What Is a “Good” Man?

My father was a Quaker pacifist who went to jail to protest war (“My Talk With My Dad”).  My son is applying to West Point.  Which one is the better man? 


In Paul Elam’s recent piece, “All This Goodness Is Killing Me,” he challenges us at The Good Men Project to come up with any ways that goodness applies to men uniquely:

Please inform us of anything, one single quality, that you think constitutes a part of being a good man – that does not also apply to being a good woman.


“Goodness” is another one of those words that is so huge that it has different meanings to different people.  “Good” is something that applies to human beings before it applies to gender.  We are all on the quest to figure out how to be “good” no doubt.

In fact at it’s very founding, a small group of us fought over and over again about the name of our social movement.  Our biggest fear is that the title would be viewed as condescending, like “hey look at us we are good and you are not.”

We all were clear that the topic we wanted to talk about was Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood, the subtitle to our book, but we needed to put a finer point on it. For a while we some of us liked “More Than a Few Good Men,” as a take-off on the famous Jack Nicholson film in which he shouts at Tom Cruise that he can’t handle the truth.

But in the end we came back to The Good Men Project because it not only was captured the idea of morality and manhood but also the sense of a “Project” which Paul seems to have missed. My co-founder James Houghton pointed out that to those who might criticize us for condescending we could point out that calling this a Project we were making the whole thing into an aspiration rather than a destination.  The intent was never to dictate goodness but have a conversation about what it might mean.

That, in a nutshell, is how I backed my way into becoming a lightning rod for the modern masculinity (James has since moved onto other things).


Before addressing male goodness, I’d like to talk about male badness. In the three years since founding GMP one of the trends that has been most apparent to me is the way in which gender colors our perception of morality not in what people do right but what they do wrong. As I watched the national obsession with the Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, Charlie Sheen debacles after we had founded GMP I became convinced that somehow those stories fit into a box we had collectively established about what manhood is all about. We seem to love to talk about men behaving badly a lot more than we wanted to have a conversation about how men might be good.


So what does it mean to be a “good” man and why is that even a relevant question? Paul, you are not the first one to ask me that. Generally, when I speak publicly I get asked that question at least once and usually repeatedly. And my response is, “I don’t know what a good man is. You will have to figure that out for yourself.”

I am not trying to be cute with the response. I am just trying to redefine what it is that I mean when I say “good.”  I am not talking about some Biblical meaning. The synonyms that come to mind when I think of good in the context of The Good Men Project are authentic, truthful, rewarding, thoughtful.

By this I mean that goodness, in my view, is a self-defined concept.  It happens in the context of a group–in the context of a discussion–but it’s something you alone can arrive at. There is no external judgment involved. You have to make up your own mind.

The reason that storytelling is so important to this process, or at least it has been to me, is that by listening to other men tell their stories I have been able to pick and choose those aspects which spoke to my situation. In my experience, the sharing of raw, honest truths of one’s life changes both the teller of that personal narrative and the listener. One man’s transformation can have a ripple effect on others in an inspirational, not judgmental, way.

And a hypothesis, which could very well be wrong but is a basis for what we are doing here, is that in general men respond to stories as the vocabulary of truth and goodness.


So what is so unique about male goodness compared to human goodness?

Our mission has always been to foster a national discussion about what it means to be a “good father, husband, son, worker and man.” I would argue that being a good father and husband is pretty different than talking about what it means to be a good mother and wife. Yes, being a good parent and good spouse has universal elements, but the challenges faced by dads in a world where stuff like The End of Men is the frame of reference is different than the struggle by women to be good mom’s in a world so heavily influenced by the feminist revolution. Similarly as a husband, whether gay or straight, our role as men are distinct from that of women attempting to figure out how to be a good spouse.

In the end, my path to trying to define and redefine goodness for myself has been tied to my identity as a man. I have made massive mistakes that are characteristically male. And I have sought out advice, counsel and inspiration from men who have done what I did and been where I was, and found a way to a better way of life. In my own case that meant getting sober, being as involved a divorced dad I could be despite unfair divorce laws, ultimately getting remarried, and learning how to love and be loved in an honest and intimate way.

My path was certainly about human transformation but I found it important to lean very heavily on my identity as a man, to lean on other men, to learn from them, to get comfortable with the idea that as a man I am not destined to a script of bad behavior but am capable of something better.


Which brings us to this idea of “goodness” as some kind of absolute. All too often, it seems to me, that by saying someone is a “good” man what we are conveying is that the man has character, integrity, and is in some way perfect. It’s a myth that is particularly male (I don’t hear it when talking about women the same way). It’s like we want to roll up Clint Eastwood, the Buddha and Jesus Christ all into one neat little package.

To that I say, horse shit.

I believe in the power of personal narrative, in the power of men helping men, in the ability of men even in the most dire situations, having made the most grave mistakes, to transform themselves and become different human beings–men capable of honesty and integrity and success where before they were caught in an endless loop of dishonesty, addiction, even violence.

But even the most inspired, the most enlightened, the most transformed among us are still human, are still mortal, are still men who struggle with day to day life.

My personal definition of being a good man means trying to make more good decisions on a daily basis than bad. It means showing up for my wife and kids even when it’s not easy. It means trying to help someone else out of generosity rather than greed.  It means telling the deepest truth I am capable of. And it means forgiving myself when I fail. Because I still fail an awful lot. If I make more good decisions than bad on any given day that is a victory. And I sleep well. But there are still plenty of nights I don’t sleep as well as I would like.

As James said three years ago, being a good man is an aspiration. This is a project not a destination, for us collectively and for each one of us personally.

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. empathologicalism says:

    Thumbs Down

  2. I really liked this article.

    I don’t think there is one definition of a “good man” and anyone who says otherwise is probably trying to sell you something or make you do something you’d be better off avoiding.

    As for me, I try to care for myself and care for the people close to me. I try to treat everyone else, male and female, with politeness unless they have done something to deserve otherwise. I admire traditionally male virtues like strength, courage, honor and stoicism, but don’t believe in blind chivalry.
    I can also cook, clean and talk about my feelings.

    I’m not sure if that makes me a good man in the eyes of others or not, but I don’t think I care.

    • 100%Cotton says:

      My son in law’s daughter from his first marriage has a dibilitating disease that will require medical care the rest of her life. I notice several young Marines in her neighborhood seem to be in that same situation.

      He has been to Iraq and Afghanistan numerous times to afford the medical coverage and upgrades for the special equiptment needed.

