is the boy Roger who creates that bridge back to his own deeper humanity and personal redemption.

The movie’s striking portrayal of the aftermath of destruction in Hiroshima is timely as the recent 70th anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan has just passed with continued mixed feelings about war, destruction and peace on a global scale. Through no intentional effort on my part, the home I’ve now lived in for four years happens to have a large picture window in the living room that perfectly frames the town and laboratories of Los Alamos, home of the famous and infamous Manhattan Project. The lights from that ancient volcano mountainside twinkle and dazzle us at night.

As I further reflect on the slowly unfolding plot of Mr. Holmes

I wonder to what extent the inner workings of elder Sherlock’s heart as it begins to open becomes the hologram for our society’s own gradual collective opening to the pain and suffering we believe we both avoided and collided with simultaneously.

And if prickly ash is no guarantee we can remember what we’ve done and not repeat history maybe this film can help us to bridge between our rational and deductive powers to create and destroy and our hearts that can mend and heal.

I heartily recommend viewing Mr. Holmes. But don’t trust the internet (or just plain ole human error?) Call the venue first to make sure it’s playing.

P.S. Uncannily, the author is traveling to Italy in September to support a training of Japanese who are leading the passion movement in Japan. Must be about the Axis of Goodness, a new term you just saw here.

How We Make Bullies

It all began with a conversation about hats or rather stories about hats, one about a hat that was yanked off and stolen. Soon, one after another of us starting talking about our place in the pecking order and bullying when we were boys. In our men’s group its “cool” to talk about this stuff, giving each of us more perspective on our own lives and drawing us closer to one another.

Though we were focused on our victim stories, when do we—any of us-- actually talk about who bullies are and where they come from?

The anti-bullying movement in some schools and communities is well underway. It can often seem like all the other what I would call “Just Say No” efforts (e.g. drugs, sex) this one largely and importantly tending to the needs of the harassed and abused. Certainly helping young people stand up for themselves is critical. Where in this whole perpetrator-victim dynamic do we more fully address the root causes and the perpetrator as well so that we actually can begin to stop it at the source?

In my sometimes desultory rummaging around for information, I occasionally stumble onto something or someone that addresses the heart of the matter and brings it home, literally home.

A parenting educator by the name of Ashley Trexler is spot on with going beyond the usual suspects in the creation of a bully, notably, overly permissive parenting, violent video games and abuse. She observes that even well meaning parents may be sabotaging their own efforts to raise, kind, caring kids through unconscious modeling and behaviors. She asserts bullying starts and ends with an imbalance of power and that bullying is simply a means to gain more power.

In her piece, 8 Ways You Might Be Helping To Raise A Bully, some of what parents, grandparents and even non-parents bring or don’t bring to the lives of children reap some counter-productive rewards. Here are the eight in summary.

Gossiping: If you want to raise a mean boy or girl, act like one. Ashley Trexler shares about her young daughter mimicking her after she was on the phone presumably talking trash about someone, which she equated with no better than outright bullying. How often do we do that in the presence of younger people thinking it’s harmless or just as bad, not thinking at all? They watch our every move.

Too busy: When we don’t have the time or make it a point to tell our partner or family members we love them in front of the children or express affection, they miss out on learning about intimacy. When you show them you care, they learn to show others they care.

The hates: You hate your job, are dissatisfied with your home or finances or body but do little to change it. That makes us look pretty helpless in the eyes of the young and when we are their heroes but demonstrate powerlessness it can make them feel powerless. They may act that out elsewhere to reclaim power through bullying behavior.

Mini-me syndrome: Trexler says that today’s culture encourages us to treat children as mini-adults sometimes fully disclosing financial burdens, family illnesses and work issues regularly such that we add more stress to our children’s lives. Bullying can be an outlet for their stress.

Over scheduling: Another pressure some add to their children’s lives is getting them to participate in everything for fear their children will end up being disadvantaged. Out of that fear they fill their children’s schedule with non-stop extra-curricular activities even though the damaging effects of full schedules are now well documented. Over scheduling can produce anxiety, anger and aggression, paving the way for bullying behavior.

Inconsistent rules: A parent’s job is often a stressful one and constant enforcing of lots of rules can be a part of that stress, putting the parent in the role of cop. The more rules, the more likely the cop will slip, sending mixed messages through inconsistency. What can help both a parent and a child is to have just a few ground rules that are consistently enforced. Then giving children freedom within those boundaries can foster a healthy sense of power and independence.

Wincing and watching: When we observe bullying behavior as a bystander and do nothing to intervene while our children are watching, we send them a powerful message that this behavior is okay. Of course we don’t want to be in harm’s way or place our children at risk. But there are different ways to react other than turning a blind eye and how we respond teaches our children much about how to handle this part of life.

Forcing kids to share: Trexler talks about sharing as a learned skill over time. Forcing kids to share by taking something from them and giving it to someone else, a toy or anything can backfire. Talk about, share about and teach sharing by loaning something they may want to explore, offer a bite of your dessert or help with a difficult chore. Forced sharing results in a feeling of powerlessness.

She says, “Be the person your kid wants you to be, so your kid can grow to be the person you want them to be.

And by that, I believe she means the kind, caring, sharing, giving, compassionate and collaborative person we as adults may aspire to be. Now that sounds like a hefty insurance policy for doing our best to avoid the making of bullies to me.

Ashley Trexler is dedicated to debunking parenting myths and helping parents raise kind caring kids. She can be found at

Another resource is Sarah Hamaker, a leadership parenting coach and blogger at She is the author of 10 Ways to Help Your Kid Be A Conversationalist

Sherlock's Hiroshima

A funny thing happened on the way to the movies this week, or rather when I got to the box office. The movie I had intended to see, Me, Earl and The Dying Girl was not being shown as advertised online for that night. My friend Tim had just told me I wanted to see that movie and post a blog about it. As I’d driven across town to this venue and there was a group of women meeting at my house, I decided I’d still make it a one guy’s night out and bag a different flick, Mr. Holmes.

I’m glad I did. No mistakes. This crime drama mystery directed by Bill Condon and based on the 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind written by Santa Fe’s own Mitch Cullin features an aging Sherlock Holmes (played by Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings “Gandolph”) living in retirement with his house keeper Mrs. Munro (played by Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (played by Milo Parker).

The film follows a 93-year-old Holmes living in his country estate, struggling to recall the details of his final case while his mind begins to deteriorate.

In 1947, having just returned from a trip to Hiroshima, he starts to use jelly made from the prickly ash plant he acquired there in an effort to improve his failing memory. Unhappy about his ex-partner Watson's account of Holmes' last case, he hopes to write his own account, but is having trouble recalling the details. As he spends time with Roger, showing him how to take care of the bees in the farmhouse's apiary, Holmes comes to appreciate his curiosity and intelligence and develops a paternal liking for him.

Over time, Roger's gentle prodding helps Holmes to remember the case (shown in flashbacks) and why he retired from the detective business.

The movie was based on autobiographical material from author Cullin’s life as a boy who cultivated a relationship with a kindly and learned neighbor who gave him access to one of the most complete collections of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.

Without revealing more of the plot, as I’d hate to spoil it for you, my focus here is multi-faceted. On the one hand it is a story that illustrates how genius can be a blessing but also a curse when combined with what I’ve spoken about throughout this blog, “men’s isolation.” The great rational and deductive thinking ability of the Holmes character is thrown into relief when viewed as a wall between he and the characters reaching out to him for human connection and emotional resolution. His own emotional intelligence is portrayed as crippled but not beyond recovery at age 93 and it is the boy Roger who creates that bridge back to his own deeper humanity and personal redemption.

The movie’s striking portrayal of the aftermath of destruction in Hiroshima is timely as the recent 70th anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan has just passed with continued mixed feelings about war, destruction and peace on a global scale. Through no intentional effort on my part, the home I’ve now lived in for four years happens to have a large picture window in the living room that perfectly frames the town and laboratories of Los Alamos, home of the famous and infamous Manhattan Project. The lights from that ancient volcano mountainside twinkle and dazzle us at night.

As I further reflect on the slowly unfolding plot of Mr. Holmes

I wonder to what extent the inner workings of elder Sherlock’s heart as it begins to open becomes the hologram for our society’s own gradual collective opening to the pain and suffering we believe we both avoided and collided with simultaneously.

And if prickly ash is no guarantee we can remember what we’ve done and not repeat history maybe this film can help us to bridge between our rational and deductive powers to create and destroy and our hearts that can mend and heal.

I heartily recommend viewing Mr. Holmes. But don’t trust the internet (or just plain ole human error?) Call the venue first to make sure it’s playing.

P.S. Uncannily, the author is traveling to Italy in September to support a training of Japanese who are leading the passion movement in Japan. Must be about the Axis of Goodness, a new term you just saw here.

©2015, Randy Crutcher

Someday Soon-Civil Rights in America

It was the Fourth of July, a typical warm muggy summer day in Atlanta, Georgia. Not my favorite for running on hot pavement but that’s exactly what I did, with thousands of others in the annual Peach Tree Road Race. I’d come to participate in the Men and Masculinity Conference not far away in Athens, Georgia and was taking in the local flavor-- in running shoes.

The Conference was put on by the then named National Organization for Changing Men, a group of educators, social scientists, community activists and concerned citizens across gender, ethnicity and sexual preference. It had a number of key initiatives designed to move our society closer to it’s espoused values of liberty for all, one called The Campaign to End Homophobia. As part of the conference participants commitment to doing more than just “talking amongst ourselves,” we gathered at the Federal Building in Atlanta at the end of our sweaty run to protest the Hardwick Decision in which the US Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults when applied to homosexuals.

As difficult as it may be for some living today to believe the majority opinion was that the Constitution did not confer the right of a particular group of people in America to engage in private sexual practices, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger was the one to cite the “ancient roots” of prohibitions against homosexual sex in his reference to William Blackstone’s description of homosexual sex as an “infamous crime against nature”, worse than rape, and “a crime not fit to be named.”

Author of the dissent Justice Harry Blackmun, framed the issue as revolving around the right to privacy. Blackmun's dissent accused the Court of an "almost obsessive focus on homosexual activity" and an "overall refusal to consider the broad principles that have informed our treatment of privacy in specific cases." In response to invocations of religious taboos against homosexuality, Blackmun wrote: "That certain, but by no means all, religious groups condemn the behavior at issue gives the State no license to impose their judgments on the entire citizenry. The legitimacy of secular legislation depends, instead, on whether the State can advance some justification for its law beyond its conformity to religious doctrine." Seventeen years after Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court directly overruled its decision in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), and held that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

In l986, who were we to really know we were doing much more than tilting windmills? Even though the first birth control clinic in the US was established by Margaret Sanger in l914, the use of birth control between married couples did not become recognized as a right of privacy protected in the Constitution until l965 in Griswold v. Connecticut. Even then, millions of unmarried women in 26 states were still denied birth control.

And now we are well into the 21st century and either tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2015 or Monday, June 29, 2015 the Supreme Court will announce their decision about another personal freedom and liberty in this Land of the Free. The court is deciding TWO things.

  • Whether states can ban or not allow gay marriage as 13 states currently do.
  • Whether states must recognize gay marriages conducted in other states.

In other words they will have addressed whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, meaning a state can’t block that right regardless of popular opinion in the legislature. They’re also expected to rule on whether states that don’t allow same-sex marriage must recognize unions performed in other states.

Opponents of state bans argued marriage is a fundamental right regardless of gender, and the 14th Amendment, originally written in to give ‘due process’ and ‘equal protection’ to enslaved African-Americans after the Civil War, also gives gays and lesbians equal marriage rights.

Supporters of the appellate ruling supporting bans submitted briefs on behalf of dozens of religious groups and Republican lawmakers including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz of Texas. They argued the bans are a matter of states’ rights and were not put in place out of animosity toward gays and lesbians.

What are those arguing for state’s rights to curtail human freedom really arguing for? I think history has already supplied the answer—abundantly.

Just before Halloween a few short years ago my partner and I were honored to be Best Man and Best Woman at a sacred ceremony of commitment all those family and friends attending called marriage. A state election a few days later called it illegal.

If the Supreme Court allows state bans in 2015, California’s gay marriage ban would not be restored because the legal debate over it already ended. The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower federal court ruling that declared it unconstitutional, because those who tried to appeal it didn’t have legal standing to call for the enforcement of a ban. The state’s governor or attorney general could have appealed, but chose not to. That is not the situation in all the states where bans have been in place.

Those of us who’ve stayed the course through history and those generations today that view restrictions on the rights of anyone to establish the kind and quality of identity, relationship and family of their choosing as preposterous will prevail-- and maybe in a matter of hours. Then we’ll truly have something to celebrate with fireworks, the true spirit and meaning of liberty in America.

©2015, Randy Crutcher

When Men Change- Pain and Longing

My divorce was one of the most painful times in my life. Though I was not legally married and facing legal and financial issues, the emotional ones were as daunting as those of other men I have heard from. And there was a child involved which amplified the heartbreak many fold.

It was at this time I felt incredibly vulnerable and raw and spoke with people at a level of honesty and realness that broke with the usual everyday movements of carrying out the business of my life.

It was this pain point that had me re-examine what was truly important to me, searching for new ground to stand on, even a redefinition of who I was and why I was here. It involved taking a hard look at old patterns and behaviors that were not serving me, my default ways of operating in the world programmed from boyhood on about what it meant to be a “real” or successful man.

In the licking of my wounds, a new “call” emerged from the pain and within that call was a longing for something more and bigger. I could not fully know at that dark time I was actually in a chrysalis and about to emerge into a whole new life with new people who would become friends, family and community, all that I would need to grow new wings and fly.

These days when I work with other men at these points of life transition, I realize I am working with myself, the men mirror my past pain and longing for an expanded life of greater joy and fulfillment.

The biggest obstacle facing so many boys and men today is isolation, a lack of societal support for growing up in healthy, purposeful and productive ways that provide deeper meaning, a sense of personal mastery and belonging for each developing boy and man at every stage of life.

