Building community: creating connections and discovering what it is to be a good man

Salim, a Top Blokes graduate speaks his truth on what it means to be a good man; he speaks deeply about masculinities and the importance of connection with your friends.

“You have a community at school, but no one is really connected – everyone has their own groups, their own cliques. When you find a small group of boys and you bring them together, they can actually get on really well.”

“One habit I’ve got into recently and I think this is a good habit, is a dap up and then a hug. I always go in for a hug. It’s good to get a hug from your mates. I always make sure my friends are good. It’s about connection.”

“I think I’m always looking out for others, I often put myself last but my [Top Blokes] mentor Kate really helped me with that. I have high expectations for myself and if I fail to live up to those expectations, I really used to bash myself about it.”

“Kate, my mentor, she noticed how I am always checking up on other people. She said, ‘You’re a good kid, Salim. But, how are you?’. I said sometimes I feel bad that I cannot live up to my own expectations. She told me how I am young but I have a good head on my shoulders and that I don’t need to care what others think. There’s no one I need to impress. She said, ‘It’s all up to you’. To have someone compliment me like I am complimenting others really meant a lot.”

“Top Blokes puts you in a mini-community. It’s a place where you can belong. It’s good. It’s really good.” “Masculinity is getting lost in the modern world. The definition of a man is obscured. Top Blokes reminded us what it is to be a man and the responsibilities of what it’s like to be a man. Top Blokes can bring that out in young boys – it can help them. You need a community of brothers. You can hold each other accountable. If you’re good, you’re being a Top Bloke!”