Am I Alone? The Work of Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO) Steering Committee…

by | Oct 5, 2021

Steve Sparks
Steve Sparks
Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO)
Steering Committee

As I reflect on my work with the TIO Steering Committee over these many months, I have come to a place of great concern. I see little or no reaction or engagement on this platform from men in particular…

TIO’s last quarterly meeting of 2021 yesterday was one of the most engaging and inspiring conversations ever on the critical work we are doing for children and families. Yet, I remain disappointed in my male counterparts, yet not surprised.

I see a ‘great barrier reef’ ahead. It is the men in my company who appear to be the least engaged and uncommitted to change, and in healing children and families who suffer over generations of trauma…

Do we not have the time or passion to follow through with the mission of TIO on the ground. Do we have the skills and passion to make it happen. Is your main man on board?

As a community, do we have the will? Do we really care? Are we just playing each other, and going with the flow. Are we just thinking about our next escape to places of peace and tranquility.

The answers to all these questions need to be answered by men, not the professional women in my company. Men, please step up right now. You must before it’s too late!

My thoughts to, Dr. Mandy Davis, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO), following our excellent meeting yesterday, point to my heartfelt concerns…

“Thank you all for your kind attention!

Yesterday, in our most important work at TIO, I once again felt like the lone male in the room. Yeah, the “Lone Ranger Rides Again” is a awkward feeling, I feel more often than not. And it pisses me off to the max!

It was worse yesterday, though. I cried this time. I’m old and at the end of my life. I’m really smart. Smarter than most men my age about things that hurt our kids and families. 

Do men really believe in anything I believe about the life saving importance of the work we do? Am I alone as a 21st Century male? Maybe that’s why I feel alone doing this work I love.

But now in old age as a lonely male trail blazer, I’m worried. How can you as a leader do this work without men engaged in the conversation with hearts and minds?

Now, after yesterday, I see this as the single most critical barrier in healing intergenerational trauma. It is men who caused trauma to be at this level of inquiry in the first place. It is now men who push back and disengage.

It’s men, by and large, who play us all, and the smart and compassionate woman leaders like you who are committed to making a difference for our kids.

Men placate and play me too, I know. I see it everyday in my work and in families where men remain silent. You know, we hear the push back when you say, “honey, you can take care of that.”

Or, in the workplace, “would you handle that Heidi.” Then, retreat to his man cave

So, how do we contemplate putting this truth on the table for honest and open conversation over coffee? Will men in our company even show up?

I challenge my male peers to step up right now! I challenge my male friends, colleagues and love ones to step up right now and get engaged. Stop playing the rest of us!

Men, stop being part of the problem. The future health and safety of your kids and families are at stake, big time! We need you to become part of the solution in this very moment. There is no more time for egos and denials…

Do I still stand alone? Who’s with me in this journey of healing America?


Steve Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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