      His wife became pregnant by another man while he was deployed, moved his child across the states where he can’t readily see her, and makes visits with his daughter as difficult as possible for him to see her even though she very obviously loves her Daddy.

      He married my daughter three years ago, and has deployed twice – both times she has moved how with us, pregnant, both daughters born while he was away.

      His ex has just gone to court, bumping the CS payments up after buying a new house with her new man.

      On military pay it’s left them living below poverty, but my daughter says they’ll find a way to get by… she is glad to have this man she loves.

      She thinks he’s a good man.

      So do I.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Some of the “human” traits that men and women might share are not all that. Consider searching for “little bitty Teresa”, making sure to omit the usual “h”.
    She gets attaboys for doing what would be all in a day’s work for (some) guys and not worthy of mention.
    IOW, some things that are mandatory for men, and usually get little attention are optional for women and get lots of attention. It’s practically condescending.
    OTOH, there’s usually a price, at least potentially, for doing this stuff and society to this point has agreed women should be excused from being expected to do it.

  4. I do like that there is a “good men project” to fight stereotypes and fully actualize potential as humans. But possibly we should abandon this idea of a “good man” because it denotes built-in stereotypes (much like what it is to be a “good woman”) These phrases conjure up descriptions that have been in place for centuries and no longer apply. I cringe when I think of the pressure my son will grow up with to be a “provider, protector, etc”. All people, men and women, should provide, protect, nurture, love, pursue our dreams, and have the freedom to do so.

  5. “Please inform us of anything, one single quality, that you think constitutes a part of being a good man – that does not also apply to being a good woman.”

    Being able to actually hear the word no and cease unwelcome attention. Not tarring all women with the same brush. Celebrating the natural beauty of women and assisting when possible the removal of Madison Avenues constant, never ending stream of bullshit that tells every women that in order to get a man, keep a man or change a man she needs to do…(fill in the blank).

    How about buying your favorite woman a pair of flats if she wears heels all the time (that put her spine out of alignment all for the sake of looking (and feeling) more attractive.

    How about not getting women drunk with the intention of having sex or at the very least being totally honest about how you would like the date to end (they might even be impressed with such a rare display of honesty).

    Maybe if you don’t date women it’s easier to know what makes a good man.

  6. The Bad Man says:

    “I have made massive mistakes that are characteristically male.”

    I appreciate that you have made mistakes Sir, but please do not project your experiences on me. As a man, these are not my characteristics and therefore can not be attributed to masculinity unless these characteristics are a constant for all men throughout culture and history.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      I used the pronoun “I” for a reason. I don’t speak for any other man. Just like I don’t speak for you when you think about goodness I sure as hell don’t speak for others when it comes to badness. My point was that as a culture we seem to do that all too often.

      • When you use a phrase like “characteristically male” to point out bad qualities, you’re by definition implicating being male as being part of those bad qualities. Just because you used the word “I” to begin your sentence doesn’t absolve you from the rest of your sentence.

        By the way, I’m a man and I don’t believe that certain mistakes are “characteristically male” anymore than certain mistakes are “characteristically black” or “characteristically those of poor people”.

  7. I believe the most heroic male character ever portrayed in film was the role of Guido Orefice in the movie Life Is Beautiful (Italian: La vita è bella) 1997 Italian film. He used his creativity and spirit to protect and communicate his love for his wife and family. He did everything in his power to protect the innocence of his son. This in my view is a picture of The Good Man.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      I do love that film Maureen. Thanks for reminding me of it (also when he ran across the seats to accept his Oscar)…

  8. DavidByron says:

    Maybe there’s a sense in which a Good Man is something you become whereas for women it’s more about who you are. I am not saying that is true just that there’s a feeling about that. That sense also make the word “project” have another meaning namely that being a Good Man is a Project because it is always about Becoming and about Doing.

    A good woman is essential unto herself. She is. “Because you’re worth it” advertises to women, and “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” to men.

    I wonder if that whole thing about “men are human doings and women are human beings” has to do with men’s perceived active role to a woman’s passive role. Within a woman’s traditional sphere, the home, those aspects are reversed so whereas you hear more about a Good Man than a good woman I think you hear more about a Good Mother than a good father. A mother is active and goal orientated.

    All of which is quite sadly gender role-tied in some respects. And it’s not clear to me which side comes off the better of that deal. We challenge the roles but at the same time, we kind of like them too.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Awesome observation.

    • That’s certainly the common caricature we hear often David. But we do know that women are knee deep in “doings” from day one and we don’t need to look much further than our own mothers to quantify that feeling. The apparent difference and significance (historically) between the gender “doings” is mostly PR related – even Mother Nature has a hard time getting proper mention next to the IPhone – each of us comes with a built-in app called narcissism.

    • Good observation but I (a woman) never really interpreted the title of GMP that way, and certainly not as any type of place of atonement for male guilt as the poster above says.

      Basically, I interpreted it that being a good man is something that has traditionally been codified by society in certain ways that men probably now feel (given the post-feminist world we live in) that they may longer apply. I’ve often thought that it must be confusing these days to be a man and have any idea what defines manhood uniquely (if anything), and what defines how to be a good man in that context. That, of course, is a huge umbrella, and one with thousands of potential answers.

      I think women are going through a lot of the same process because our roles have changed too, but it doesn’t seem the basic rules for “femininity” have changed much – though many of us don’t feel very comfortable in them. In any case, women’s forward path to this point has been more obvious and well defined; now it’s men’s turn to take a leap forward too and that is what I thought the site was about.

  9. The Good Men Project is a 3 step process of 21st century male self-actualization:

    1) Acknowledge all past and present transgressions of men towards women specifically and society in general.

    2) Recognize and accept the innate feelings of guilt and remorse for these transgressions.

    3) Direct the feelings of guilt in a healthy way, toward atonement for these transgressions by becoming a “Good Man”; a more equal co-partner with your wife (or husband if you’re a gay man), by sharing in household responsibities and parenting duties, being more empathetic and understanding towards her (or his) needs, etc.

    In essence men as a group have done wrong, and by extension YOU have done wrong — and The Good Man Project serves to set you on the straight course of appeasment in your relationships with women and society. In other words, we know we’ve been bad and we’re sorry, really sorry. What can we ever do to make up for it? The Good Man Project has the answers.

  10. “I believe in the power of personal narrative, in the power of men helping men, in the ability of men even in the most dire situations, having made the most grave mistakes, to transform themselves and become different human beings–men capable of honesty and integrity and success where before they were caught in an endless loop of dishonesty, addiction, even violence.”

