Juan Carlos Arean

I’ll be totally frank. I understand the label of “healthy” when we talk about masculinity, relationships, communities. In fact, it’s in the name of the very network I lead. However, I don’t like to stop there. When I die, I’d hate to be remembered only as a “healthy” man in a “healthy” relationship or as a “responsible” father. I want my family (and others) to think of me as a loving, passionate, grounded, joyful man and father (who also happens to be healthy and responsible).

So, for me, a loving, passionate, grounded, joyful man is someone who lives his life leading with love and not fear; who values integrity and leads by example; who puts the welfare of his family at the top of his priorities; who stands by his word and his vows; who rejoices in his intimate partner’s and children’s dreams and works hard at helping them achieve them; who understands an intimate relationship as a partnership, not with identical responsibilities, but with complementary strengths; someone who takes care of his own physical, emotional and spiritual health; who doesn’t depend on his partner for all his emotional needs; who is real with other men (and women) and is not afraid of showing his feelings and vulnerability, when appropriate; someone who loves other men (and women and children) so much that he is willing to help them stop hurting themselves and others.

This is the kind of man I aspire to be.

Juan Carlos Areán is director of the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities and former senior trainer for Futures Without Violence.