Fortunately, there is a worldwide movement whose leaders understand that it takes a village to help break through the isolation and raise a man. It is called The Mankind Project, (MKP) is 35 years along in its evolution and spans several continents and countries. The signature experience provided by MKP is a powerful weekend rite of passage for young men and older that recognizes the Hero’s Journey given higher profile in our modern culture by the great mythologist and educator Joseph Campbell. Over 60,000 men have experienced these powerful weekends, supporting men to begin defining purpose and success on their own terms.

Now in it’s third year the MKP sponsored Man On Purpose course provides a seven-week teleseminar that builds real community for men with virtual technology that can enable communication and heartfelt connection across continents. The course attracts men acknowledging and courageously taking a risk to doing something about their pain and longing.

My role in this Man On Purpose community is to work with its instructors/facilitators to provide the men who enroll in the course an introduction to the power and ease of the Passion Test, now the number one tool used in 52 countries to help people get clear about their passion and purpose and support them to live their life based on what most brings them alive and feeds their souls, as well as their pocketbooks!

My team of five men Passion Test facilitators living in North America, the Caribbean and Australia work with men in or close to their home regions or time zones to get clear about and decide to live their passions fully as an integral part of the Man On Purpose course supporting men on their hero’s journey toward a greater sense of passion-infused purpose. Some of these course participants have recognized it is a part of their greater life purpose to serve other men on their journey out of isolation and are choosing to become certified Passion Test facilitators as a powerful complement to other processes and tools they can use in their lives, professions and businesses.

If you know a man in pain or longing for more, there is something you can do. You can visit to find a local or regional presence of the global Mankind community. There are men willing to talk to that man if he is even a little open to having a conversation with someone who understands what he is going through or is longing for.

And you can talk to me about how men can access the Passion Test and global family of facilitators that is growing daily.

The women’s movement began with leaders naming a problem with no name, and then taking bold leadership to change the world. The men’s movement has named the challenge as well and in partnership with women is making life better for millions. It is sometimes painful for me to know we have not reached everyone yet and I long for the day when we’ve ended men’s isolation and created communities everywhere that make a real difference in men’s lives, helping those men make a difference in their worlds and the lives of others.

©2015, Randy Crutcher

Tribute To A Passionate Father

When I was a young boy my father would call me “sweet” and kiss me just as he would later do with my two sisters and brother born after. He has been a hugger within and outside the family. He wept when we lowered our old collie dog “Rex” into a hand-dug grave in the backyard, the first death in the family. He was visibly moved by tearjerkers on TV.

It was only later that I learned how remarkable these simple facts of my family’s early life were in contrast to the way many other boys grew up and were “handled” or not handled at all.

Even more remarkable when taking into account that my father’s father had abandoned him to a life with a hard working single mother, and a sister vying for attention from that same single parent.

Not a large kid like me (I was already 6’2” by age 14), he became a scrappy street kid on the Depression-era streets of Los Angeles. At 18 he sent away for iron weights and became a body-builder for life winning the title of “Best Back” in the city of Los Angeles in l947.

And he has continued to be very goal driven in building his own commercial rental business after a career in public school and college teaching and administration where he helped thousands of students achieve their potential. Recently he completed yet another college degree resulting from decades of taking Spanish, German and French classes. He says it keeps his brain active.

Still, all my dad's outward musculature and success could not fully protect or subdue the sensitivity of the heart.

In my dad’s era there was not much room for a man to fully own and express his feelings. As a matter of fact it could be quite dangerous to do so in a demanding and often dehumanizing male performance society. And that’s still a fact in many a boy and man’s life today.

But because of my dad’s obvious failure to conceal his pathos and compassion at home, I became the lucky recipient of a bigger picture of what it meant to be male, to be fully human. Today more than ever, I treasure that and the riches it has contributed to my life and life work with women and men. I am blessed with many close men friends from different walks of life. Part of my life’s work is helping us see and realize our full humanity as men, expressing a full range of feelings as we share experiences. And it’s about supporting myself and other men to discover that genuine success is defined by our own internal measuring stick based on our true passions and interests. My dad did the best he could to raise me to follow my dreams despite any of his owned fixed ideas about success and accomplishment.

A few years ago I was also blessed with the discovery of The Passion Test, a simple and powerful process for getting clear about what’s really most important to each of us and living that fully. Not only does it confirm that when I do what I love everyone wins, it confirms what my dad has known all along, when you live your passions you are unstoppable.

Now in his 87th year of manhood, I want to pay tribute to a man living passionately and ahead of his time. As far as I was concerned, right on time. This one’s for you Dad.

I also want to direct my readers to the work of Tony Porter who gave a TED talk on The Man Box. Tony is an African American man and father who speaks directly to the way in which he related to his son until one day…he woke up. Check this link:

Who Would You Be Without Your Story?

Who would you be without your story that you as a man should do this or that? Who would you be without your story about what you need, what it should look like? Who would you be without your story that begins with “I’m just this way” or “I’ve always been this way?”

One of the things I seem to continue to bump into are my stories, read beliefs, about who I really am and what I am here on earth for. Some of my current personal narrative, quite a lot really, is about helping myself and others lead a passionate and purposeful life. And getting to do exactly what I want most of the time, and on my time. That all feels good and I want to keep that the main theme.

There are other stories and beliefs though that when they arise trigger unwanted feelings with physical contraction and tightness I can call pain. And when these stories continue looping through my brain, the pain and suffering can be prolonged.

Often these stories consist of characters in my past and present I feel at odds with or have judgment about, situations where things just did not go well and continued in that direction. Since the past is no more, it’s only my thoughts about and interpretation of a situation, right or wrong, real or imagined that continue to haunt me and steal my energy. Other stories are about what may happen in some future. In this kind of story or thought train I am anticipating a negative or destructive future that just does not exist.

That puts me in mind of the famous American humorist and author Mark Twain who was quoted as saying, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

So how does one keep that kind of thought train from pulling into the same station time after time, spewing toxic exhaust and making noise in one’s life?

Recently I spent nine days with Byron Katie, originator of a process she developed to pull herself out of a deep depression and misery. Katie co-wrote Loving What Is and I Need Your Love, Is That True? as well as other literature helping people all over the world question their thinking that is causing them stress, pain, suffering and separation. Three times a year she teaches a course called The School for The Work, a school she says is the school of “wonderful wonderful YOU.”

There, with a couple hundred other participants, I spent time completely immersed in the process known as The Work, questioning my thoughts and thinking about different aspects of my life and personality that irritate, provoke or trigger irritations, resentments, disappointments and expectations that have plagued me over time. When engaged in with an open mind, this inquiry process provided us a power lift up and away from the old nags, a remarkable and transformative return to who we really are when we take the time to examine these thoughts that can separate us from or cause us to lose sight of our essentially loving, whole, exuberant, enthusiastic, creative and curious selves.

And like other profoundly powerful processes I use, it is amazingly simple and accessible to anyone with half an open mind. Beginning with a particular belief statement, one asks four questions:

“Is it true?” Yes or No.

Can you absolutely know it’s true? Yes or No.

How do you react and what happens when you believe the thought?

Who would you be without that thought?

After answering these four questions yourself or having someone else ask you, you look for the opposite of the belief or statement you are working with and explore whether there is any truth or evidence that would suggest it is true or truer than the original statement.

Here’s an example of a statement I was recently questioning with one of my co-graduates of the nine-day school.

Belief Statement: Sylvester (name changed to protect the innocent) treated our friendship as a burden

1.) Is it true Sylvester treated our friendship as a burden. Yes or No?

2.) Can you absolutely know that Sylvester treated our friendship as a burden? Yes or No?

3.) How do you react and what happens when you believe the thought that Sylvester treated our friendship as a burden? How do you treat them? How do you treat yourself?

I get a constriction in my throat. I feel anger, sadness, and frustration. I don’t make an effort to communicate and separate myself from Sylvester denying him my friendship. I judge myself as less than evolved for not getting over it and for judging him as the perpetrator when I am just as responsible for the break.

4.) Who would you be without that thought that Sylvester treated our friendship as a burden?

If I never had that thought I would be free to focus on what was good about the friendship. I would not hold my friend in contempt and might make an effort to reach out. I’d be emotionally light and open.

After the four questions, one looks for a “turnaround.”

Sylvester did not treat our friendship as a burden.

I looked for and found many examples for how that was true or truer than the original statement that Sylvester treated our friendship as a burden.

I treated our friendship as a burden.

I looked for and found some truth to this one as well.

I treated me as a burden.

Some turnarounds don’t immediately make sense until one recognizes that one’s own thinking can be a burden and in this case my carrying around this thought about Sylvester was truly weighing me down. I was burdening myself!

I can truly say that I felt differently and thought differently after just this one session doing The Work. Whether I take some action or not is almost beside the point. The point, as Katie says, is this.

You can take all this to your grave or you can use inquiry (The Work) to lighten your load and more fully enjoy every inch of your life, being open to what Reality actually presents to us, rather than holding on to and continuing to react to painful images of the past, or anticipating a scary or negative future that has not happened.

I strongly encourage any man open to it, to explore the possibilities of doing The Work to gain greater freedom and flexibility in life. Boys, as well as men can be assisted in this process too as another way to question the notions of masculinity that cause harm and destruction in their daily lives.

For more information about The Work, simply search

You can watch the remarkably clear and loving Katie doing The Work with others and download enough free materials to get you started.

©2015, Randy Crutcher

Man-A Woman's Best Friend

I know a man that for 20 years has been a faithful friend to his wife, staying by her side through breast cancer, an auto-immune disease making it extremely difficult to walk, sometimes affecting vision and the use of her hands, more breast cancer requiring surgery and chemo, a broken hip; year after year of countless doctor visits and treatments, some very painful. With all that, their lives together have also been wonderful and magical in so many ways-- the love and committed friendship, the wife will tell you, has meant everything. They live far beyond mere survival and enjoy a quality of life unimaginable but for that deep and abiding commitment. It’s been a beautiful thing for me to witness up close.

There are so many examples of men as friends, allies and partners with women in intimate relationships, work relationships, co-operating in extreme adventure of all kinds and quality; from war to space exploration, parenting to politics. Old tropes about a battle between the sexes is not only outdated, it never was true. There has always been a “partnership society,” even in the midst of bigoted pedagogues, oppressive patriarchal regimes and distorted religions that would have it otherwise. I am talking about partnerships that do not place anyone above another on the basis of gender and exhibit a deep honoring of each other’s strengths and gifts.

That said, those regimes and distorted religions have much to do with why partnership societies are far from universal in the 21st century. The idea that men are superior and women are inferior is still a mental virus afflicting significant portions of populations around the world. The symptoms of the disease; sexual harassment, rape in war, the military, universities and elsewhere, domestic violence, the large scale sex and slavery trades, genital mutilation, female infanticide, wage inequality and others must be treated along with implementing the cure.

Among the many allies and friends of women is a 90-year-old man whose efforts are among the most widespread, thorough and often effective on a global scale. He was the 39th American President, and the only one that did not start or maintain a war but used what political influence he had to wage peace. He is Jimmy Carter and with his equal partner in life Rosalyn and his team of 175 at the Carter Center established in l983 works tirelessly to eliminate disease, injustice, inequality and violence in dozens of countries.

And while doing so, Jimmy Carter now writes passionately about his chief mission in life—to end violence against and discrimination of women in all forms with a particular emphasis on examining the abuse of religion that becomes a tool for justifying discrimination. A biblical scholar and teacher for life, Jimmy Carter works with other religious scholars who agree that there is no authentic basis for discrimination in religious texts, only out of context and distorted references that speciously support dominance and control, a sense of male entitlement and privilege that has no basis in reality and would not be approved of by the original founders or the source of inspiration for the creation of world religions.

Jimmy Carter's new book A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power draws attention to the symptoms I mentioned above and provides the impassioned but calm, balanced and fair treatment of the problem with a perspective that all men could benefit from, as men also suffer when their mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and communities are diminished or destroyed by this discrimination that affects everyone.

"It's not a so-called woman's issue," Jimmy insists. "All of society is affected by what is both an injustice and a tragedy.

In reading the book I have to admit that with my erstwhile background in rape and domestic violence education and men’s role in family planning and parenting notwithstanding, there are staggering statistics that took me by surprise. Case in point, there are more slaves today than before the US Civil War, most of these women and tens of thousands passing through Carter’s native state of Georgia, USA!

If statistics seem cold and aloof, Carter’s reach for collaborative solutions are anything but. I was inspired and encouraged to learn about how many men at high levels of leadership care and are involved in doing larger scale systems thinking while generating and delivering solutions on the ground in partnership with women. Carter is a member of an international group of men and women called The Elders, many of them former leaders of state. The men in this working group have either recovered from the mental virus that still helps drive isolated, marginalized and disenfranchised young men to a movement like ISIS or they were fortunately exposed as I was at an earlier age to the truth about gender equality by select families, teachers and communities.

So, what then is the cure for the ongoing violence and discrimination? Running with my epidemiological metaphor a bit longer, we need an anti-viral agent. And as with most diseases the cure often comes in the same package as the disease, or the solution is contained within the problem.

The virus we want to spread is the news about boys and men being inherently good—I’ve never known a male baby to go to war or rape someone. We begin as whole human beings, malleable, but whole. One powerful protein in this positive virus is parenting. How we cuddle and talk to boys, the messages they receive about their inherent worth and lovability is not turning them into something they are not to begin with, it’s maintaining and further nurturing their strong sense of self and humanity. We need to root out sometimes invisibly different treatment boys receive in school that fosters bad or anti-social behavior and see to it that any and all kinds of sexist references in media are eliminated. We need to help boys discover and live their passions and talents with teaching and mentoring that supports their passions and sense of purpose.

One of the strongest proteins in this pro-virus are the men who are consciously building strong communities to provide women-respecting role models of what it means to be a man as a partner with women, modeling that at home, work and in public in a variety of ways and scales.