    Perhaps this is where the biggest part of differences of goals lay. I fully support a narrative of men having a place to talk to other men about their life, their path, their mistakes and most importantly the personal narratives that can help a man, inch by inch, change, rebuild or refocus his life if he feels he needs to.

    I think that there are, however, pressing issues of inequality, injustice, double standards and society’s general stereotyping of men that have lead to, or are the cause of so much pain and suffering for men. I may be wrong in my assumption here, but while the narrative is crucial, without examining and taking action on the nuts and bolts of basic concepts such as equal protection under the law, where men continue to face injustice, then the former won’t be nearly as effective without the success of the later. I am talking about why our government found shelter for women facing homelessness, but forgot about men. Why isn’t the epidemic of male suicide worthy of a national health initiative, a health initiative given to women in spades, but men are left out? Why can’t we fix our family court systems to commit to the father being just as important in a child’s life as the mother? The list is endless, and perhaps this is where the “Men’s Rights” part comes in; and maybe GMP wants to focus on the narrative of pain instead. (Not saying that is a bad thing in any way, each person, cause and activist has their own priorities)

    In Australia, the government is in the process of attempting to pass gendered laws, which will strip men and fathers of due process, take away most presumption of innocent until proven guilty and enforce one set of laws for one portion of it’s population, while not enforcing them for the other. This is important, this needs to be out in the open, it is these kinds of agenda’s that destroy men’s lives; and they usually become law without as much as a whimper. I do not know if GMP had this kind of down and dirty legal discussion (and maybe even activism) in mind. Maybe soon the two can meet, but I feel that the success of one without the success of the other is not possible. There are institutionalized and systematic areas of misandry which need to be address squarely.

    Not sure if many here agree with a lot of the basic things MRAs have to say in regards to that or not, but I’d bet a lot of money, that both the personal narrative of men and the social, moral and legal standing of men in society are closely intertwined.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Kyle we certainly view personal narrative and issues that impact men as not mutually exclusive. If you have been reading our pages of late you would notice that we have published quite a lot around men as victims of rape including my CNN oped and my interview with the first male to come forward in the Catholic Church scandal here in Boston, which spread across the globe.

      I guess I would say that we are not about a particular dogma or agenda. But that doesn’t mean we shy away from all the issues you listed. We have dug in and will continue to do so.

      • Thanks Tom, and yes I have noticed, and a lot of folks appreciate it. I certainly didn’t mean to come off sounding negative towards GMP’s focus. I think as long as our society keeps churning out damaged men, that makes the work yourself, Lisa and the rest of the GMP crew do much more difficult. I don’t pretend that it is easy to have the skills or the fortitude to reach out to men like you or others do here, but changing minds about laws and governmental processes and injustices has it’s myriad of difficult challenges as well. The first being convincing folks that men have legitimate grievances, and are worthy of such close examination.

        I much appreciate that perhaps more MRAs see the benefit from the side of the equation that you guys do, and I am glad that others are seeing the need for the work that many of us MRAs are attempting to do (and being more successful lately too).

    • “I am talking about why our government found shelter for women facing homelessness, but forgot about men.”

      Not to sound careless, but here is what I suspect: I think the numbers are too low for government to build stand alone shelters for abuse men. Unlike men, when women are abused their children often arrive with them to shelters – so there is a greater need for large shelters for women. Women’s shelters cannot house abused men alongside with them, since there is a great distrust of either sex at this point and security issues. I do believe social services locate alternate shelters for abused men, such as homeless shelters or low-income housing whereby staff is equipped to provide and support them with related community resources and legal information.

      • @ Michelle

        Not to sound careless, but here is what I suspect: I think the numbers are too low for government to build stand alone shelters for abuse men. Unlike men, when women are abused their children often arrive with them to shelters – so there is a greater need for large shelters for women.

        What you have said is So “Wrong Headed” it’s frightening! It’s like Brainwashing – It just reinvents reality and does not deal with reality.

        You didn’t want to sound careless? So you substitute what you think for reality? That is beyond careless!

        Michelle – studies have shown that many men who are being abused (1) are not listened to due to the myth and meme that has been created – “Only Men Abuse, Only Women Can Be Abused” – and (2) as is well known in Domestic Abuse, the abuser not only abuses the spouse/partner – children are also abused and at risk – the abused stays to protect the kids.

        That places men who are Domestically Abused in a double bind – they get no support or credence and they stay to protect their kids and even divert abuse behaviour towards themselves to protect their kids. It tends to only be taken seriously once felony injury is involved – and then it’s always assumed that the man did something to provoke it. Only if there are independent adult witnesses do authorities start to listen – and there is no point asking the kids as they are all too often in fear of saying the wrong things and being abused for doing so.

        Do you have any idea what it is like for man who says I have had enough to be told by his abuser he will loose his home, his kids, he will be fleeced financially – and that no one will believe him and he will not be a man – he will be a dick-less wonder – a mangina – a laughing stock….. Abuse is not just Physical – It’s Psychological too, and abusers use many tricks and techniques to abuse and control.

        There has been a whole eduction program running for decades to explain to various groups like the police why Women find it hard to leave a venue of Domestic Abuse – and literally why they are mental prisoners through fear and abuse programming. Some just can’t make the mental leap to see that the same applies to men too.

        “Unlike men, when women are abused their children often arrive with them to shelters” – there are no family accessible shelters for men. It’s assumed that the Kids stay with mom – even when she is the abuser.

        Men can’t turn up at a shelter with kids – because there are “NO” shelters that provide access for men with kids. It’s always assumed that the man is alone and has no kids – that he has to walk away and leave his kids with the abuser – mom is always best for kids, even when the evidence shows that more kids are abused by mothers than fathers. The best he can hope for if he walks out is to be placed in a Homeless Shelter for single men – if he’s damned lucky. Otherwise – he’s totally on his own and so are is kids.

        Women are supported to leave Instantly – men are not allowed that “Privilege”. Do you have any idea how much strategic planning and Risk is involved in a man with children getting out from the situation – the having to make sure that support is in place in advance – things such as his Identity documents and the kids identity documents are under his control and accessible – accommodation for him and his kids is secured in advance – money is secured and available – and it all has to be done without inviting any suspicion and risking an escalation of abuse and violence?

        Ever had to deal with a domestic abuse victim who has such things as their identity and finances subject to control. It’s one of the most basic forms of abuse there is. It’s called gate keeper.

