APRIL Debrief

Observations and musings —

Okay, I was seriously overly optimistic about how much content I could share. But we at least waded successfully into the conversation.


What did we cover? First, I played The Simpsons clip in which Marge initially instructs Lisa to push her emotions down and just smile. Then, Marge breaks the generational cycle and encourages Lisa to feel how she feels! And I love this line: "If you want to be sad, honey, be sad. We'll ride it out with you. And when you get finished feeling sad, we'll still be there." 


If there's an overarching theme to last night's EQUIP BOYS, it's that we're becoming a community that celebrates each other's successes and is there for one another during challenging times. We'll be here.


That was the point of the thread illustration. I had Bryce try to lift a heavy bag using a single thread tied to the handle. The thread immediately snapped. I then had each boy tie their single thread to the bag's handle. After braiding the strings together, Bryce successfully lifted the heavy bag.


I drew attention to the fact that many men try to do life alone and grow isolated. When life gets "heavy," it's way harder to carry the load than when in a healthy community.


Next, and this idea came from a middle school teacher who went viral, I set a small glass on the ground and began pouring water into it. I instructed the boys to stop me at its maximum capacity without overflowing. Like in the viral video, the boys went nuts when I kept going, and the water poured out! It was hilarious.


The teacher's point, which fits nicely with our night, is that when we bottle up our emotions or avoid dealing with them, they overflow from within us. And so it's important to open up about what you're feeling and going through. (I reinforced the idea that we're building a trusted community here at EQUIP BOYS—and hopefully, they'll also be open with you and other trusted adults.)


This set us up for the first tool I offered concerning regulation: a pause between the stimulant and the response. This is mainly done by taking a deep breath through the nose, activating the "parasympathetic system, which controls restoration, relaxation, and rejuvenation" (Pressman 7).


Using the imagery of a well-worn pathway in the grass, I shared that our brains create neural pathways. And as we learn to regulate our response to triggering stimuli, it'll become easier to respond healthily rather than react negatively.


I closed by conveying other helpful ways to regulate, including physical release, such as using a punching bag/pillow or exercising, writing in a journal, and talking to someone. Of course, becoming aware of hazards or "triggers" and planning in advance to avoid them when able is also helpful—because "all feelings are welcome, but all behaviors are not" (Pressman 70).



Pressman, Aliza. The 5 Principles of Parenting: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans (p. 7, 70). S&S/Simon Element. Kindle Edition. 



  • Next open sports night: Friday, April 26th, 5pm - 6:30pm, Paia Ballpark.


  • Next (a special) EQUIP BOYS: Saturday, April 27th, 10am - 12pm, Twin Falls.


  If you still need to register your boy/s now, CLICK HERE