Having worked with former gangbangers creating new lives for themselves, I know that much of the violence they were forced into perpetrating is simply a distorted means to receiving attention, recognition, a sense of belonging and even love. And that they were usually first violated in some way before they violated others. From gangbangers, to campus and military rapists, to tribal warlords and ruthless despots, under these distortions of maleness is the need for human closeness and friendship that remains constant. It is possible for every man to learn how to be a woman’s best friend. Let’s join Jimmy.

Read more here:

Become aware of and join the larger global movement called 1 Billion Rising Revolution now joining together people and partnerships across all nations

©2015, Randy Crutcher

Men and Worthiness

It felt like a dam had broken, behind which debris had gradually collected slowing the flow to a trickle. Such a relief, such a renewal to finally blast through the seemingly impenetrable mass that had lodged itself in my heart and loins for far too long.

What am I talking about? I am referring to what I call the “dam of shame.” And no doubt most men and boys can relate.

It’s become clear to me over the years that lack of self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth, self-love lies at the root of any darkness, any shadow, any violence done to self or others at the hands of men, from the bedroom to the boardroom, from addiction to depression to suicide and homicide. I learned this on my own personal battlefields as a boy and as a man and could see it clearly in those I worked to help liberate from the confines of their isolation, protection and defensiveness in the face of societal and self judgment about one’s worthiness.

What I’d not yet taken full measure of in myself though was the depth at which the silt had deposited behind this dam of shame. And that shame is by quality and degree a different animal that strikes at the very soul of a man and his sense of worthiness…. deeper than guilt, deeper than humiliation and embarrassment.

With the help of social work professor and author Brene Brown whose work with shame is groundbreaking in this generation, I’ve come to understand that shame is a feeling that cuts you off at the knees because it gives you absolutely no where to go. Unlike guilt which is about something you did being bad, shame internalizes the message that YOU are bad and unworthy of love or belonging. Unlike guilt, with shame there is no bad behavior to stop or change. It’s all about you. As Brown says, “Shame corrodes the sense we can do or become better…..You need a platform of self-worth to change.”

What’s shaming for me may not be shaming for you. In my case, earning less money at some point or having less intimate connections than what I expected of myself as a good provider and a good lover gradually slowed the flow of generative and sexual energy. It was that continuous crippling self-judgment drawn straight from the blueprint for a man’s success referred to in my previous post that began the construction of the dam of shame.

The question is, how does one tear it down, releasing the debris and allowing the larger flow of life, lightness, creativity, love and connection to course through one’s life again?

Brene Brown speaks about the concept of “shame resilience.” Two characteristics that come up in definitions of resilience are “toughness,” and “elasticity.” In neuro-science resilience depends partly on communication between the reasoning circuitry in the brain’s cortex and the emotional circuitry of the limbic system.

Deconstructing the shame dam takes some mental toughness, only established by repeated rejections of any idea that I as a man am anything less than lovable and worthy just for who I am. Yes, my actions matter, my deeds count but they do not justify my existence. My existence needs no justification. I am here and I belong or I would not be here. That’s the conversation the cortex needs to have with the limbic system to pull apart and defuse the feeling of shame.

Sometimes the shame dam can only be pulled apart one chunk at a time. Once the first chunk is removed though, it can become easier to pull out more chunks until it feels as though the whole thing can finally come tumbling down.

One way to begin for me was to share with a non-judgmental friend these unwanted messages and dreaded feelings, in this case another man who is well aware of the damage and incapacitation of shame. Someone who cannot only listen but also encourage and cheer me on.

I found it essential to face the beast and name it out loud for starters. Literally say,

I have shame about_______________________. Interestingly the moment I did that, just that alone, the monster immediately downsized

This was after listening to the two one hour recordings of Brene Brown disclosing about her own shame, how to understand and deal with it. And considerable soul searching on my part.

Then, I finally felt prepared to talk to the person most affected by my shame other than me, my life partner. We had a heart to heart that I know had been a long time coming.

In my case, the results were pretty immediate. Breaking open the dam meant that I could get a bunch of that energy flowing again, into my creativity and into our intimacy.

I felt like I had my mojo back! Cause for celebration.

Another ring of support was my ongoing men’s support group, more great guys that care enough to share and share what’s most important in life.

In years past I recall joining circles of men, sometimes men and women around a fire to perform a “banishment ritual.” In that ritual ceremony one writes down on a piece of paper something that no longer serves them that needs to be released in order to move forward in life. Then each person says out loud or keeps silent what needs to go and tosses the paper into the fire, watching that shedding of the old go up in smoke.

The deliberate intention, heightened emotion and group solidarity involved makes ritual a powerful agent of release and transformation.

I am not going to say it’s easy, it’s not. I do believe and can testify that the benefits of deconstructing and releasing shame are enormous. If you can commit to that kind of "tough," I know you can achieve the ultimate elasticity and gain or regain your most shame resilient self.

Highly recommended up close and personal talk by Brene Brown:

©2015, Randy Crutcher

A Man's Success

True or False?

  • A man’s success is determined by his net worth.
  • A man’s success is measured by how well he provides for his family materially.
  • A man’s success is equated with how much power and influence he wields in the world.
  • A man’s success is based on how much he produces.
  • A man’s success depends on how smart, formally educated and clever he is.

How many of these did you answer true? How many false?

Beyond arguments of right and wrong for any of these statements, which statements have had the most impact in your life? Which ones most influenced your decisions about how you’ve spent or are spending your lifetime?

I believe that our ideas of what constitutes success literally become the blueprint for how we make our life decisions and lead our lives. The blueprint formed by the statements above is one that becomes programmed early in a boy’s life and for most men becomes the very basis of their lives. I know these statements have had an impact on how I view myself and other men.

Is there really any other way to look at what makes for success in a man’s life?

In the film, Bucket List, with death knocking at their doors, two older guys conspire to do what they had not yet done, the list mostly consisting of physical feats and things, stuff they may have put off while busy following societal scripts for success and being responsible adults.

In contrast, a palliative care nurse in Australia discovered a different kind of bucket list when she counseled dying patients in their last 12 weeks on earth. There was no mention of more sex or skydiving. Instead she asked about and heard common regrets. Among the top regrets for men was, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

Here are the top five regrets in a nutshell.

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

If this retrospective laser clarity can appear at the end of a man’s life, why not sooner, why wait until it’s too late to realize real fulfillment? Why not define success for yourself now and live that at whatever age you are?

The most profoundly simple and powerful process I know for that is The Passion Test. It’s given me deep confirmation of what is most important and what brings me the most happiness in my life. It then gives me a baseline from which to begin living that way from where I am, one step at a time. It has given me and tens of thousands of others a way to define success on their own terms in the face of old blueprints, old scripts of what others have told them about success and how their worth is measured.

The question is: Are you ready to trade the “comfort of familiarity”, old stories, patterns and habits referred to by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware for a life filled with even more happiness and success (on your terms) than you may have imagined?

I welcome you to join me for an hour of that self-discovery. I have my wife and business partner Karin Lubin take me through the process at the end of each year and beginning of the next. And I do the same for her. Having someone ask you questions so you can listen to your own heart’s answers is profound.

And finally this from the new book by 88 year old pop and jazz singer Tony Bennett, Life Is A Gift: The Zen of Tony Bennett

"Shed the idea of competition, and of being the best. Instead, desire to improve only by being yourself."

"If you follow your passion, you'll never work a day in your life."


Bronnie Ware recorded her patient’s dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood (a NY Times best-seller that has stayed at the top of Amazon lists for years)

NEW! Your Hidden Riches: Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood with Sylva Dvorak, PH.D Recently released and already a NY Times best-seller Your Hidden Riches reaffirms the value of the principles and process of The Passion Test inside a treasure trove of rituals for making your ideal life come true one ritual at a time.

©2015, Randy Crutcher

True Friendships Among Men

I was having a hard time of it. Really struggling to keep my head on straight and emotionally spent. A friend called just to see how I was doing.

  • He did not share his opinions.
  • He did not try to give me advice or win me over to seeing things his way.
  • He did not start talking about all the things my situation reminded him of.
  • He did not start talking about other people.
  • He did not do much talking at all.

In that moment, what he did not do defined as much of what I consider authentic friendship as what he did do.

So what then did he do, this friend?

My second sentence from the top is a giveaway.

He just called to see how I was doing--- with no other agenda.

After he asked the question, he listened. Really listened. So well I could tell he was not quietly constructing the next thing he was going to say. He was present for me.

Many men today have a difficult time doing this. I’ve spent years learning it and am committed to getting better at it for the rest of my life. I’ve come to see not doing it can leave me and other men feeling isolated, lonely, friendless and depressed. Learning and practicing this has provided me with untold benefits, surprises and treasures. You may have heard the expression, “if you want friends, be one.” Well here is a pretty good place to begin. When was the last time you called up a man friend just to see how he was doing….and then listened?

With the kinds of training and conditioning boys and men receive that pits them against each other in the competition and comparison game, the homophobia that only more recently is beginning to ease up in some cultures, and the epidemic problem of depression in both young and older men, men are often challenged to find models of true friendship, and further to create and sustain their own. Many men carry a big load of hurt from absent, neglectful, emotionally distant or abusive fathers or father figures. And from an early age we’ve been separated from other boys and men by ruthless competition. It’s no surprise that many men only feel comfortable being close and vulnerable with women, or more particularly with one woman. That dependency comes with it’s own problems for both men and women.

What do I mean by “true friendship” with other men?

I’ll begin with two elements that the great American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson believed formed the backbone of his closest relationships with men. I believe they form mine as well.

Emerson said that these two elements were equally important.

“One is truth. A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and so equal that I may drop even those undergarments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another….

…The other element of friendship is tenderness. We are holden to every sort of tie, by blood, by pride, by fear, by hope, by lucre, by lust, by hate, by admiration, by every circumstance and badge and trifle—but we can scarce believe that so much character can subsist in another as to draw us by love. Can another be so blessed and we so pure that we can offer him tenderness? When a man becomes dear to me I have touched the goal of fortune.”

There are most certainly as many ways to express friendship as there are actual friendships, and the language with which we express our truth and tenderness can vary in form.

I so appreciate the work of Gary Chapman and his series of books beginning with The Five Love Languages. Gary talks about how people have different preferences for the way they both receive and give love in relationships. The way they prefer to receive and get most filled up is generally the way they deliver it to others, usually not recognizing that their friends or partner may have a different preference. The five languages are:

  • Acts of Service
  • Words of Appreciation
  • Physical Affection
  • Gifts
  • Quality Time

My top two love language preferences that are pretty much guaranteed to fill me up are Quality Time and Words of Appreciation.

One of my great passions in life is to spend quality time with friends, which can range from a half hour phone call to a multi-week outdoor adventure. Because it is so difficult for many men to initiate that, I often find myself to be the one to do so and am so thrilled and grateful when others initiate, even if I have to decline an invitation to talk in the moment or get together right away.

The important thing to understand here is that when you learn the love language preferences of your friend, new or old, you are taking another step closer to true friendship by speaking their language instead of just your own.

For example, if I get that my friend’s preference for receiving love is helping him work on his car, house or boat, (Acts of Service) I offer to help. It’s also a pretty good fit as my preference is to spend Quality Time, which could really be doing most any activity as long as we are hanging out together.

There are many more aspects to the art of friendship and many reasons friendship is so important to me and others. My hope is that every man will in his life have close true friends, not to do what he can do for himself, but to reflect the best in him in order for him to be his best.

Another man I respect shares this about true friendship.

With every true friendship we build more firmly the foundations on which the peace of the whole world rests. --Ghandi

Like what you’ve read here? Let the author know about your interest in the forthcoming book: Lone Ranger No More: A Guy’s Guide to Making, Keeping and Letting Go of Friends at

©2015, Randy Crutcher

Is Compassion Worth a Dime?

That face keeps coming back to me from the newspaper photo. That tear-streaked, chin puckered, lips turned down at the corner anguished little boy’s face. The one inside a shelter that was supposed to be safe from attack—but was not.

What do we do when that little boy, his parents and others are so far from being safe, even for a day? I try to understand that both sides, though so unevenly matched in firepower, are essentially terrified and feeling unsafe. How can they feel safe?

There are peaceful political solutions that could honor both heritage and freedom. They are out of reach because fear is trumping compassion, and compassion is the glue that holds humanity together. Its absence tears us and our world apart.

Given the seeming enormity of human conflict and problems, where do we gain a foothold in expressing our own compassion?

My good friend Don Eaton in Santa Fe, New Mexico has a non-profit organization called Small Change whose efforts to teach compassion and facilitate compassion in action are distinctive in that Don talks about two kinds of hunger, the hunger of the heart/spirit and the hunger of the body.

Don and his board are committed to the belief that each of us can do something about both kinds of hunger. They address the first with

programs, events and projects that inspire, empower, challenge and educate people to make small changes in thought, word, and action, to grow in compassion for themselves, others, and the earth. They reach people through concerts (including house concerts), retreats, seminars, and lectures. Don writes and records original songs and produces CDs that help inspire and encourage people to be "compassion in action."

At each of these events they hope that what is said, what is sung about, and what is discussed will create in people a desire to make small changes in their own lives to "be compassion" in the world. At each of the events and programs people are asked to make one small change, which is to save their small change (coins) for hunger relief. People are asked to save and donate their small change to Small Change. Every cent saved goes to direct hunger relief. The small change donated to this Hunger Fund is used to supply relief agencies with oral rehydration salt packets (ORS), (each costing about a dime!) to help save the lives of people who would otherwise die from the dehydration that accompanies starvation. An encouraging quote from the website is:

Remember, "No one makes a bigger mistake than the person who does nothing because they can only do a little."

There are many people, organizations, and services that exemplify compassion in action. You may contribute to or be one of them.

How do we create more of us and reach critical mass in the larger world?

As an educator, I know it begins with parents and teachers.

