25 Things I’d Like My Sons to Know

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.


  1. This is a great list with a lot of great reminders to all of us dads. If I were making a list, which I won’t because your list is fantastic, my list would include to apologize when you’re the offender. I always tell my kids that I’m sorry when I mess up and let them hear me say it to others when I offend another person.

  2. Karen O'Connor says:

    Tom, how about a corresponding list of what you’d like your daughter to know about life/men/dads?

  3. This brought tears to my eyes. Never thought I’d say this, but thank you for making me cry.

  4. Jeff Coulter says:

    Tom, Thanks for writing this article. I admit I teared up. My parents divorced when I was young, and I never saw my dad again. I wish he had been around to teach me some of these lessons along the way, and say some of these words. I’m glad someone’s father says them, and that I at least got to read them.

  5. this post made me cry. My son has an absent dad and feels that affects him very much. I wish I had a man that could tell him these things. I’ve tried, but it doesn’t mean the same. He’s an amazing child, I wish he had an amazing Dad too.

  6. Number 10… Ugh! Never lie. For every good reason there is to lie, there is always a better reason to tell the truth, even if it simply means employing the choicest words and tact. Plus, it (number 10) then contradicts number 20. All-in-all, great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!

  7. That was a nice list. My parents were not very open with their children and that affected our communication, even to this day. We weren’t allowed to show “negative” emotion..no tears could be shed unless you were spanked. I’m just glad you encourage your children to express their feelings..whatever they may be.

  8. Ola k ase says:

    I find this very, very accurate, I’d only wish to add one more thing:

    Wouldn’t all these great advises apply to daughters too? Cause I really think they are as good for men as for women.

    (I apology if it is indeed addressed to both males and females, I actually don’t know if it is or not, hence the question)

  9. Glad to see some people have called out the “there’s nothing wrong with looking at porn” nonsense. If you want a son who sees women as equals and is not a lousy, self-centred, unimaginative lover, don’t encourage porn use. We can all pretend “it’s just looking at sex” but we know that in reality porn is about abusing women (and supporting an unethical, exploitive industry), calling them degrading names, banging and hurting and acting contemptuously of their bodies and is also about older men preying on as-young-as-you-can-get-away-with girls.

    Not cool at all. Try a little hand cream and your imagination, son.


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