        The best a man can hope for is to gain a restraining order and have the woman excluded from the home – but then again in many places as it’s her home she still has right of entry – and she will come back to carry on the abuse. He also has to have an employer will allow him to shift working patterns to then provide child care – and that he won’t be subject to malicious counter claim which all too often happens – immediate court claim of visitation rights to the children and the court system has been programmed to believe only men abuse and only women are victims ….

        I remember the first time I was supporting a man in court who was being Domestically Abused by his “Male” partner. The Judge actually asked which one of the two was the woman in the relationship – “She”, the judge, had such a fixed view of Domestic Abuse/Violence it was scary. The Broken bones, bruises and puncture injuries with full medical evidence and police reports were not enough. I was so happy when the lawyer stood up and told the judge “She” was a bigot and demanded a hearing in front of another judge to stop Human Rights Abuse. The judge was supposedly an expert in Domestic Abuse and all such cases were heard by her – after that she was less often used for her supposed expertise.

        I have even had the lovely [ironic] experience of taking a women to a shelter where she was told she was not suitable as a client as her partner was a woman – Only men abuse and women don’t abuse other women. After I had read the riot act and a raft of Human Rights Legislation “AT” them they got with the program – but it’s that Meme being played out in reality and denying abuse by women.

        And that is a view supported by a number of my associates who Run and manage Refuges/Shelters for women. They even openly acknowledge that they deal with women who are The Domestic Abusers and who flee to a refuge with kids as a Ruse and way of pointing the finger at the actual victim – the male spouse/partner. There are well known patterns that get played out – and experts in the field are very good at spotting them. These wolves in sheep’s clothing are gotten out fast to protect the real women victims, because the female abuser will continue the abuse inside the shelter/refuge and they represent a massive risk to everyone there – staff and clients alike.

        That is not the same as co-abusive relationship where both partners abuse – there are many, many situations where the only perp is the woman and they play the memes and systems to make out they are the victim. It’s about power and control over the victim, even at a distance.

        I have had to help in such situations, and the best course of action is to call in charities and regulators that deal in Child Welfare – to protect the kids. Sounds odd – but the children have more rights and protection. The hierarchy runs Kids – Woman – Man, so many men are required to use their kids as a shield and they find that beyond repugnant. They want to protect their kids and end up having to use them.

        That can force the abusive woman from the home – but all too often there is an attempt to deal with the abusive woman in the home and that tends to Sublimate Aggression so it comes out in different ways and with even more risk of violence. Oddly one of the excuses for attempting to deal with the abusive woman in the home is a lack of Shelter/Refuge accommodation for single homeless women! P^/

        I have seen the mechanics of Female Perp Domestic Abuse first hand – and believe me there is so much Privilege at play and against the man it’s shocking – and I have been aware of it all for some 20 years, ever since my Sister did the seminal study on the issue here in the UK. She’s a Prof Law by the way.

        As she often says “It’s far better to come from a broken home than to live in one” – the biggest problem being that for men with children the getting out is blocked by lack of credence, no services and biased stereotypes which protect the abuser and not the abused simply because she is a women. No other reason required.

        … and do you want to discuss the lack of shelter/refuge options for Disabled People escaping Domestic Abuse/Violence – or racially/cultural sensitive options that just don’t exist either?

        Ever had to deal with getting a wheelchair user with high care needs moved to a place of safety as they were fleeing 30 years of physical and sexual abuse by their carer – and wife! You would be stunned at how the abuse is covered up, disguised and manipulated to make it the man’s fault – even as he’s sitting in a wheelchair. Ever had to deal with the saintly carer type – the self sacrificing spouse – they tell the world how much they have given up – how much they care – how much they do. The world sees them as a martyr and if the man in the wheelchair should say he is not being treated right he was to be ungrateful – even loosing his mind – It’s the medication – I mean, who would say such things about the saintly martyr wife who does so much for so little return from such an ungrateful man?

        ….and people don’t see how they make sure that food is placed Just Out Of Reach, so he has to ask and then beg and even just go hungry because the abuser comes in and tells him he is not hungry because he has not touched his food – the food that was put on the table but out of reach – and medication too has to be begged for – of how going to the toilet is a Privilege they control – so you are made to sit in agony or pee your pants – you either beg or put up with the verbal abuse and physical abuse that comes when you do pee your pants, and the abuser controls which it will be that day – how you are put to bed and then a pump is used on your penis and it is ridden – and the band used to keep it pumped up is not removed, and by the morning you are so engorged and blue and in pain you are begging for it to be taken off – but you are told you have not said it Nicely enough, and until you do it will stay on ….. and of course there is nowhere for you to flee to, and it’s hard to flee when you need your abuser to push your wheelchair to the front door of the none existent refuge as you plead for none existent help! P^/

        And then when it’s investigated and gross criminality is identified, including torture, Privilege plays out and they are told they have to pay a fine and do community reparations – whilst if it was a man he would be in prison, and even named in the national media. That’s Real World Domestic Abuse for You!

        The “Only Women Are Subject to Domestic Abuse – And It’s Always By Male Spouse/Partner” meme has been getting trotted out and propagated for so long that it has taken some 20 years to get police, government authorities and even the medical profession to start dealing with reality. A woman can tell anyone she is subject to Domestic Abuse and everyone jumps – a Man says it and they still look at him funny and it’s “Does Not Compute”.

        For 20 years the evidence of gender parity has been in the wild – known about and growing!

        So maybe in another 20 years some may start to act on that and consider the realities. Here in the UK there are state funded projects such as “Men’s Advice Line”, “Mankind” and even “National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV)” who do acknowledge that men and their children can and do suffer Domestic Abuse and Violence the figure is 1 in 6.

        In the UK there are over 150 family accessible state funded and supported refuges/shelters for Women – and the number for men is “ZERO”! That is not for men and children that is “ZERO” for men PERIOD.

        … and you wonder why there are no men arriving on the doorstep with their kids saying please help?

        If there was one doorstep that would be something – but as there isn’t even one your comments were beyond careless and frankly Unforgivable.

        • Please do speak out about the inequalities in quotas, aid to women but not men, the male-bashing, harmful images of men being portrayed in the media AND extol the virtues of our real heroes: all of you men who seek integrity, hard work, compassion that leads to action, exposing truth, a legacy, trying for a balanced life, justice for the misunderstood even when that is you! Don’t be PC! We all need you to stand up for all that is good and right in your worlds and ours. PS: check out Dr Warshaw’s Welcome Back Pluto about hope for alienated parents.

        • MichelleG says:

          I once saw a Dr. Phil show on wives who abuse their husbands. Even without this show, I do know that this does happen to men! Dr. Phil advises some of these women to see a doctor because he suspects they may have a mental illness, like a personality disorder that may behind their aggressiveness and irrationality! Makes a lot of sense!