When my wife was an elementary school principal, one way she enjoyed spending time with students was to join them in forming a “Kindness Club.”

Kids would make a list of different “random acts of kindness,” then formulate ways they could have fun carrying them out. And they did! They never seemed to run out of things to do with and for each other.

What about at home, the place we create new generations of compassionate adults?

Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education heads the Making Caring Common project, a program teaching kids how to be kind. The group just released a new study in which 80% of the youth studied said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others. The interviewees were three times more likely to agree that, “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.”

Weissbourd and his group provide recommendations and five strategies for raising children to become caring, respectful and responsible adults. I paraphrase here.

1. Make caring for others a priority.

Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority, and learn to balance their needs with the needs of others, honoring commitments made to others. Before quitting a team, band or friendship, parents can ask their children to consider their obligations to the group or friend and encourage them to work things out.

Make sure older children always address others respectfully, even when tired, distracted or angry.

2. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude.

Children need to practice caring for others and expressing gratitude for those who care for them and contribute to others’ lives. Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy. Learning to be caring is a practice and requires repetition to become second nature-- whether it’s helping a friend with homework, pitching in around the house, or having a classroom job.

Be careful not to reward every act of service or kindness your child performs, as it should be expected that these are just a part of life. Reward uncommon acts of kindness.

Make gratitude a daily ritual at dinnertime, bedtime or in the car. Express thanks for those who contribute to us and others in large and small ways.

3. Expand their circle of concern

The challenge is to help children learn to care about someone outside of their small circle of family and friends, such as the new kid in class, someone who does not speak their language, someone in a distant country.

Children need to learn to zoom in by listening closely and attending to those in their immediate circle, and to zoom out, by taking in the big picture and considering the many perspectives of the people they interact with daily, including those who are vulnerable. Especially in our more global world children need help in developing concern for people who live in very different cultures and communities than their own.

Use a newspaper or TV story to encourage your child to think about hardships faced by children in another country.

4. Be a strong role model

Children learn values by watching the actions of adults and through thinking through ethical dilemmas with adults, e.g., “Should I invite a new neighbor to my birthday party when my best friend doesn’t like her or him?

Being a role model for compassion and kindness means to practice honesty, fairness and caring ourselves. It does not mean being perfect, it means acknowledging mistakes and flaws that help earn a child’s respect and trust. And we need to respect children’s thinking and listen to their perspectives, demonstrating to them how we want them to engage others.

5. Guide children in managing destructive feelings.

Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy or other negative feelings.

We need to teach children that all feelings are OK, but some ways of dealing with them are not helpful. Children need our help learning to cope with these feelings in productive ways.

Here’s a simple way to teach your kids to calm down: Ask your child to stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Practice when your child is calm. Then, when you see her or him getting upset remind him or her about the steps and do them with your child. After awhile they will start to do it on their own and be in a better place to express feelings in a helpful way.

It occurs to me that there is not one thing recommended for teaching kids compassion that does not apply to me. It’s important for me to take stock from time to time with regard to where I am with all this and be grateful I have the safety and the time to think and write this today. Oh, and yes, I think I can spare a dime.

Small Change organization website:

Don Eaton’s song “I Am One Voice”

Making Caring Common website:

Feeding and Being Fed- A Three Minute Video

©2014, Randy Crutcher

Food, Passion, Father and Son

Some of my fondest memories today consist of the time I spent with my father working side by side. Actually, it was not all fun but it gave me a sense of closeness with him, a growing sense of personal mastery with the tasks we completed together and an understanding of what work was and what it meant to be a passionate “working man.”

Last night, on the eve of Father’s Day, I saw the movie “Chef” with Jon Favreau (Elf) playing Carl Casper, a head chef working in a successful restaurant in LA, friends with an ex-spouse but somewhat estranged from their ten year old son.

Carl loves to cook and commands the respect of all the staff who work with him but the owner won’t let him stray too far from the standard menu so his passions are constantly kept in check. Ever been in a situation like that yourself? Carl and a food critic get into a tussle that ends with Carl leaving his long tenure at the restaurant and suddenly finding himself totally broke and on his own.

Carl tries to be the father he feels he never was when living as a family but it takes awhile for his son, brilliantly played by Emjay Anthony to convince Carl that all he wants is to be with his father, learn from him and share in his passion for preparing food, really really good food. And there is something this ten year old already excels at that ends up being a big help in transforming his father’s life….social media.

I don’t want to spoil it for you because I want you to see the movie. It’s treatment of gender relations is surprisingly healthy with two women in Carl’s life only trying to help him live his real passion full out despite old baggage with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) and some sexual tension but mostly sweet friendship with the restaurant hostess played by Scarlet Johannson. Neither gives up any of themselves to help Carl believe in himself.

I loved the scenes of male bonding between Carl and his pal from the LA scene (line cook played by John Leguizamo) that more than fortifies the journey Carl and his son travel across country in a food truck and more deeply into each other’s hearts. Not billed as a Father’s Day special, it’s very special and says more about the struggle of many fathers today than most non-fiction I’ve run across. Plus, it has some absolutely gut-splitting moments.

One of the effects of the Great Recession has been dads out of work. One of the side effects has been more dads spending time with their kids, in some cases becoming the primary caregiver at home.

Just this past week the Pew Research Center released a report that 2.2 million U.S. dads stayed at home with their kids in 2010, slipping down to 2 million by 2012 as the jobless rate eased up.

Stay at home dads were defined as those not employed in the prior year and living with children 17 years old or younger.

The largest share of at-home dads, 35 percent, said they were home due to illness or disability. Roughly 23 percent said it was mainly because they couldn’t find a job, and 21 percent said it was specifically to care for home or family.

By contrast, 1.1 million men were at home dads in l989, the earliest year those kinds of data were available. The 21 percent in 2012 who cited caring for home and children as the reason for being out of the workforce was up from 5 percent in l989 to 18 percent in 2007, the start of the recession.

The study states that while unemployment is a factor overall, a convergence of gender roles has made it more acceptable for dads to be caregivers and mom to be responsible for breadwinning, though affluent highly educated dads at home raising children remain a subset.

Despite the phenomenon gaining greater acceptance other Pew research shows 51 percent of the public believes kids are better off when the mother stays at home compared to 8 percent that cited dads.

In the movie Chef, there is worry and concern by mom for the safety and welfare of her child on this road trip. But she also seems to know he is having the time of his life with dad and surrogate uncle.

As in my own experience at age 10 and for Caspar’s son, there are some rites of passage that require a men’s only time, space and place.

Enjoy the movie Chef, while celebrating and supporting more closeness and nurturing between father and son wherever and whenever it can be found.

©2014, Randy Crutcher

Maybe baby-It's time to talk about population

As a mid-stream baby boomer I’ve watched the world add between 4 and 5 billion more people to its surface since my birth.

Along with awakening to the cumulative impact we have on air, water, soil, forests, oceans, climate and all living things and systems, some also recognize that the more people you have in one place, the more conflict there is over resources of all kinds. Increasing human numbers make conflict inevitable. How conflicts are resolved are not. We’ve chosen both peaceful and violent means….and we still do on a daily basis. The fact remains, more of us are not making things any easier.

Twenty years ago the Dalai Lama said this:

“The population problem is a serious reality. In India, some people were reluctant to accept birth control because of religious traditions. So I thought, from the Buddhist viewpoint, there is a possibility of flexibility on this problem. I thought it might be good to speak out and eventually create more open space for leaders in other religious traditions to discuss the issue.”

How much speaking out is there these days? It’s been 50 years since scientist Paul Ehrlich got us to recognize that the “population bomb” is ticking. I find that the discussions about this underlying cause of so much planetary stress are rarely a table topic these days. Have people just become jaded and given up in the face of what seems inevitable, the net addition (after subtracting deaths) of 34 million more people just since the beginning of this year? It does seem daunting. And it could be worse.

Full disclosure is that I was once a Director of Education for a Planned Parenthood affiliate. The non-profit is one of the largest and most effective voluntary family planning education and service delivery organizations in history. It and other efforts have helped people for many decades to decide when to have children and how many, rather than rely on roulette as the primary way of bringing healthy children into the world. And it is one of the ways that people with lower income have gained access to primary health care, in some cases saving lives. In effect, our population would be far greater (and sicker) at this point without policies and funding that provide people choices. And where these services are available, there is less human suffering and more prosperity.

When I was hired at Planned Parenthood, it was in large part due to the fact that I had established a center for men that provided information and education about reproductive health and responsibility. It was understood that until we more fully address the needs and psychology of men in the realm of reproductive choices, responsibility would continue to largely fall on women's shoulders. Now, a new test for fertility is coming to market that will help men immediately discover whether they are fertile or not. I am curious if this will lead to greater awareness on the part of men, not just those desperate to have their own biological offspring, but an overall recognition of the role men play in bringing more of us into an overpopulated world, one decision, one person, one couple, one family at a time.

Back to the Dalai Llama talking about religious beliefs in India 20 years ago, (a country now straining under an incredible 1.2 billion humans), it still remains that belief systems control behavior. Whether it’s religious conviction, nationalism, a sense of ethnic preservation or other social ideology justifying why we should continue to “be fruitful and multiply,” at root is usually an entitled sense of male dominance and control at worst, male pride at best that too often spirals our numbers beyond carrying capacity all over the world. That, and the notion that technology solves all problems and will solve this one by finding more Earths to populate. It hasn’t and it won’t.

It’s time again to talk about how to keep our numbers in check instead of relying on war, famine, disease and now climate change to do the job. We need to consider those people who have been at this effort for a long time and give them our support in the form of time or money or both.

One of those efforts I have supported over the years is the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. All over the world it has delivered services where least available and difficult to access. A few dollars go a long way.

And what about making population a table or bedroom topic again? Very intelligent and educated people need to consider right now their decisions about how many children they have in the larger context the Dalai Lama and other leaders have spoken about. And those less educated need access to information and services as part of a comprehensive health and wellness approach. We need to see this topic reintroduced in the mass media and consistently framed as a fundamental problem that can be addressed in a humane way that elevates human freedoms and liberty instead of being perceived as taking them away.

©2014, Randy Crutcher

The New Autism for Boys- Where are the real deficits?

For some time now in our culture, the words “attention deficit” have been liberally applied to children and most predominantly with boys.

The pharmaceutical industry receives billions in profits from child prescriptions that help “manage,” these deficits and disorders. With that “management”, the incidence seems to still be on the rise.

And now we have an astonishing new study and report that says autism in children and particularly for boys has seen a dramatic rise.

Here’s the latest news from the US government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention

In the U.S. about 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 8 year olds) were identified with what is now called ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in 2013 based on data collected on 8-year-old children living in 11 communities. This new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88), roughly 60% higher than the estimate for 2006 (1 in 110), and roughly 120% higher than the estimates for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150).

Boys were almost 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. About 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls were identified with ASD.

The Center for Disease Control does not know what is causing this increase. They say that some of it may be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served in their local communities, but exactly how much is unknown.

About 80% of children identified with ASD either received special education services for autism at school or had an ASD diagnosis from a clinician. This means that the remaining 20% of children identified with ASD had symptoms of ASD documented in their records, but had not yet been classified as having ASD by a community professional in a school or clinic.

In a recent AP article, investigators have said that autism is now used as a diagnosis for a broader array of learning disorders and conditions than it used to be. And that could be a factor in explaining why autism is exploding along with claims we are getting “better” at diagnosing. As with “attention deficit disorder” or “attention deficit hyperactive disorder,” it seems to me that we may run some risks when we create what some physicians have called “garbage can” diagnoses, or the gathering up of a wider and wider pool of symptom descriptions, trying to fit them into one category, then coming up with a one size fits all treatment model based on the new disease category rather than a full examination of an individual boy’s life.

I’d like to take a look at some of the health and social deficits that are affecting boys, that could be at the root of what at least some if not all of the boys behind the new statistics are actually experiencing.

The Nutrition and Exercise Deficit

Obesity is beginning to drop in all populations with the exception of young boys. Faux food (aka junk food) still on school cafeteria menus and predominant in lower income families with less access to whole healthy foods is a known factor in creating the obesity epidemic. Obesity puts many of the body’s systems on overload and creates systemic inflammation that can affect brain function in the young as well as old. Nutritionally empty calories are more dangerous than formerly thought as they can affect brain chemistry leading to social and behavioral problems.

There is a race to create uniform academic standards everywhere but no physical education standards based on the latest research in exercise physiology that I am aware of, at least not one that has gained national recognition and support.

Nature Deficit

This generation of modern industrial world boys spends the least amount of time outdoors than any other known in history. More is now known about some of the health consequences of Vitamin D3 deficits caused by limited exposure to natural sunlight. We know that kids that play outdoors regularly get more exercise. We also know that regular contact with the outdoors and nature has a powerful affect on our brain chemistry and can boost the immune system.

Father Deficit

Dr. Gregory Ramey, Executive Director of Dayton’s Children’s Pediatric Center for Mental Health Resources tells us that 47 percent of kids report that moms are their most influential relationships, compared to only 20% for dads. This may be due in part to the fact that 75% of single parent homes are headed by moms, so these kids just don’t have much access to dads. Even in two-parent families, children have little routine contact with their fathers. Despite a dramatic change in the last 50 years, moms still spend twice as much time caring for kids than dads. Dads are still somewhat of a mystery for sons and daughters. And kids feel they get in more trouble with dads cast in the disciplinarian role. Even when dads are around, many kids don’t feel connected to them as they don’t seem emotionally available. Children complain about their fathers watching TV, using smart phones or sleeping after a long day at work.

Classroom Deficit

Crowded classrooms still based on the old factory model of education with a lot of seat time and less individualized attention may be at the root of much of what has been diagnosed as “attention deficit” in individual boys. Boys are routinely disciplined more than girls with more attention focused on “bad behavior” and punishment than the fostering of pro-social behaviors. The developmental needs of boys are still poorly understood and addressed in the classroom and on the playground.

