While I was in Jersey with Sion Community during there 3 week mission in September of this year, I spend a week in an all boys school and a week in an all girls school. It was really my first experience of an all boys school, which was slightly scary. One sometimes has the impression that an all boys school would be out of control and filled with raging young men who don;t have to moderate themselves to impress the girls! For me, the idea of segregated sex schools seemed completely alien. I just didn't see how it could work. Surely the pupils don't develop social skills in the same way or have the same opportunities to find their first boyfriend or girlfriend. But what I found was a sense of maturity in these schools, and often a heightened sense of discipline. One all girls school I was working with last year seemed more 'embittered' against the 'patriarchal church' than is common, but then again that tended to be a couple of load voices! But generally, the girls seem to be more innocent - year 7 and 8 (11-13 years old) still were quite like children, but older years seemed to be very adult indeed and have confidence. In the boys school they tended to be generally mature throughout, except year 7 who were more noisy (though this was happening in their first month of term!) and sometimes difficult to manage! But on the whole, it went well. One of the great dangers in society, and certainly this resonates with me, is a lack of understanding of our identity as men or as women.
Men simply are not catered for in the main. Especially in the Church this is true. One of the criticisms of the modern Catholic Church is it is too feminized and not attractive to men. See, I understand that point and nod along, but I couldn't expand much. When you look around a church it is often more women than men. Women tend to be more expressive with their faith, certainly the young women I know (judging from my facebook feeds). Sion runs a girls workshop in schools which looks at beauty and identity and all of that, but I often tried to create a man's workshop and it never quite come off. Through it seemed to have a reasonable amount of interest, which I guess shows some sort of longing there. One of the problems I find with any thing that does happen to be directed towards men is that it tends to be overly sexualized, and to me there is more to male spirituality than than. There is an essence that needs be grasped. For me there is a way of praying that suits the man more than the women, but I could not tell you what that is. There is something unique about it all.
I got off topic of my intended post, but you know, I had a point I wanted to make and I didn't have a context to relate it to, so maybe another day!