          I know of a friend, when she was younger her dad took all of her siblings out of the house, away from their mother and they went to live in a hotel for a short period of time. I don’t think the mother was physically abusive, but she lacked the ability to care for her children – she suffered a mental illness and the kids were exposed to her acting up. So in this situation, access to a men’s shelter would be beneficial, only if it was a men’s shelter for abuse otherwise mixing kids with homeless people who may do drugs and what not would not be a good idea. I still think bringing young kids to a men’s shelter is iffy.

          I know there are homeless shelters for men in the city that I live in. But what are men doing to combat the lack of shelters for abused men? Are men talking to city Councillors/mayors, talking to local press…creating support groups…generally taking action and doing something about this problem? What kind of feedback comes back?

          • @michele “What kind of feedback comes back?”.

            Various Responses.

            1) Where are the stats? We are evidence lead! Response: Oh well we are still having to work with police so that they update mandated computer reporting systems so that when they input victim is male on the next screen the box for Domestic Violence Victim is not greyed out and can’t be ticked. Issue of Institutional bias. Oh and asking the government to formally collect stats on DV which include men … and not just rely upon surveys. … and also include in the DV stats and police reporting if there are children at risk in the abuse venue!

            2) Journalist – Oh not sure about this. Where can I get independent input? I know – I’ll speak to the Shelters that provide services to Women! P^/

            Response: You need to speak to The groups that deal with men not women. You will find that many of the Women’s shelters can give you feedback and they recognise the problem – but they can’t and won’t go on the record! Reasons – they have to protect their client group – must not be seen in any way as dismissing or excusing CV against women – they also are obliged to ensure that their core funding and support is protected. It’s a rather large issue of conflict of interests.

            3) Local Politicians – (It was once said that politics is a bad business it has only second rate minds – second rate minds only deal in the possible, it takes a first rate mind to deal with the supposed impossible) – oh we address DV there are women’s shelters – yes It was interesting hearing that guy speak about his own experience, but once case is not proof – and there are Zoning issues allowing a shelter for homeless men. (They are not homeless – they are escaping DV and they need to protect their kids) … yes but they still are homeless and people don’t like homeless men – they are dangerous.

            OK lets be creative – lets make it DV shelters for kids – the kids have the higher rights in law for protection – so the DV shelter is to meet kids needs and they need to be accompanied by a parent of either sex. Response – you are being silly! Kids can’t make the decisions you are talking about!

            And by the way – don’t forget that most Women’s refuges have age limits on male children. In most when a male child reaches 13 he is barred from the building – he is made into a DV victim twice – once by the partner who is Domestically Violent ( Can be male or female ) and then by services which Ban him on age grounds.

            I have queried these age limits and the following reasons have been provided – male children who have witnessed DV will attempt to perpetrate DV in shelters so they have to be controlled. At puberty they can become an issue and so are limited on age. I have asked for studies to support these claims – they apparently don’t exists.

            The other argument is – an male child reaches puberty women who have suffered DV see him as a man and so his presence in a shelter acts as a trigger – we have to ban male children to protect clients.

            Response – then the format of the Shelter is wrong – it should be a protected and supported housing/mission with family units that allow as much normality as possible for all users and family make up.

            Some organisations have investigated if the old model of Shelters/Refuges is good and found they are bad, meaning services cause denial of access – coup many people with complex issues in close proximity that is explosive and emotionally damaging – and the damage to women and children is unacceptable – and lack of male services is also unacceptable. Shifting from the poor model of services and housing combined to the better model is the best option.

            Oh that’s great – where are these model shelters/refuges. You arrange visit – people are astounded and see instantly the advantages – speaking to service users is an eye opener – stats showing post service resettlement – illness rates – child school achievement – all off the scale – rates of post service DV lowest recorded anywhere. Initial cost is set up higher, but costs recouped in five years by lower costs across all other services – especially medical. Service is able to meet all needs for all DV survivors including men and their children.

            Oh they say – so we need to adopt this on a national level and support it with national policy! Yes Please!

            Great – do you have the stats – return to point 1 above and read in loop ad infinitum !

            • MichelleG says:

              That’s a lot of obstacles and challenges to contend with, and I’m sorry men have to deal with that. The issues sound very complex, especially when you throw kids into the picture. Sounds like a lot of resources would be needed to properly address everything.

              This reminds me of car accidents at intersections or places where traffic lights or signage would be advantageous to implement and prevent future accidents and deaths; at least curb the problem and get it under control. But regional government sometimes lack the foresight or motivation (or even funds?) to do anything until this reaches a high frequency or meet a number of deaths/accidents! I don’t know if men’s DV and lack of shelters are being treated similarly….

        • “who would say such things about the saintly martyr wife who does so much for so little return from such an ungrateful man?

          ….and people don’t see how they make sure that food is placed Just Out Of Reach, so he has to ask and then beg and even just go hungry because the abuser comes in and tells him he is not hungry because he has not touched his food – the food that was put on the table but out of reach – and medication too has to be begged for – of how going to the toilet is a Privilege they control – so you are made to sit in agony or pee your pants – you either beg or put up with the verbal abuse and physical abuse that comes when you do pee your pants, and the abuser controls which it will be that day – how you are put to bed and then a pump is used on your penis and it is ridden – and the band used to keep it pumped up is not removed, and by the morning you are so engorged and blue and in pain you are begging for it to be taken off – but you are told you have not said it Nicely enough, and until you do it will stay on ….. and of course there is nowhere for you to flee to, and it’s hard to flee when you need your abuser to push your wheelchair to the front door of the none existent refuge as you plead for none existent help! P^/”

          That post made me cry MediaHound.
          Actual hot tears.
          Then I read michelleg’s post where she says says she “saw a dr.phil” show and that of course the poor woman needs a head doctor while (implied) that men need a jail.

          Oh it’s alright,she saw it on the TV!
          And she KNOWS there are not enough male victims to warrant help,and if there where,it should be men who get their own help,somehow.

          That did dry up those tears for me,yet I remain unappreciative.

          I’ve come to the conclusion there is a terrible sickness here,one that ongoing debate will never change.

          We are truly on our own in this battle against our own subverted govt policies.
          While men got those 8 councils for women,and VAWA and 2 Billion/year,now to be double that,no women cannot be bothered with our trivialities.