So, what can be done to eliminate these deficits and bring our boys back from the brink of these diagnoses, both real and socially constructed?

There is more awareness than ever before about the obesity epidemic with better food available in some chain grocery stores that make available whole healthy real food. Both families and schools are waking up to the vital role nutrition plays in physical and mental health as information is readily available in print and virtually.

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD has clinical experience with eliminating some conditions labeled as autism with non-pharmaceutical as well as non-behavioral management approaches. A pioneer in functional medicine, he and a growing number of physicians are looking to address multiple health and social factors in treating the individual rather than a symptom complex or diagnosis.

Schools with smaller classrooms, state of the art classroom management techniques and refined special education programs that understand and address the whole student stand a better chance of success. Supporting teachers to balance the need for meeting academic standards with the need to address each student on the basis of their passions, interests, cognitive, affective and behavioral skills acquisition is key.

Nationally and internationally implemented programs such as Healthy Play As A Solution and The Passion-Based classroom derived from The Passion Test for Kids and Teens program can help create nurturing and nourishing learning environments that create more safety, joy, student and teacher satisfaction and achievement.

Providing more school counselors and integrated programs that provide students with close case management by teams composed of educators, classified staff and parents could make a real difference and do where put into practice.

Fathers can provide more emotional support when they are not automatically cast as the bad guys. Consequences for kids can be discussed and implemented by both parents. Dads can turn off their electronic devices and go outside to play with their kids as well as reacquaint themselves and their kids with nature, whether it’s the park down the street or further afield. They can ask more questions and get to know their kids while letting their kids get to know them.

Perhaps the word “spectrum” in the newer term Autism Spectrum Disorder can be even more useful in that each individual child or boy needs to be viewed as somewhere on a spectrum, not of disease, but where he can and is moving toward greater health and function through our more careful examination and engagement with a full spectrum of deficits our society has created that undermines the health and well being of our boys. When we take all deficits into account and correct them, our society will be on the road to bringing up healthier boys who can become healthier, more positively engaged and responsible young men.

Links to references:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

"Don't be a Distant Dad" Dr. Gregory Ramey, Dayton Children’s Pediatric Center for Mental Health Resources

Mark Hyman, MD (Case studies in his book The UltraMind Solution)

©2014, Randy Crutcher

New Focus on Boys of Color

When I was eight years old my parents packed me up and sent me off to YMCA camp in the Angeles National Forest straight out of our south Los Angeles suburban neighborhood. I didn’t know what hit me, but I realized I was about to get hit!

Another kid and I composed a white minority in a cabin filled with boys much darker-skinned than us. A sensitive kid, I was immediately assaulted by the anger, the frustration and the violence of boys I had never met and never been around. It was like being dropped into an alien world on another planet and I was terrified. I can’t now imagine my well meaning parents had knowingly sent me there. In fact, they must have been pretty clueless. That or they had overestimated my ability to survive on other planets!

Now, the tale Lord of the Flies comes to mind. Then, I had no experience with that level of aggression or racism or much in the way of what life was really like even a couple miles from my safe little post-WWII home and neighborhood. Terms like “inner city youth,” had no meaning for me let alone complex concepts like racial prejudice, historic discrimination or institutional racism.

The dawning in my awareness of a divided world, however, did happen before that nightmare camp experience. I remember my parents and immigrant grandparents traveling with me in a car through a part of town to reach a particular delicatessen to purchase their favorite sausage. Even on a warm day, the windows were rolled up….before most cars had air conditioning. I remember accompanying my dad who was taking our old Plymouth to a white mechanic in a “negro” neighborhood.

Luckily I did survive the calling out and threats of the boys in my cabin without getting pummeled. Others may not have been as lucky. Though I have no memory of it, there must have been a camp counselor somewhere on the premises. Actually, I have an old black and white photo to prove it, though I have no actual memory of adults present.

Not long after that Y camp, my family moved away to the high desert, returning for visits to my grandparents and on one occasion to a city in flames. Watts, the city just to the east of our old neighborhood had become one of the flashpoints for the extreme dissatisfaction of an historically oppressed people whose boats did not seem to be rising quite the same as others in the great middle class American Dream, to say the least.

Though I will never walk in the shoes of those boys I encountered at camp, I’m grateful that I have come to learn much more about why they seemed to live on the defensive, looking for the next conflict or way to show who was boss. It can be said that Lord of the Flies dynamic exists to some extent wherever boys of any color or background congregate with little supervision. Now I know some other factors were in the mix for these African American boys from the inner city, conditions no boy or anyone should have to face in the already tough job of growing up in modern America.

As reported in the Associated Press by Jesse J. Holland, last month President Barack Obama, a man of many colors himself launched what is called, “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to urge stronger efforts in creating more opportunities for young men of color and to improve conditions that keep them impoverished and imprisoned in disproportionate numbers.

“By almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color,” as the President ticked off statistics on fatherhood, literacy, crime and poverty.

“We assume this is an inevitable part of American life instead of the outrage that it is, “ he said from the White House East Room while surrounded by teenagers involved in the “Becoming A Man” program to help at-risk boys in his hometown of Chicago. He said he sees himself in them.

Under this initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups would coordinate their investments to come up with, or support, programs that keep youths in school and out of the criminal justice system, while improving their access to higher education. Several foundations pledged at least $200 million over five years to promote that goal. A government-wide task force will be evaluating the effectiveness of various approaches so that federal and local governments, community groups and businesses will have best practices to follow in the future.

An online “What Works” portal will provide public access to data about programs that improve outcomes for young minority men. This is an initiative that both the President and first lady Michelle Obama plan to commit to for the rest of their lives.

That certainly makes sense to me, though I believe it should be made clear that race and class, though inextricably intertwined, are also separate issues to be addressed. Many of the same problems the President cites for black youth, also beset boys of all colors in lower socio-economic groups. Not mentioned in the AP piece is that there is a whole middle class of color that has arisen since the l960’s Civil Rights days and it should be made clear that color and poverty do not always go together. We don’t want to keep upholding stereotypes that divide us.

With regard to the unique challenges African American boys and men have faced for so long, we know they won’t go away overnight no matter how much money is amassed to address the economic gaps. What I see in this recent initiative that may be different is that perhaps an even greater transformation is truly getting underway as more people see beyond the boundaries of their more comfortable and privileged lives, then reach across those to join in these new efforts to help boys and men most in need. It’s a start.

For discrimination, both personal and institutional, to become an artifact of history in this century it will take everyone moving beyond Black History as a month to celebrate accomplishments of those who’ve gone unrecognized and on to building a future that includes and empowers the energy, skills and talents of all those young lives emerging today. We really can't afford not to.

And that’s the kind of planet I want to live on.

©2014, Randy Crutcher

What's the Difference? Overcoming the legacy of racism

Driving my car slowly out of the U.S. Army National Guard base, I immediately spotted a group of young men in white t-shirts, long pants and black boots walking my way.

I clenched and took a closer look at these darker-skinned-than-me young guys bobbing along in a throng.

Then they spotted me and suddenly I heard my name ring out, “Randy!”

What? Oh my god. These were my guys, the ones I had just spent the greater part of a day with in my role as leadership and communication trainer for the statewide training center of the California Conservation Corps. I cared about them. They were not a gang, they were not inmates. They were youth taking extraordinary steps to make their lives better and make a positive difference in the world. And they’d taken off their uniform shirts to relax between training sessions in the sunshine and fresh air.

I was absolutely stunned I had mistaken them for a threat. Gut punched with the realization—again—at my deep conditioning and fear of “the other,” despite serious efforts over the years to look at that and see how it had needlessly and harmfully separated me from other human beings.

Black history is celebrated this month in the US, as is Valentine’s Day. Other countries honor people of different heritages in their own ways. Perhaps the celebration of these two things, one of a people’s struggle to overcome tremendous obstacles and their huge contribution to building the society we live in today and the focus on love this month are no mistake.

In addition to finally recognizing and honoring many more of the heroes in that struggle—I recently viewed the movie 12 Years a Slave and was amazed at both the atrocities and also the power of the human spirit to persevere— perhaps we can look more personally at today’s struggle to overcome and transform the barriers that have hurt and divided us from one another.

While reading a new book by National Public Radio’s Michelle Norris, The Grace of Silence, her most sincere effort to better understand the father who took care of her and his role and treatment during the entry of black soldiers into World War II service—a lesser known piece of the civil rights movement—I also learned about a project she had been involved with that encouraged people to talk about race.

In gearing up for her book tour she had printed 200 postcards asking people to express their thoughts on race in six words.

She found the results to be both “surprising and enlightening.”

The first cards she got were from friends and acquaintances. But after awhile ‘race cards’ came in from strangers, even people from other continents who’d never heard her speak. And the race cards keep coming. She and an assistant catalogued more than 12,000 submissions on People now send them via Facebook and Twitter or type them directly into the website.

A few of the submissions include:

“You know my race. NOT ME!”

“Chinese or American? Does it matter.”?

“I thought I knew a lot about race,” Norris said, “I realized how little I know through this project.”

I share this to highlight how much so many crave to express what may have been locked up inside a long time, perhaps a lifetime. There is an ongoing need for dialogue, safe and respectful, that can help tear down the walls we may not have created in the first place but largely subconsciously help hold in place.

Dialogue seems to be a starting place and Norris had already begun that work with an earlier project that got people together in person across differences to start the conversations.

Coming closer to home, who are your friends? Do you tend to surround yourself with people that look, think and share the same cultural history as you?

I honestly find that inertia takes me in that direction unless I purposely live in other cultures or go be with people not likely to show up--why would they?-- at events and places that are more homogenized with people that look and generally experience life as I do. That could mean getting out of one’s comfort zone. When I have, the rewards have been great. I feel more of my own humanity when I learn about the history, experience and cultural delights of someone different than me. And that is where the ogre of negative stereotype can begin to break down and dissolve-- in the midst of budding friendship.

One of the more prominent psychologists of the mid-20th century, Gordon Allport, wrote a book entitled, The Psychology of Prejudice which became one of the books in a college class I taught by the same name. Many of my end-of-the-century students balked at his dated language while I found it to be some of the deepest thinking and practical knowledge about how to overcome the barriers of racism and fear of “the other.”

Allport lists one of the critical factors for moving beyond the artificially created boundaries placed between and implanted in individuals of the same species, as working together for a common cause. When a group of diverse individuals comes together to rise to adversity or meet a significant challenge, perceptions of difference begin to fade. That’s what can and did happen in my beloved and diverse corps of youth working to preserve the environment we all depend on. What becomes important is how “we are all in this together.”

And of course, now we ALL are. With ever increasing climate instability, loss of species and ecological complexity and its negative effects on people’s lives and livelihoods, we certainly have a common cause that can potentially help people rise to a new level of acceptance and tolerance at minimum, real solidarity, harmony, and yes, love at best. We don’t need to be attacked by aliens from outer space to bring us together now. We’ve challenge and opportunity enough.

So, dialogue, friendship and common cause turn out to be necessary ingredients to moving away from old divisions and hostility in the direction of completely owning everyone’s history of survival and triumph as part of our own. And love, don’t forget the Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

©2014, Randy Crutcher

To Your Health in 2014! Ultra Body to Ultra Mind

My first job as a professional educator in the l980’s was working at a primary care health clinic under a state grant to educate men about reproductive health, diseases and related issues that affected the overall quality of our lives. In my reading and research at the time, one of the most shocking discoveries for me was that sperm production in men had precipitously dropped in three generations and was a significant contributor to the rise in infertility for couples.

Also at that time, something known as PCB, a chemical compound found in electrical transformers, was thought to be one agent in the disruption of hormone production. The connection gained enough publicity to make utility companies change policy and transformers.

By the early 2000’s, 80,000 new chemicals non-existent for most of our history had flooded our air, land and water, most of these untested for their effects on our and other organisms’ physiology and function. In other words, the last half-century or more has been a relative crap shoot in terms of knowing whether the impact our “better living through chemistry” world will ultimately lead to better living or living at all.

We know so much more now. Even articles by authors in the mainstream Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) allow that toxins in our environment are significant contributors to many debilitating and degenerative diseases that were rare or non-existent for humans before the industrial revolution.

Still relatively unknown due in no small part to controlling interests and profit-making schemes by trillion dollar enterprises, is the field of Functional Medicine based on systems biology. Or in other words, what we’ve been talking about out there, “in the environment,” is also “in here” inside our hundred trillion cells, a vast collaborative ecology that makes us tick…..and talk. An ecology that dramatically varies from individual to individual and is inextricable from the ecology “out there.”

Elsewhere in this blog, I’ve spoken about my own struggles with heavy metal overload and the cascading effects these toxins can produce throughout the body and brain as well as the whole body inflammation caused by belly fat on men. I’ve also taken a close look at what crosses my lips (what I eat) and at the new science of exercise physiology, experiencing first hand its impact on my energy, attitude and ability to get the most out of life.

I’ve recently found something that takes me even further on the path toward wholeness.

In his New York Times best-selling book, The Ultra Mind Solution, former ER doctor Mark Hyman has provided one of the most comprehensive and accessible to the lay reader views of what constitutes real “health,” (from the Old English word “hal,” root of our modern word, “whole.”)

Hyman has been a groundbreaking pioneer in the field and one who advocates simple principles; many still missed by medical schools and minimized by the food and drug giants flooding our world with little tested substances.

Beginning with “taking out the bad stuff” that causes disease and “adding the good stuff” that not only prevents disease but moves an individual along their own course toward “ultra health,” Dr. Hyman structures his book by examining Seven Keys to Ultrahealth, providing quizzes for each key that you can take to see where you line up, then providing the information needed to strengthen your weaknesses, avoiding and sometimes even reversing long term degeneration and acute conditions. For those already suffering with any number of named conditions, from autism, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression and sleep problems to heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and food allergies, so much of what some consider inevitable-- including much of what we call “aging”—can be completely altered or modified.

