A Texas minister told the story Saturday night of an African town that was devastated by a group of young bull elephants that suddenly started rampaging through its streets.
The older elephants had gone off to zoos and circuses.
The town eventually found some older bull elephants and introduced them into the herd. Problem solved.
That's the theory behind Emanuel White's "Brotherhood of Men" movement, which a group of Wichitans hope will take root in Wichita over the next several months.
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White, who is pastor of the Forest Hill Church of Christ in Fort Worth, offered an overview of his ideas to about 75 men at the Chisholm Trail Church of Christ at 5833 E. 37th St. North.
Larry Allen, a deacon at the church, said he planned to lead monthly workshops at the church in coming months where the Brotherhood of Men concept will be further developed.
White said the program is based on the notion that all men share common traits and problems.
"I don't care where you go to church, or even if you don't go to church, we all share the same struggles," he said.
White said men need to learn how to support and acknowledge other men for accepting responsibility and leading courageously — traits, he said, that define an "authentic man."
When young men are participating in team sports, he said, they often are encouraged by cheering crowds. They usually lose that incentive, he said, as they grow older.
"Who's cheering you to be a good father?" he asked. "There's nobody cheering you for being a great husband.... We don't get pats on the back for being a man, so we have to learn to pat each other on the back."
White said men in today's society often are aggressive in their jobs and careers.
"But when it comes to our relationships, we are passive. We've got to reject that passivity," he said.
Allen, who is a paraprofessional at Metro-Midtown Alternative High School, said the concept of manhood is not taught in school.
"We never, ever, ever teach pure manhood itself," he said. "Nobody ever gives you a certificate and says, 'OK, you passed the manhood class.' "
He said he hopes that everyone who goes through the program will come out a better man.
"It's about pure manhood," he said. "If you mentor to kids, you really need this."