          I am not sure how much more I can read here as these seemingly inhuman man-hating responses keep coming.
          It is making me physically sick.
          Oh it’s not just michelle,or morgana,it seems to be team woman as a whole is totally and inextricably remorseless towards “good men.”

          There seems to be no way to break that hard shell of self centeredness.None at all.

          At times I have to to think this very site is about allowing “polite” discourse and omitting hard core dissent.
          (controlled dissent)

          Then again, at times Lisa really surprises me with her humanity.

          I just wish that a site allegedly for men
          would show some consideration towards men,rather than seemingly asking us to not only prove the negative,but to somehow politely deal with unflinching opposition.

          Ah, this will never make it past the moderation anyways.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Hey freebird, Lisa and I were very moved by this post, and just tried to send you an email, but the listed email doesn’t work. Do you mind shooting me a quick email? joanna @ goodmenproject.com

            Thanks so much!

          • Lisa Hickey says:

            Hey freebird,

            I’m happy that I surprise you with my humanity (although I’m sad that it’s a surprise.)

            Here’s the thing. We love men. We do. We want to hear about your issues. Sometimes we don’t know how to talk about things. Men, women, all of us have our failings.

            But we know we have to try. The only way change will happen is if people have a way to talk about the issues first. And that’s why we’re here. To see things from the POV of men, first. And to at least try to figure it out together.

            I too cried at MediaHounds post. I am glad people feel they can be honest here, and making it a safe place for that to happen is what we’re about. We’re not afraid of dissent. But we want the people who can help create change to keep coming back also.

            Thanks for being a valuable part of the community.

      • Tom/Lisa – What is up with the page refreshes every few minutes? That’s the second time a long comment I’ve written has been cleared because of the auto refreshes this site has in place.

        Michelle – I’m not going to retype my entire response. Here is an article(excuse the few typos) that explain the real reason 250,000+ men sleep on the street every night.


      • /sigh – commenting here is so cumbersome, with the refreshes and lost comments. Spend 10 minutes writting a repsonse, have the page auto refresh and delete it.

        Michelle – http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-governance-feminism/feminism-and-the-plague-of-male-homelessness/

      • I think the numbers are too low for government to build stand alone shelters for abuse men.

        The Australian government has, for decades, interfered in data collection processes to hide victims who don’t fit the feminist paradigm. Government funded services now aggressively reject victims who don’t fit that paradigm. This has nothing to do with “distrust” and everything to do with feminist monopolisation. They demand and get a closed shop. Maintaining the ideology is vastly more important than the welfare of victims or prevention.

        Our federal government is about to introduce legislation which will enshrine that discrimination in perpetuity. The rape crisis service in my state which has been inclusive for nearly a decade will, in future, find it much harder to access government or public funding. At the least our ability to remain inclusive will be at risk and it could eventually threaten our very existence. Anybody hoping to create a new service in Australia will be utterly on their own if they are looking to serve male victims or victims of female perpetrators.

        So, Michelle, given that the numbers are, in your estimation, “too low” just how many victims do there need to be before they can be treated as human beings.

        By the way in Australia about twenty percent of the homeless are female. The only federal programs for the homeless are for women. Meanwhile a third of the victims of DV are male. Why is it that the numbers are only ever “too low” when they relate to men?

        • @ gwallan “By the way in Australia about twenty percent of the homeless are female. The only federal programs for the homeless are for women. Meanwhile a third of the victims of DV are male. Why is it that the numbers are only ever “too low” when they relate to men?”

          You missed out the children who’s fathers are victims of DV. When you factor in their needs there is a far bigger issue!

          One thing I have seen is the Life Boat Mythology – “Women And Children First”.

          It is possible to get people thinking if you just EXPLOIT the children and make it “Children First”! Of course most people find the EXPLOITATION of children in that way repugnant, especially politicians – but it is often the quickest and most effective way to get the point across.

          • @MH…

            In Australia men are not a part of the family. Our Labor government makes this perfectly clear. Everything is about “women and their children”. Children are merely objects owned or possessed by women. They are things to be exploited.

            • What? “In Australia men are not a part of the family…..are merely objects owned or possessed by women.” Really? That is so wrong I can’t even imagine it.

      • 100%Cotton says:

        Wouldn’t a man be charged with KIDNAPPING if HE showed up somewhere with the kids?

        Could it possobly be that men don’t INVOLVE the kids in quarrels, but instead stoically put up with incredible abuse?

        My husband’s best friend would come home to find his wife locked in their bedroom with a man she’d picked up in a bar. HE had to go to work everyday while SHE didn’t.

        HOW was he going to get out of that situation, get the kids “somewhere”, AND work 8 hours a day?

  11. That was beautiful! I think being a good man is being a good person and always questioning yourself and changing and evolving…..because there are no clear cut answers sometimes….sometimes there is more than one answer….

    My husband when he is at his best is when he looks at things from other people’s points of views and gives some validation to those views, even if they are different from his own…he has seen things through his two sisters’ eyes and through his aging mother’s eyes…he is not perfect and he is still trying…He is off for a guy weekend with his buddies on some snowy mountain (ie., ATV’s and snowmobiles) and his old roommate from grad school called him to make sure he had all the appropriate weather gear (it’s cold up there!) and that he had his travel plans confirmed…His friend’s kindness and thoughtfulness was really touching and very brotherly….

    I think you’re right….it’s how you make the important (and maybe not so important) relationships in your life better…how do you touch other people’s lives? Are other people better off for knowing you? Do you understand someone else better because you stopped to try to see things from their viewpoint (even though they are atop a completely different mountain from yours)?

  12. MichelleG says:

    Obviously I am a woman. And as someone who considers herself a good woman, I feel that in furthering myself as a good woman – I must make time to listen to the opposite sex and hear good men out. GMP is a very good place for that. I applaud this “project” and appreciate Tom and Lisa’s remarkable efforts to create and build on goodness, and the generous contributors alike to this site. Take the time to pat yourselves on the back guys! Your work doesn’t go unnoticed.

    I like that GMP tackles deep subject matters, from a wide range of controversial to light-hearted topics, you guys bring it all to this site, and keep us in touch with what’s going on in the world – we get the most up-to-date information/issues, but with a GMP twist, so people can relate or have something to take away, rather than just the facts of the events. You make it more than just another newstory. You bring a humanistic approach to written content, which is lacking in most mainstream media. Other topics are from the heart and experiences of contributors; these are priceless. Also, not all subject matters are strictly male gendered, some are universal topics so anyone can relate; moreover, we all live with or work with men or interact with them and vice versa, so at some point, we need to hear each other out.