Hyman says that functional medicine realizes that there may be dozens of causes of depression, autism, dementia or ADHD. Finding the right cause and treatment for each individual requires a radical shift from making a diagnosis based on symptoms, then matching a drug to that diagnosis. It requires moving from the theory that the body functions as a whole with interlinking systems that overlap to practices that actually address those systems and imbalances. His 25-year practice showcases what might seem to be “miracle cures,” for many patients with a variety of conditions though these recoveries are based on applying what is already known from research and systematic practice.

Here’s a summary of the seven keys excerpted from the 400-page book. (Pgs. 36-37)

Key #1- Optimize Nutrition

We are made of the stuff we eat. Our biology, biochemistry and physiology need certain raw materials to run optimally—the right balance and quality of protein, fats, carbohydrates, the right vitamins and minerals in the correct dose for each of us and all the colorful pigments in plant foods, called phytonutrients, that support our well-being and function. Nearly all of us are nutritionally imbalanced in one way or another.

Key #2- Balance Your Hormones

Our hormones, including insulin, thyroid, sex hormones, stress hormones, and many more, are a symphony of molecules. They have to work in harmony for you to be healthy.

Key #3- Cool Off Inflammation

We must protect and defend ourselves from foreign invaders or abnormal cells inside our own body. When this is over- or underactive, illness occurs. Inflammation of the brain is a central theme for almost all psychiatric and neurologic conditions, as well as most chronic diseases.

Key #4- Fix Your Digestion

Digesting, absorbing and assimilating all the food and nutrients we eat are critical for health. Our digestive systems must also protect us from internal toxins, bugs and potential allergens, as well as eliminate wastes. Breakdown anywhere in this process creates illness.

Key #5- Enhance Detoxification

Our bodies must eliminate all of our metabolic wastes and toxins, which we take in from the environment through our food, air, water, and medications. The toxic burden in the 21st century is overwhelming and often our bodies can’t keep up. This leads to illness.

Key #6- Boost Energy Metabolism

Life is energy. Once no more energy is produced in your cells, you die. The process of extracting energy from food you eat and the oxygen you breathe is the most essential process of life. Keeping that metabolic engine running smoothly and protecting it from harm are essential for health. Loss of energy is found in almost all brain disorders along with other conditions.

Key #7- Calm Your Mind

A life of meaning and purpose, a life in balance with connection, community, love, support, and a sense of empowerment, are essential for health. The overwhelming stresses of the 21st century, including social isolation, overwork, and disempowerment, create enormous strain on our nervous system, leading to burn out and breakdown.

Of course I was delighted to see the inclusion of the Seventh Key (along with a host of processes and practices) as so much of what is written in this blog focuses on how to build individuals and community founded on passion and purpose. Indeed, without life meaning, the immune system can and does degrade.

Perhaps what we can consider going into this “auspicious” 2014 is nothing less than building an “immuno-supportive community for ourselves and the world. Won’t you join me?

Find The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman, MD at Amazon

Mark Hyman, MD’s website:

Along with the book comes a downloadable guide with recipes, shopping lists, helpful trackers, handy checklists, testing guide and supplement guide.

©2013, Randy Crutcher

2013, Ominous or Auspicious?

As the sun sets on the paradoxically ominous AND auspicious year of 2013, I want to reflect on what it meant for me and other men seeking greater wholeness and connection to their essential goodness.

To run with the paradox theme for a moment, we know that millions of boys and young men all over the planet have been brutalized within families, tribes, sects and societies fragmented by ancient divisions and a contemporary world economic system that deeply divides those who have from those that don’t.

Recently viewing the movie Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks, I noted the poignancy of the film beginning with a marital conversation fraught with anxiety about the prospects for well cared for and educated young men in US society followed by an adrenalized depiction of the plight of young Somali men largely left to their own devices. These men are engaged in a desperate high risk endeavor to pirate cargo ships sailing close enough to their native coastline to be apprehended by ramshackle and barely serviceable boats in hopes of turning their otherwise sealed fates into a better fortune. Another fate for young men on that same continent and in other parts of the world is to be drafted into militias and armies to be used as cannon fodder for disputes and wars or to become low to no wage slaves, or pressed into gangs of all kinds as the only means for self-protection and survival.

As the essential nature of boys and men is goodness--just look into the eyes of a newborn boy and tell me it's not true-- what’s this all about? Why such distortions and dislocations? Who is calling the shots? And why do the shots keeping ringing out?

Here’s where culture, economics, climate instability and demography meet at a volatile crossroads wherein all are affected now or will be. Since my days as a professional population and international development educator in the l980's many trends have continued and become amplified---much as forecast.

We have, on average, nine billion human beings striving to have a human life worth living. We’ve used up a lot of the energy and resources immediately available on this one earth. Though our ingenuity and cleverness has created new ways to exploit what is left, our growing numbers and the inevitable conflict that arises when your own family keeps adding more members means we either share, get along, and adapt to global climate instability and the unforeseen consequences of our industry or we continue to devour and defile our home, facing a very big population crash. In this scenario boys and men will continue to be used as instruments of death.

Some would say it’s the 1% that is at fault and greed will be our undoing. Yes and no. If we do the real math, most of us reading this are in the 1%, living relatively comfortably and viewing an LED screen. If we probe behind the relatively meaningless concept of greed, we find a widespread mindset that is largely held in place by fear. We fear that “before the grace of God go I,” and somewhere in our minds may lie the idea that we are thankful we are not in the ranks of the truly wretched as amply depicted in Captain Phillips or so graphically in many an issue of National Geographic. We all find ourselves to one degree or another in a paradigm of separation, disconnection—despite a billion cell phones—and scarcity. Both rich and poor now share an insecurity about the future.

Okay, is that ominous enough for you? Are you still with me?

So, what was auspicious about 2013?

In a recent read of a new page-turner action novel by Michael Fitzerald entitled The Fracking War about the global/local politics and personalities infusing the new natural gas boom-bust land grab in the US, the author's narrative also looks at the crossroads I mentioned above. Finally though, we must shift our attention to what Fitzgerald calls, “hope and solutions,” in order to turn the ominous into the auspicious, a rather optimistic word in light of all that is going on in our larger world. (Link to The Fracking War)

So many have already called attention to the fact that we can’t proceed at Warp Factor 10 in the same direction we’ve been on since the dawn of the industrial revolution. As green businessman, author and sage Paul Hawken has researched and opined, there is now a world-wide movement that still has no one name. It's a movement less known for its organization than its factionalism, yet includes everyone that considers themselves an environmentalist, a social justice advocate, a social business entrepreneur, consumers and CEO’s of some larger corporations. It’s comprised of thousands and thousands of scientists, medical and health experts, farmers, and policy makers who have banded together to rise to the challenges of rapid change, most of which we’ve brought on through overpopulation, reckless and polluting production models and divisive competitive strategies.

Within this movement is a branch dedicated to helping boys and men discover their true passion and real purpose and to cooperatively work together for a different paradigm and world that works for everyone and everything, a world of renewable abundance in place of limited control and manipulation of scarcity.

If Joseph Campbell, the great compiler of universal hero journey mythology were alive today, I believe he'd champion the next step in our evolution as a journey of a hundred million heroes, a gender neutral term, but one with enormous import for men reclaiming their lives in light of our current global economic systems and servitude to institutions that no longer serve the long term survival interests of our species. We have to offer people alternatives to mass unemployment or working at jobs that kill them while destroying our environment. The global movement with no name has already proven those alternatives exist and NOW!

From the baby pen to the playground, the bedroom and board room, we have to begin to treat our boys and men as full human beings with a wide range of emotions and emotional needs, removing the fetters that create isolation, pent up emotion and aggression, self-abuse, addiction and abuse of others. From the growing global family of facilitators using The Passion Test, the Mankind Project and Boys to Men organizations I’ve written about in this blog to a whole new generation of parents waking up to the ill effects of training boys to be tough and competitive, instead of assertive and collaborative, hope and solutions do exist. I am very excited about the opportunities and possibilities before us, our age-old resilience in the face of adversity and that greatest of all journeys, the one from the human head to the human heart, en masse.

©2013, Randy Crutcher

So What's a Man to "Do?"

One of my esteemed readers of this blog for men and boys, Ron Pevny, Director of the Center for Conscious Eldering, shared a comment on the last post entitled Man-cession, the post before this one which attempted to provide a bigger picture within which a range of choices for men and the work they do for a living seemingly exist. Ron said

"You well state that the first step is for people to be clear on what they truly desire and the kind of life they want. However, for so many that clarity is far from being enough, and without any sense of how to translate passion into reality, it can be a dead end and a real source of demoralization."

Righto Ron! From clarity to couch potato only gets the remote buttons worn smooth. Clarity of itself is no magic formula for everything changing overnight, though frankly, I have seen that happen. What often goes unseen is the process that occurred in gaining and sustaining clarity and then what took place as a result.

I'd like to take a closer look at what happens or can happen with an individual man regardless of unemployment figures and always shifting economic times. For ultimately, I believe, it is not the conditions that dictate what a man does and gets out of life but his response to conditions. And further, I would hold that the state of a man's life is more a reflection of life long habits of thought and attitude than the winds of fate. Unfortunately, a lot of those thinking patterns are often under the radar of our moment by moment awareness. They literally run our life on auto pilot--if we let them.

First of all, I don't have any global statistics on how many men or people in general actually take the first action step of getting complete clarity about what they most want out of life and what it would look like once they've manifested or achieved it. Many men I've worked with are often frustrated or demoralized by having more clarity about what they don't want than what they do. That frustration might in part be reflected in the Gallup Poll cited in the previous post, wherein 7 out of 10 people are not doing what they love or has meaning for them.

Some men are too afraid of what they may learn about their unmet needs and desires to even take the Passion Test because of conscious or unconscious doubts about these needs and desires ever being met or fulfilled. I think that chronic negative or limiting thoughts about what is possible, what we deserve or are worthy or capable of produce the fear that can contribute to demoralization and a dead end. Many men have already given themselves over to these habitual and I would even call "parasitic" thoughts. These guys are, in Thoreau's famous words, "leading lives of quiet desperation." Most of us have been there at one time or another.

So, I just want to honor the men who have so far stepped through enough of that blanket of fear and fog and found ways to gain clarity. It's a huge and courageous action step in itself and few actually take the time to go inside themselves, listen to their higher selves or that still small voice to find their calling or deeper sense of purpose which automatically follows when you find and follow your passions.

What happens after I take a man through the Passion Test process that gives him deep insight into the top five things he most wants in his life?

We look at how the things he says would be ideal for him are showing up now to get a baseline to work from and we create what we call "passion markers." Not necessarily goals but rather milestones of where he "would have" already had to travel to have arrived at living his passions at a 10 on a scale of 0-10.

Quick example. Say one of your passions is to become one of the world's greatest musical performers. What would have needed to happen to convince you that you are? Well, would playing Carnegie Hall be a convincing marker? Most would say, "You bet!" Becoming a known expert in anything would necessitate some concrete things to have happened along the way. What were they? Write them down. Did I say write them down? Write them down. This part of the process literally begins to rewire one's brain into a more willing mindset conducive to taking advantage of opportunities when they do arise as well as actively creating them, beginning at whatever the beginning is for that person.

Next step? Pick up an instrument that excites and inspires you or whatever material thing may be needed to begin constructing a new part of life. Then hire a good teacher or coach to help you get clarity and hold you accountable for taking incremental action. Create an action plan fully founded on your top passions and carry it out. Monitor your self-sabotaging thoughts that often arise when you stretch yourself into a new relationship, career, project or pursuit. Realize that those thoughts are not the ones that will move you forward. They will deny and deflate your dreams and ultimately create a dead end where you may have begun to make real progress. And from my own experience I can tell you, these "devil" thoughts seem to often speak loudest when you are getting closest to fulfilling a big dream.

If I am working with a man who immediately voices objections to realizing his dreams or old story about how so and so or this and that are keeping him from his ideal life, we stop right there before going any further in the clarity into action process. I ask if that thought about what is possible is true and then use another powerful process to follow that thought right down into it's rabbit hole, flush it out and prove it's just an old story from the past and no predictor of the future.

One of the major pitfalls for men and everyone when it comes to turning dreams into concrete reality is getting caught up in the HOW. Before one gets clear about the WHAT they want, they are already asking the question, How will I do this? How is that going happen? How can I make it happen? In my experience, that question usually becomes a non-starter and dead end as it too often comes from fear and contraction.

For one, when I get clear about what I want, I don't often initially know how it's going to happen. It's like asking for some kind of guarantee before you take the first step. There simply is no insurance for that. And further, God only knows how it will all come to pass. Much of the good stuff that comes into my life seems like a miracle that I could not possibly have orchestrated all on my own. So, I have fully resigned as General Manager of the Universe. Anyway, even if that kind of control were possible, I'd find it very burdensome and demoralizing.

As most of us know, getting from clarity to manifestation is often a windy road with speed bumps. Once you get rid of old baggage thoughts and get a handle on your fears channeling that e-motional energy into the creative mold (passion markers) you've formed in your mind as a result of gaining clarity, your very life energy has a productive place it naturally wants to go. And gradually you begin to discover how to use and repeat the process to more consciously create what you want in life again and again and again, from the inside out.

Randy Crutcher delivers his Man-to-Man coaching sessions to men all over the world ready to step into their greatness and get one hell of a kick out of life by creating their own heaven on earth. Call for a free 15 minute consultation to see if you're ready for clarity and beyond. 209 923-0502

©2013, Randy Crutcher

What Is A Man-cession?

What do you do for a living? What do you do for a life?

Two separate questions? Maybe.

Let’s take the first one first. And the larger view for a moment.

Economists in the United States are claiming that the US is recovering from what is now being called The Great Recession. If slightly hopeful, what labor and employment statistics chronically leave out for –ahem, political reasons? —is that the people who have given up looking for employment, and they are many, are simply dropped from the statistics. That means the following numbers should but don’t take the full picture of employment realities into consideration. In other words the real unemployment percentages are higher. Traveling in the UK and Australia in the last few years, I know some of what I will share here applies in other modern economies though numbers vary.

