From GINA:  Batsi is a tribe designed just for males, with the intent of reinforcing relationship and communication between fathers and sons.   The nine month program, which goes from September to June, was a journey divided into Saturday adventures.  We used the content of THE WONDER OF BOYS as our starting point.   One Saturday a month, we developed two group sessions, the first one just for adults, mothers and fathers; the second just for fathers and sons.  These sessions involved teaching, as well as camping, and other outdoor adventures.

From the coordination perspective here are lessons  we learned.  Please share these with those people interested in creating a male kinship system (“male tribe”) like Batsi:

  • Keep focused in the process rather than immediate results.  Values and relationships are being strengthened, so we expect most results to show up when the Batsi boys become adults and fathers. 
  • Values are great lights and allies.  Every session was linked to different values; we chose “commitment” as the first one.  The boys felt their tribe as a special gift, a unique space/time alone with their fathers (their “heroes”), and did not want to miss any committed Saturday.
  • Some fathers need to be trained.  At the beginning of the program, some fathers did not feel comfortable to lead the tribe.  A training session at the beginning of the program help to set clear objectives and train fathers as guides of their own and other tribe´s boys.
  • Fun activities and meaningful rites helped bring fathers and sons together in deep ways. Playing, working together, and discussing talents, roles, emotions, values, sexuality, spirituality and purpose in life…all this helped boys to increase confidence/faith, and allowed fathers to enjoy fathering with a clear and significant purpose.
  • Age is important.  We suggest the program for 3rd-6th grade boys.


These are some comments taken directly from boys, fathers, mothers and family testimonials…

 From Boys:  In the Batsi Tribe I learned that … “I need my father to find my purpose in life”,  “I want my father to stay close and play with me”,  “I need his support, guidance and reminding”,  “ I need him to believe on me”,  “I need him to help me to go for my dreams”,  “ I need him to stay committed”,  “I need him to stay by my side and be my role model.”

From Fathers:  Batsi  is… “One of the best things that happened to my life, I could make up 8 lost years with my boy”,   “Batsi has become a community of good friends with common objectives and values” ,  “A tribe from which I am enriched to share knowledge and wisdom to my son”,  “A way of life with a sense of physical and spiritual fulfillment”,  “An opportunity to become a real father and help others to achieve that, too."

From Mothers:  Batsi is… “The opportunity to give a father-place back to my husband”,  “A relief, a time to set and order in my family,”  “A safe place for the men of my family to learn and build their masculinity ”,  “A time on which I knew my men were working together to become better persons”,  “One Saturday a month that  I stayed alone as my personal contribution for a better world”…




 


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