The lights by which we see our way forward
When we created the Tribe of Men, we developed a set of guiding principles as standards we could measure ourselves against, and ideals toward which we could grow. They support and serve each of us in living deeper, fuller, and more effective lives.
We do not consider our principles to be fixed truths, however. Rigid adherence to the principles as if they were unbending rules, or venerating them as all-important, would violate the principles themselves. These are our guidelines, the lights by which we see our way forward.
Tribe of Men Principles:
Integrity and Wholeness
- I speak my truth, and invite others to speak theirs.
- I communicate my feelings and intentions clearly.
- I keep my commitments and fulfill my obligations.
- I take responsibility for my impact.
- I care for my body, my family, my community, and my planet.
- I embody masculine power.
- I am committed to a never-ending journey of self-exploration.
- I am both student and teacher, always learning from everything and everyone around me.
- I seek to become a better and better instrument of my higher purpose.
- I courageously explore the depths of what it means to be fully human and fully a man.
Love and Compassion
- I give and receive love, exploring and honoring all of its aspects.
- I reach out to others with empathy and understanding.
- I am flexible and understanding with myself and others.
- I see and treat myself and others as expressions of the divine.
- I set goals and intentions that serve myself and others.
- I do work in the world that is a true expression of myself and my lifeâ€™s purpose.
- I apply myself fully to my chosen endeavors.
- I express my power in service.
- I am guided by something really big and murky.
Two tribesmen talk about the principles:
“Many of our principles are not new, but brought together in one collection â€“ this is unique. Some of them have been at the core of societies and organizations throughout history. But today, in our modern â€˜civilizedâ€™ life, they arenâ€™t practiced muchâ€¦and such principles are rarely handed down directly from father to son, generation to generation. And the ways in which I see my fellow tribesmen and I hold these principles â€“ for example, integrity in service to achieving wholeness, rather than being imposed by an authority figure â€“ offer more of a possibility that men can naturally integrate them into the fabric of their lives.”
“One of the main reasons I participate in the Tribe is to learn real-world use of the principles. It helps me to use masculine power in a constructive way, so I can live more fully myself. I also teach it to my sons (and my daughter – as I believe none of these principles are gender specific). I’ve seen the impact on my kids’ character development. In the same way they’ve improved their playing with light sabers in the back yard, now they are improving their ability to wield their internal power constructively â€“ which shows up at school, on the playground, the sports field, the dinner table, on vacation, with each other. I am very grateful to have the Tribe in my life.”
Integrating the principles
to our lives
The term guideline originally meant a well-placed rope used for traversing dangerous territory, climbing a difficult path, or walking in the dark. Our principles serve as guidelines as we traverse the dangerous territory of living as men in the modern world. None of us claims complete mastery of our principles, nor do we claim superiority over othersâ€™ principles. They are simply the values we have chosen to live by.
The principles serve as a way for us to hold ourselves (and each other) accountable for our behavior. We donâ€™t make men wrong for being out of integrity (the old, unworkable system of shame and punishment), but we challenge each other to face up to the truth, clean up our messes, and rise to our best effort for growth, development, and change.
We use the principles as a foundation to examine and assess our lives:
- Am I living and acting according to my own highest principles?
- Where am I falling short?
- What old patterns do I want to change and what new ones do I want to establish?
The principles create a consistent expectation for men who wish to join the Tribe. One of the first steps an initiate takes is a formal self-assessment that allows him to measure himself against these ideals. In our monthly challenge groups, we use this inquiry as a departure point for our discussions and our deep work with each other.