Women are said to have regained all the jobs they lost a few years ago but men are still 2.1 million jobs short in this third quarter of 2013. That roughly translates to 6.8% unemployment for women and 7.7% for men.

Economists have long known that the recession (officially declared over way back in June 2009), hit men the hardest and some have dubbed that a “man-cession,” occurring alongside a “she-covery.”

Why the gender gap?

There is a good deal of segregation in the job market with women and men working in different industries and even in different areas of the same industry.

Lower wage industries, like retail, education, restaurants and hotels have been hiring the fastest with women predominating in those areas. Construction and manufacturing, sectors dominated by men, have yet to recover. With increasing automation and erosion of unions, some of those better paying jobs will never be recovered.

In health services and education where job growth has been greatest there are some good-paying jobs such as nurses and physical therapists, however, most are low paid jobs such as home health care aid. Of the 1.6 million jobs created in the U.S. since 2009, women hold 1.1 million of them.

Even with this kind of job growth there is still a steady drop in overall family income. And much has been said but little done to address the runaway income gap between high paid executives and those lower down the food chain, just one piece of the growing inequity undermining the middle class created after WWII by the now rapidly departing “Greatest Generation.”

Anecdotally, I’ve heard the words "downsizing" and "right sizing" and "lay off" and now "furlough" more times than I can count. I wonder if the statistician job sector has grown fast enough to keep track?

This year’s Gallup Poll study told us that 7 out 10 people are not happy or passionately engaged with the work they do.

In my field of life coaching and organizational consulting, I hear the stories behind the statistics. Those who are in transition have become the norm and those still on board with shrinking companies, government agencies and non-profits—all three sectors—are being asked to do more with less.

What to do? Probably lots of things, all requiring that sticky wicket called “political will.”

Let’s assume for a moment that the American people decided that these are unacceptable ways to live in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. There would probably be some agreement about reducing CEO salaries, creating a taxation system that restored what created the middle class in the first place, providing even more incentives for entrepreneurs and small business, which employs the majority of people.

One thing I’ve not heard much about lately is the unoriginal concept of the four-day workweek, though government furloughs are creating zero day weeks at the moment. A four-day workweek and job-sharing that would bring more people into or back into the workforce. With a fairer distribution of compensation pegged to the real cost of living, could we get the work done by more people but fewer hours per person? In other words, fulfill the old promise of more leisure, more civic involvement and more family time for both men and women; what I consider the real hallmark of a modern affluent society.

Now we are entering the realm of the second question: What do you do for a life?

Twenty years ago I was editing a book about what working parents wanted most out of their work life. Right after fair compensation it was flextime. In other words, people wanted to have more control over their work life, so that other pursuits and passions could be experienced and balance out their picture of the good life. Things like being engaged parents, more active in their kids’ schools, neighborhoods, communities, civic organizations or personal projects-- and not having to wait until retirement to have that whole life.

I’ve found this desire for a more balanced life to be widespread when I take individuals through the Passion Test to arrive at their top five passions or what is most important to them. Some men are passionate about providing for their families, but not at the expense of having less time to spend with their partners and children. Traditionally, many men have equated success with big salaries. That’s changed. Women want and need more time for themselves as they are taking care of everyone else, on top of being employed, (and often underpaid).

As men and women, from young adulthood to senior status, we may not be able to restructure our work lives over night, but one thing is clear, the first step is identifying what would be ideal for us before we can begin to actively pursue it for ourselves and our families in today’s dynamic and ever changing work world.

Randy Crutcher administers The Passion Test, now used in 49 countries to help people get clear about and live their passions. There is also a Passion Test for helping people get clear about what would be ideal for them in their work life, an invaluable tool when seeking employment or creating a new enterprise. Call him at 209 923-0502 to inquire.

©2013, Randy Crutcher

Coming Out As "Spiritual"

When I was a boy of five or six years old, invited by her friend, my mother took me to a “church,” and I was gently separated from the adults into a group of children for a “Sunday School” session after which we were rejoined with the adults for the closing of the morning service.

That fairly common description probably summons the experience of many readers as from all appearances this was a traditional Protestant Christian denominational routine. Not until many years later and after much more cognitive development, did I realize just how different in some significant aspects my early experience had been.

As we know our early training begins at the very beginning, which some research would indicate as prenatal and that the filters for whatever messages are planted in us are next to none. As children we take these messages into our subconscious with little critical analysis. These messages are the ideas of our parents, our teachers and society at large.

For many some of the early messages about God and religion had to do with ideas about our essential nature as humans (e.g. sinful, incomplete, unholy) and our relationship with a Supreme Being separate from ourselves and “his” emissaries called prophets and saviors. Many of these messages were and are meant to instill fears in an attempt to direct the development of young people in a way that would reinforce the social order and mores of the day. Obedience to laws and teachings that were foreordained by “The Church” and arose from specific interpretations of handed down writings with their commandments, canons and scriptures are a primary purpose of religious instruction.

Redemption, salvation of the soul, proper moral comportment, assuring safe passage to a heaven beyond or escape from the hot fires of hell were and still are common themes in this instruction. The results have been the committed gathering of strict adherents, those who go through the motions because it is expected by their social group for acceptance, and the creation of refugees that either flee to or create another organized group. In many cases people resolve to avoid contact with anything organized around a religion or spiritual philosophy whether an avowed atheist or not.

“There is no spot where God is not,” along with the song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World” (black and yellow, red and white) are some of the fragments that echo through my brain like the jingles of earlier radio and TV commercials or a popular song. It’s my very personal experience of the power of the subconscious and early messages I received.

Most of my adult life I fit the category of people mostly disassociated from organized religion and yet I’ve always been fascinated with the power of religion and more so the power of belief. I derived most of my knowledge from books with occasional encounters with spiritual leaders and authors; a lecture by Huston Smith, an authority on world religions, attending talks by Ram Dass, one of America’s great pop heroes to walking in meditation with Thich Nat Hahn, the compassionate Vietnamese Buddhist monk. At 17, I was in a college gymnasium with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the TM movement.

There is another sub-category that some fall within and those are the ones that return to the faith of their childhood as adults with a deeper sense of appreciation for ritual, ceremony, essential principles and the belonging to a greater mission and community.

I am one of those. My early experience with what has been called Religious Science or the Science of Mind, a variant of the several movements and organizations dubbed New Thought continued sporadically beyond those early Sunday school days with a few visits here and there to what are now called Centers for Spiritual Living. Founded by Ernest Holmes in the early 20th century, the basic premise within Science of Mind is that everyone and everything is spiritual right here and right now. The great Law of Cause and Effect is operating unfailingly within an infinite field of Love. There is no heaven or hell but what humans create first through their thoughts. This lies at the very heart of the meaning of “free will.”

Holmes drew from all the great traditions across religions, synthesizing what has been called the perennial philosophy of the ages. He clearly saw that somewhere in each of the great religions, universal truths were revealed. What was distinctive about Holmes is that he knew that knowledge of one’s individual spiritual nature, presence and power was not enough. One has to consciously exercise this knowledge by focusing one’s attention on the greater Cause in order to bring about desired Effects. Thoughts are things in rarified form and materialize into solid form or matter, much as water in gas form condenses to become liquid or freezes solid. In other words, what we think about and feel strongly about, we most often bring about. It is a system, much as we’ve come to understand as the basic structure of science.

A biblical scholar, Holmes reviews all the great lessons of Christ’s teachings throughout his writing and books, one of which is the understanding that what some call God or Creator or Supreme Being is within each of us as well as permeating every bit of the Universe. In a larger sense, we are each already perfect and whole. The extent to which we believe this is the extent to which we can operate through the great Law to our greatest advantage and for the highest purposes of all. Disease, poverty, violence and disharmony are temporary conditions resulting from collective thought that keeps them in place and this can be overcome individually and en masse through an active practice using these principles, meditation and what is called “affirmative” prayer. We've much evidence to that effect when we look at the impact of some of our greatest spiritual teachers and leaders in our immediate past and present. These Holmes would call, as he calls Jesus, the example, not the exception.

Thousands have been healed and millions positively affected over the course of the last 150 years, beginning with the earliest practitioners in the 19th century. Uniquely American in origin, the New Thought Movement itself has spread around the world and there are 400 groups affiliated with the Centers for Spiritual Living alone. More emphasized as Christian is the worldwide Unity Church though it utilizes similar principles and practices.

Today I enjoy participating in a community of people who learn and practice these principles. In some ways I feel that my participation is a “giving back,” for the joy, fulfillment, sense of empowerment and positivity that have been powerful currents running throughout my wonderful life and in no small part a result of this foundational early experience.

And yet, the continued gifts I receive through a more conscious and systematic study and application of scientific spiritual principles as well as being part of an organization dedicated to transforming millions of lives through positive thought and deed are greater than my showing up on a Sunday or any other day of the week.

Just knowing and acknowledging my very real spiritual nature, my goodness, wholeness and capacity for love as expressed through my unique personality and creativity and evidenced by all the experiences I attract in my life is surely gift enough. And knowing that is true of everyone makes all the difference.

Randy Crutcher, EdD is a member of the Everyday Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was contracted as a facilitator at the 2010 Integration Conference for the final phases of reuniting two long divided organizational branches of the world-wide Centers for Spiritual Living movement.

©2013, Randy Crutcher

A Funny Thing Happened at the Men's Gathering

When the workshop leader asked for a volunteer, a young man named Joe shot up to the front of the room. Of course workshop leaders love it when that happens.

In the next moments it occurred to the leader that Joe was not as open to a process of inquiry as it might have seemed……and yet on the other hand he was ripe and ready.

Unasked Joe immediately grabbed a chair and stood on it, towering over the leader. Joe had been asked to prepare for the exercise and demonstration by identifying a belief about himself and his life and to write it down on paper on his own, as were the other 30 men in the room.

When asked by the leader if his belief was true, Joe gave brusque, almost defiant answers as though daring the facilitator to react by calling Joe on his resistance to the process.

The leader did not ask Joe to step down nor did he remind Joe of any rules of conduct or attempt to make Joe do something he was unwilling to do at that point. He simply looked up at Joe and asked if the belief Joe had about not being comfortable with people, not seen and acknowledged was true, how it made him feel when he held those thoughts and who he’d be without those thoughts. The leader could palpably feel the pain of Joe’s isolation and loneliness.

The workshop leader knew well from his own past experience and working with many men that so many were never or rarely acknowledged or seen by older men (fathers and others) for who they really are. And worse, the kind of attention boys and young men often get is loaded with judgment, punishment, and the wielding of authority in abusive and unkind ways. We wonder why males act out or don’t act at all. This lack of being seen or mistreated is part of what is at the heart of the male wound that plays out dramatically in homes and on the world front.

So what happened with Joe?

It was not clear that Joe had an epiphany by the end of the demonstration. Almost certainly though, the rapt and loving attention of all the men in the room that was directed toward and beaming in on Joe had begun to make a difference.

At meal times in the dining hall of the camp gathering, without prompting, Joe would stand up in front of the room, play his guitar and sing. And did this guy ever know how to perform! Nashville quality and as it turned out Joe had lived there.

Not only did Joe create his own way of being seen at the gathering for a part of who he really is, at the final closing circle of the weekend when each man was invited to say one word for what they received at the gathering, Joe’s word was “Acknowledgement.” So many at the gathering had been routing for him and that would have been enough for the guys to know there had been a transformation.

The next thing that happened even exceeded the workshop leader’s expectations. When asked who would step into the leadership circle to help create the next year’s gathering, Joe stepped in.

This story is only one among thousands, even tens of thousands like it. People ask where a man can go to have this experience among peers. The gathering you just read about is a 23-year-old grassroots regional gathering, of which there are many across the country.

The Mankind Project, a non-profit with chapters around the world is a bit older, more structured and has provided weekend workshops for over 45,000 men creating an initiation into a manhood (at any age) not commonly portrayed in the mass media. It is one that both challenges and supports men to get clear about their own value, their own responsibility to themselves and others for living their most authentic purpose and passions fully.

The process referred to in the story above is called “The Work” and is the result of one woman’s amazing quest to question all and everything we believe that causes us pain. You can read any one of the many fine books by Byron Katie and visit her website at

Randy Crutcher, MA, EdD founded the Northcoast Men’s Gathering in California 23 years ago and was asked to be this year’s workshop leader over the course of two days. He has been a part of many men’s personal healing and transformation experiences.

His specialized coaching practice, Man to Man provides the loving guidance and support for men that can make the difference in leading a life of freedom, meaning and passion. Call him for a free consultation at 209 923-0502.

©2013, Randy Crutcher

Men: The Passionate Providers

One of the traditional roles for men in families throughout time has been that of provider and protector.

Though for the bulk of our history as a species women gathered a greater diversity and quantity of food, men occupied a strong and secure niche as hunters and part-time gatherers. And to the extent that horticulture combined with hunting, men continued to provide with their labor the produce that fed the family.

And although specialization produced the artist, craftsman, shaman, and other unique roles among families and communities, nearly everyone in indigenous societies did--and still does--participate in hunting, gathering, herding, and growing that which sustains the lives of their families.

In a short window of history, sweeping changes to those roles through intensive social specialization and removal of men from connection to the land by industrial societies has brought us to where we are now.

And where we are now is that the repetitive boom-bust cycle and automation of a modern economy displaces millions of men all over the planet from these roles that lie at the very heart of men’s contribution. Most men are not only far removed from the land that feeds them but also removed from most of the important decisions that affect the kind of larger world a man would most like to live and thrive in; the kind of world he would most like his children to inherit.

How many men today feel secure in the knowledge they can provide for their family using their own resources: their skills, talents, experience, and the land beneath them?

How many men today stand in their own power knowing that when a threat exists, they are equipped to protect their families?