    • MichelleG says:

      Oh CNN tackles difficult subjects too (they’re mainstream, but I think it’s a very good news site), with special reports and news section devoted to them. Like GMP, CNN is helping people evolve, creating change and bringing more goodness to the world, dealing with tough topics such as slavery, bullying and racism — bringing these issues out of the closet and to the table for discussion and for solutions.

  13. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    Yes, being a good parent and good spouse has universal elements, but the challenged faced by dad’s in a world where stuff like The End of Men is the frame of reference is different than the struggle by women to be good mom’s in a world so heavily influenced by the feminist revolution.

    Okay, how is it different?

    Similarly as a husband, whether gay or straight, our role as men are distinct from that of women attempting to figure out how to be a good spouse.

    Okay, how so?

    • Kirsten (in MT) says:

      Or to be even more specific, let’s just focus on that second one. What would be something about the role of a good spouse that gay and straight men would have in common, but no women at all would share with them? That’s what unique means.

      If you took out the word unique, you’d probably have a lot less disagreement. Sure, some things are more common among men or women than among the opposite sex. But you (and at least one other author on GMP) are claiming something much more than that something is common. You’re claiming that it is unique. That’s a whole different story.

      • Justin Cascio says:

        Two men in a marriage both have to accept both their own and someone else’s male ego in the house. A man in a marriage to a woman has to accept some fundamental differences between how he was raised to handle conflict, or emotions, for examples, and how his wife was raised. And this is before you add all of the other identity-related concerns: transgender histories, disability and age, trauma and mental illness, race and nationality, religion, and other differences.

        Women and men are still different. Some of it is undoubtedly cultural. As long as we still go into different public bathrooms, we are reminded of the importance we place on the presumptive chasm separating us, biologically. Women and men still face distinct fears, dangers, and limitations based on our biological sex and on our perceived gender.

        Men haven’t been encouraged to have conversations about how the patriarchy harms men, and how it’s in our own best interests to work toward changing society so that neither women nor men are harmed or imprisoned by a set of values we unconsciously support through our unexamined choices. The GMP is a place where we are actively examining the choices we men make in our lives.

        • 100%Cotton says:

          Men and women share the same bathroom in Asia. Have they figured out something we haven’t?

          • Or where have they gone wrong? Your question presumes thet are right and we are wrong but that is not a given. Not to be rude but as something who has spent extensive time overseas I get tired of all of the attitudes that every other culture and country has so many things right that we have wrong when that is not what I witnessed first hand. There are many things I’ve seen in other cultures that I do think are better than what we generally have but it’s a very mixed bag as I’ve seen more harmful differences than helpful differences.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Kirsten in these debates (which often come down to whether or not I am some kind of gender essentialist) it often seems to me that the discussion becomes one of trying to prove a negative. In other words my experience is when I am surrounded by other dads and fathers we share a common experience which is grounded in our maleness. Whether that is how to navigate an ex wife, how to go into a mommy dominated kids’ class, how make our wives happy, how to decide whether its more important to define success by the amount of money we make or the amont of time we spend reading to our kids. Sure I suppose women have similar and related challenges and you could write off what I am saying as not in any way “unique”. But I do believe men and women are different, in a good way.

      I could be totally wrong of course. Perhaps gender is not a factor in any of this. But my belief system, born out in my own person experience, goes back to the idea that men and women do in fact have different voices. I am with Carol Giligan who wrote the seminal book about how “psychology has persistently and systematically misunderstood women–their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth, and their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology’s misperceptions and refocus its view of female personality. The result is truly a tour de force, which may well reshape much of what psychology now has to say about female experience.”

  14. Tom – I find the ongoing questioning of what if The Good Men Project – and what is A Good Man fascinating. It seems so many are afraid and demand that the wild beast be brought under control.

    I think it’s funny that Paul Ellam says this:

    And this is where the rubber meets the road; for Tom Matlack; for Lisa Hickey; for all of us. And it is still the crossroads where GMP will more likely opt for a dating column than an honest exploration of the real issue.

    So TGMP is going to be a dating column? TGMP is at the crossroads? Boy, does he miss the target with those metaphors.

    I’ve seen the pattern so many times before. People think they know the subject they are an expert in – along comes a Maverick or a Matlack mind and people keep on demanding that such a mind has to be put back inside the box that people are comfortable with. They hate anyone who asks that fateful question – “What Is Outside Of The Box?”.

    It could be that there is nothing outside, or it could be a whole unexplored universe. The fear is best summed up as people who have are resigned to the idea “This Is As Good As It Gets”.

    You make it clear that you don’t know what it means to be a Good Man. That frightens people. Doubt frightens people. They then take that doubt and try to use it to control. They want no doubt and it has to be eradicated. People hate it when someone says – “lets Explore This Doubt And See Where It Takes “Us”.

    It’s that little word “Us” that frightens people as well. It is actually telling them that the doubt is also theirs, they have it too – even as they refuse to acknowledge it and admit that it is there.

    It’s even built into the title the Good Men Project – it’s that plural – the “Men” which is also “Us”! It frightens people – fear… fear……… f e a r……..

    Above all else it’s the admission of doubt that is so frightening. Doubt is hated, despised and resisted because it reminds people that nothing is perfect, nothing is complete and nothing about them is so good that they don’t secretly in some way want it to be better.

    It can be dick size – is it better to have a fixed view or a fluid view – am I a good lover, husband father or can it be done different and even better.

    I remember some years ago being asked by a guy if he could have done better. He was a pillar of the community, salt of the earth and ever so well known as a paragon of virtue. That all shattered the day his eldest son was busted as a drug dealer. He asked me if there was anything he could have done different that would have prevented his son from falling off the rails.

    My response – not being on the rail road tracks!

    The guy looked at me funny with real shock – he had spent so much time railroading himself and his way through the world he was looking for some loose bolt, a loose rail, anything in the past far back down the track that he could hold onto and explain away what he saw as a personal failure. What he would not consider was that the railroad he had put himself and even his whole family on was the wrong track – period. The derailing was not due to a fault in just one bolt – it was due to the whole track.

    When I look at GMP in many ways it’s Not the Good Men Project – It’s the Good Men Junction. It’s a place where many tracks meet – It’s a place where people can learn about other tracks, other directions, other destinations and even other ways of travelling where there are no tracks at all. Good Men Airways is also an option.