If these questions seem totally anachronistic in these times when we rely largely on institutions and corporations to do these things for us in return for our working at a job for money, don’t think for a moment these basic roles of provider and protector have gone away for individual men. They are still very much part and parcel of a man’s sense of self and belonging, pride, power, identity, and contribution.

When men who are husbands and fathers use the powerful process called The Passion Test, being a good father, a productive partner, providing for and taking care of the family nearly always turn up in their top five passions. These are often in that list of top passions not just because men sense it is their duty as a man, but because they find great meaning and fulfillment for themselves in that role.

Then the 21st century questions become: How do we as men fulfill that role in ways that most feed our heart and our full creative potential? How do we both make money and keep our souls? And where do we get support to really live that kind of genuine alignment between our passions and how we spend our days?

Homecoming: Men, War and Passion

In recent news U.S. President Barack Obama is talking about bringing soldiers in Afghanistan home. Afghanistan is a country that has engaged the militaries and billions of dollars of two super powers in two different decades with results that have been less than satisfactory to this point.

It may sound a little strange to ask this question but what passions does going to war and fighting fulfill in men that these seemingly endless cycles of battle persist?

If we don’t know, how will we ever genuinely help young boys and men discover passions that ultimately lead to their well-being, health and wholeness as human beings, the goal most families and communities ultimately share around the world.

Perhaps part of the exploration includes examining our fascination with the power, mastery and mystery involved in being a warrior.

As a boy I was often prepared to identify opposing athletic teams as “the enemy” rather than mere opponents in a game with structure, rules, goals and rewards. Our coaches gave us “weapons” in the form of personal skill building and team building, then provided adversity in which to test those in the form of games and tournaments. In some of these games, our assigned goal was to “take our opponents out,” though that did not mean total annihilation as it does in the millions of practice sessions today’s youth have playing virtual games.

When our team won, we felt powerful, masterful and reenacted our “war stories” over and over. That may have included grudging admiration of some of our opponents though they played bit parts in our exciting recounting of the drama.

We are also fascinated with the power of destruction, especially when we seem to be in command of its forces.

I will never forget my first kill with a rifle. A single shot .22 with a jack rabbit in the wrong place at the wrong time. The mystery of how a beating heart can be so quickly stopped by such a simple act makes an indelible impression. Suddenly, it’s no longer a game, it’s about life and death.

In a 2007 Oscar-nominated documentary film, Operation Homecoming: Writing the War-Time Experience, published writers, some of them famous, assist veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to write about their experiences. The passions that drive men to battle become more and more clear with each added voice introduced during the film. The stated reasons for going to war shift as the real experience of battle hurls men (and women) into the most violent and chaotic situations they’d ever encountered.

What begins to emerge through these powerful and moving narratives is that the concept of honor and patriotism begin to take a backseat to the soldiers real human needs to belong to each other, back each other up, take care of each other, and stay connected in the face of life threatening danger.

So far in my career employing The Passion Test as the premier tool for discovering men’s passions, I’ve not yet met a man for whom close relationships, the desire to belong to something greater than himself, the desire to have a powerful influence on his world were not somewhere on his list.

As it turns out, those men whose lives were shaped and directed in such a way that military service and war-time experience seemed the best means for achieving personal power, mastery and sense of belonging are no different than anyone else.

For me the question becomes: If war is a means of fulfilling passions whose ultimate end can be sacrificing one’s life, are there equally powerful and compelling means that provide the warrior experience that don’t necessitate the tremendous toll in human lives, environmental and social destruction and the whole sale draining of an economy?

What would it look like to replace a war-based economy with a passion-based economy? And what fundamental human needs could be fulfilled that are now too often fulfilled through endless and dehumanizing battle?

The answers lie within the hearts of men when given a real choice and alternatives. Check out Operation Homecoming at:

Can Discovering Their Passions Save Men's Lives?

Quite some time ago now, I had two men friends commit suicide, each several years apart. I distinctly remember my friend Devon, once vibrant and upbeat at 19 saying at age 35 that he was all washed up. He’d tried and failed. I could not really understand why someone that age would be willing to throw in the towel. Later I discovered he’d been diagnosed and treated for a labeled psychiatric disorder, was on medication, then went off and disappeared into the wilds, his body washed up on the shores of the Pacific Ocean days later.

Another friend Brian was a very talented musician and our auto mechanic. We knew he was plagued by inner conflict about life and relationships and suffered from depression. He went on a fast in the wilderness and grew so weak he could not come back on his own. We searched for him to no avail. His body was later found at the bottom of a cliff.

Many have heard the stories of businessmen jumping out of windows during the Great Depression and more recently in front of trains.

Why would men do this?

Last year reports from the American Journal of Public Health quoting an 80-year study said that rates of suicide do rise during periods of economic hardship and decline during periods of prosperity, especially for adults between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.

Overall men have a higher rate of successful suicide than women, and for each age group of men there are different reasons attributed.

Younger men report various pressures that they feel unable to adapt to or cope with.

The 25-54 working age group is most susceptible to economic variations as responsibility for mortgage payments, health insurance, children’s educations and a variety of other expenses pile up. An economic downturn could be a precipitating factor.

In older men, suicide is most strongly associated with depression, physical pain and illness, living alone and feelings of hopelessness and guilt.

The AJPH report speaks to the need to help the working age group in this era of plant closings and economic set backs so they know “where to turn, who to turn to, and don’t feel like they are isolated and have no hope, nowhere to go,” according to Dr. Alexander E. Crosby, report co-author and medical epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Violence Prevention.

I believe that kind of help would be good medicine for men in all age groups, both those most predisposed to suicide for any number of psychological reasons and those many who experience isolation, don’t attempt suicide but do lose track of what life may have to offer, a reason and sense of purpose for their lives.

When men at any age can be assisted to reconnect with a deeper sense of purpose and meaning, they become far less vulnerable to external forces and changes, can tap into resilience and inner resources they may not have recognized within themselves.

We in the Passion Test family have seen that happen before our very eyes in the local, regional and international workshops and programs where men can experience what it feels like to come out of isolation and into a field of new possibilities with the solid and ongoing support of others modeling and committed to living the most passionate life they can.

I know I have days in which meeting life challenges is the last thing I feel up for. It’s called “contraction” and just like the tides going in and out, the moon waxing and waning, it’s a natural cycle of contraction and expansion. When we repeatedly feel trapped or alone in the waning phase, it can be scary to say so and ask for acknowledgment or help. That's probably what Henry David Thoreau was talking about when he spoke of men "leading lives of quiet desperation."

It could be that one of the most potent preventative health measures a man can take to save his life is to clearly identify, then get support for living his passions and unique sense of purpose..

Is bullying the real problem?

About the same time this blog began Lady Gaga was at Harvard talking about the impact of “bullying” and her efforts to make a difference in the lives of young people by partnering with her mother to launch The Born This Way Foundation.

I’d been thinking about a post on this very subject when a friend sent me a February 29th NY Times editorial featuring our Lady. Of all the ways to use one’s celebrity status, this has to be one of the best. And it resonates because I remember as a kid what kind of climate was created when intimidation happened over and over again. As with Gaga, it was a nightmare for me as a boy and worse for those kids constantly put at the bottom of the pecking order.

These days kids often leave school or drink and take drugs to cope, so while fresh cases of PTSD are in the making, our education system is unraveling and the learning process is often very compromised.

One source of the underlying problem as I see it was and is that most adults working in educational settings never recovered from their own direct experience or exposure to bullying, so are not always that effective in stopping it when they grow up and work in these settings. We just don’t think well in places where we’ve been hurt. That’s not to say many educators don’t make a real difference, they do.

It’s just not commonly understood that bullying is a cultural problem, not just a matter of picking out the “bad weeds,” among us, not time after time resorting to a punishment mentality that usually makes things worse and in some places is so extreme schools become more like high security prisons.

Fortunately, Lady Gaga is not the first to get that a “culture of kindness,” as sappy as it may sound to some, is exactly what’s needed. Making it cool for kids to respect and take care of each other and have fun learning is not new. What’s new is the growing awareness that adults in recovery from bullying need a fair amount of support to take action to change their school’s cultures. After all, who is really in charge of these schools?

My wife Dr. Karin Lubin was an elementary school teacher and then principal before we became life and organizational coaches and consultants together. In her schools she very intentionally fostered a culture of kindness and in one school even led a Kindness Club where kids got to think up the most fun, kind and creative things to do for people at their schools. Some of these kids were middle-school age kids headed in not so healthy directions.

One of the most successful programs we know of and used in the school districts where Karin worked was a program called Healthy Play, a program whose main tenets are that we play to have fun and the most important part of the game is “the people.” These two rules and the many dozens of games and activities on the playground and in the classroom have transformed schools around the country that have implemented the Healthy Play program school-wide. That translates to very few visits to the principal’s office, less absences and increased student engagement in the rest of their activities, creating a true culture of kindness.

Of course there are a number of character education programs vying for limited teacher time, attention and school resources, a patchwork that is far better than nothing. Could there be something even more fundamental to what kids and teens really need to thrive and get along, becoming tomorrow’s creative, prosperous and fulfilled adults?

Fairly new and not yet widely known is a process called The Passion Test for Kids and Teens, a simple, fun and easy way for kids to get clear about what they really love, what is most important to them. Savvy educators know that the best way to get maximum engagement of children in learning is to first find what they are interested in and genuinely excited about. Everything needs to begin there as that is the way we accelerate growth and learning for young people—and build families and schools into a culture of support for expressing each other’s strong interests, dreams and desires.

If we made a full nation-wide commitment to fostering kid’s passions with The Passion Test for Kids embedded in a powerful and well established high achievement program like Bobbi DePorter’s Eight Keys of Excellence backed by a whole school changing program like Healthy Play, I predict bullying would wither as the symptom of frustrated and alienated kids that it has become. There would simply be no more room for those kinds of behaviors. Students and teachers everywhere would all be having the time of their lives. And the national passion statistics of only one out of five adults engaged with doing what they love could be turned upside down.

Lady Gaga
Healthy Play
Eight Keys of Excellence
The Passion Test for Kids

Everyman’s 21st Century Blog

When the state-grant-funded doors of Everyman’s Center first swung open in late 1979, who would’ve guessed that eventually thousands of men would find their way to the center and its groups, workshops, presentations, concerts, and more? Well, they did! Those offerings were an answer to a call by men seeking lives of greater satisfaction and fulfillment as friends, partners, spouses, fathers, community and business leaders.

Have things changed about and for men today? Certainly there are more of us on the planet. Much of what really matters remains unchanged. Our inherent goodness as human beings, our ability to care for and be cared for, our ability to build families, businesses, and communities. And yet, something has fundamentally changed about how we view men. There is a growing awareness by both genders of that inherent goodness—and how it can be sabotaged by the way we raise boys to become men. There is an understanding that all the qualities we designate as “masculine” and “feminine” are really present in every person. Each and every human being came here to express those parts in their own unique way. Some of that expression happens within our world in wondrous, collaborative and creative ways. And we all too often sleep-walk in old societal roles and scripts that would have us “divide and conquer”—dividing boys from boys, boys from girls, men from women, ultimately leaving us in isolation from others and vital parts of ourselves.

Probably the biggest breakthrough in our understanding of ourselves as men is that if we are not passionately engaged in creating, building, cooperating, collaborating, loving, and playing we are prone to unhealthy addictions, depression, other serious physical and mental health problems, lowered life expectancy, suicide, and crimes against our own and others’ humanity. The statistics are now well documented. The numbers, sad as they are, help to underscore the ever-more-urgent need for boys and men to learn to stay connected to their inherent worth, their value to society, and their inner and intuitive selves. This can most successfully be done in families and communities that fully understand and embrace who boys and men really are. The realization that each and every one of us on the planet today is on a hero’s journey is important to that understanding.

This is a journey of proving oneself—not through gang or secret society initiation (from barrio to board room) or domination of others through any forms of violence be they physical, psychological, economic, or environmental—but through self-mastery of one’s thoughts, feelings, and acts. It is a self-mastery aligned with the greater good of one’s family and community and therefore the greater good of all of humanity. It is a self-mastery that holds the powerful key to self-love, the true basis of all personal and world-wide transformation.

You may ask, “Where is that community that fully understands and embraces who boys and men really are?” That question is the calling of this blog I’ve called Everyman’s 21st Century Blog. We don’t often see these families or communities identified or even spoken of in mainstream media or the glossy men’s magazines full of advice (some of it useful, some of it further distracting men from their own deeply personal quest for authenticity, meaning and purpose).

In the decades since Everyman’s Center there have been efforts on the part of many to bring new generations of men into a genuine and whole sense of manhood. They are parents, they are teachers, they are counselors, they are community organizers. Most of all they are visionaries and healers because it takes a visionary to see beyond the immediate situation and circumstances of a boy or man’s life, to who he really is and what he can become—especially if that boy or man is in trouble. They are healers because they are willing to get actively involved in those lives, to make a difference for that boy or man, which in turn makes a difference for all of us desiring a more peaceful, prosperous and joy-filled world.

As this blog continues to develop and gain a greater and greater following, I know you will hear some amazing stories, see pictures of what the 21st century for boys and men can look like, receive and be supported by new resources and ideas. You'll be excited and inspired in your own work to bring men fully into partnership with the greatest mission ever undertaken, to bring wholeness to the human world and thus heal the natural world that gives us life.

I invite everyone reading this to share your story as the visionaries, mentors and healers you are. I invite those who have been the beneficiaries of such a relationship or community to do so as well. In so doing you will be providing the evidence that in fact the kind of community I’ve described is alive, well, and growing exponentially.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

©2012, Randy Crutcher

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Randy Crutcher has over three decades of experience as a teacher, counselor, and community organizer/builder. He is a personal and professional development coach, facilitator, and consultant to both large institutions and small organizations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He has done extensive work with men and boys to become all they can be having opened one of the first state grant funded men’s counseling center’s in America. He developed programs to assist men in learning alternatives to violence, father and son workshops and gatherings.

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