    Some tracks are Binary – and others Monorail! P^)

    No-one is made to travel. No-one is told they can’t just look and discuss and then say I’m fine with my track and will travel on this way. Some people have set up shop out in the Blog-Sphere and made it a destination, almost a resort and they worry about occupied beds and their visitor numbers. As with all such destination owners they seek advantage by trying to get people to prefer the track that leads customers to them. GMP is not about their resorts, it’s about travel choices and many destinations.

    GMP is a travelogue of journeys, of places visited and varied destinations for people to consider. As with any such place there are warnings too. Some destinations are not good and ill advised, but if you want to go there It’s up to you. Some are interesting to visit, but not really the place to go back and visit a second time – but above all it’s about choices as travellers. You can travel alone or in company. It’s choices from the travelogue created by those who write about and discuss journeys.

    I find it funny how so many will decide to tell all other travellers that it’s their way of the Highway! There is only one destination and everyone has to travel there is purpose built cattle trucks.

    So many assume also assume that GMP is “The Matlack Express” and so they want you to tell them the destination so they can either agree to go along or just bitch about the services and how they don’t like your choice of itinerary.

    They get very confused and fractious and told “it’s up to you” and they have to shuffle about in their own little boxes on the platforms – bitching because you won’t porter for them. It’s their Box – their luggage – no one makes them carry it. It’s all their own choice. So is the Bitching!

    Really it’s Matlack Junction. It’s where journeys can end and start and people can even change tracks. But as with all such things you can’t keep all the people happy because some are just tourists in coach class and all in their own lives – it’s As Good As It Gets For Them.

    So is TGMP Tom Matlack, Lisa Hickey and so many others going to be all about a dating column and stuck at the crossroads?

    Like Hell – TGMP is more than a crossroads it’s a supper junction of travel, and if people want to date that’s allowed, and if they want to be stuck that is their choice too! But it’s so much more and people fear that it gives them so many choices that they just don’t know what to do with those choices!

    • MichelleG says:

      “I don’t know what a good man is. You will have to figure that out for yourself.”

      I actually thought that was a brilliant and a terribly honest answer.

      I think being a good man is a personal man’s journey – each man is going to have a different journey. There is no one size fits all. No one is going to hand you a bible to being a good man…unless of course you believe in the actual bible and its teachings, which many have questioned its usefulness because it’s littered with contradictions. I think the best anyone can do as a man or woman, is to be the best we can be…if we follow this as a rule of thumb, then we can’t go wrong? Plus we would be in a position of learning and evolving as a human being….

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Indeed MH and thank you. Thanks too Michelle. I have often said that I am not God. I really don’t know most stuff including what morality is for anyone other than myself. And even that is a very provisional answer.

  15. Julie Gillis says:

    This section, your words here, “I believe in the power of personal narrative, in the power of men helping men, in the ability of men even in the most dire situations, having made the most grave mistakes, to transform themselves and become different human beings–men capable of honesty and integrity and success where before they were caught in an endless loop of dishonesty, addiction, even violence.

    But even the most inspired, the most enlightened, the most transformed among us are still human, are still mortal, are still men who struggle with day to day life.”

    Is why I respect you, Tom, even if we disagree on things.

    Being a good human being, and in this case on GMP with the focus on men, being a good man is messy work, It’s hard work.

    As I said to Lisa, while it doesn’t necessarily have to do with race, class, gender or sexuality, in this corner of the internet is indeed focused on men and rightly, fairly so.

    It isn’t always about being GOOD all the time. It has to do with being able to bear the weight of the work and hold a hand out to others as they do the work too. It is a process, as you say, not a destination.

    I am not religious by any means, but I find that the work of peace, of social justice, is holy work no matter how you cut it, and no matter who it is focused on. Because it is about all of us being human, helping each other as we live our messy, difficult lives.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Thank you Julie. Agreed. I sometimes think the most ironic thing in the world is that somehow people want me to define goodness for them. Ask my wife, I have a long way to go not in the big stuff but the minute day to day stuff where I still fall down a lot.

  16. Matthew Casto says:

    I believe much of a man’s goodness is measured in whether they are committed to mentoring the younger generation. A good man realizes his place in the cycle of maturation and gives his best (not perfect) effort to bring along a boy. When a man guides a boy he truly discovers his manhood and understand his own worth (goodness). I have spoken to numerous men around the world who struggle for peace and contentment on this subject. Most of their discord comes back to failed parenting and lack of mentoring their children. I been moved by stories of men who have found contentment in showing their sons, nephews, grandchildren and neighbors a glimpse into manhood. I think ALL men judge themselves and their goodness by this father factor. Even those we view to be great innovators and real men, like Mr Jobs, go to their grave wondering if they did right by their children, especially their boys.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Amen Matthew. Totally agree. Thanks.

      • Kate Mannix says:

        The love of my life, my husband George, revealed to me what is essential to be a good man. We were in conversation about the longings of youth. I asked, ‘But didn’t you want everyone to LIKE you?’ George thought for a minute. ‘No,’he said ‘I wanted everyone to think I had good judgement.’

        THIS is the crucial component to goodness in men, as distinct from all persons. If we consider those men which history admires – Jefferson, Lincoln, Gandhi, Mandela – in literature Atticus Finch comes to mind – it is their good judgement that characterizes them. Action comes out of wise judgement and decision. Thus we ought do best by our sons if we read them great books with stories of wise men (to kill a mockingbird) or men compelled to become wise, even if wisdom comes too late (Macbeth).

        • @Kate

          You have some interesting ideas there – especially about literature. I wonder if you wrote a review of some of those books, pointing out the Good Men Attribute of Judgement, if other readers would agree with you?

        • I love your perspective. Judgment. So important. I see many intelligent, loving, and capable men through away their happiness over one split second of bad judgement. I have debated this issue with friends and family for years, trying to understand why. One thing that I have learned is that the males do not develop the capacity to make responsible judgments until they are in their mid twenties. The male brian does not have this capacity as quickly as a female. In many ways this explains why my teenage boys will do crazy things and act like idiots. I often wonder if they have just lost their senses all together. I have to remember that my sons are not biologically capable of complex decision making and they need lots of structure and support while they on this journey. But men, why are we often so thick and simply make poor choices? I would love to know so I can stop the cycle in my family.


  1. […] I never asked him personally, I was one of the people to whom he responded in “What Is a ‘Good’ Man?” I have been wondering what the difference was between being a good man (in particular) versus […]

  2. […] answered her, in his post “What is a ‘Good’ Man?“. Jackie Summers answered here. And here’s my […]

  3. […] Tom Matlack’s response  “What is a ‘Good’ Man” here.  Filed Under: Ethics & Values Tagged With: bad, discussion, good, Good Men, […]

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