RSVP to join weekly calls on Conscious Intersectionality
It’s hard to explain how much I miss that wonderful lady to my right. She turned me into a tough little fighter. I was damaged goods right from the start—with a piece of linguine for an upper lip and a heavy cleft down the middle of my palate. My understanding is that the defects are the result of the body failing to fully fuse in development at the lip and mouth. So in a true sense, I started less mature than I should have been and had a lot of catching up to do right out of the starting blocks. My favorite song growing up was on a Hans Christian Anderson record—The Ugly Duckling—about a scrappy little duck who dreamt of becoming a swan. Someday—maybe someday—I, too, would grow up to see a better reflection of myself in the lake.
The medical experts told my mom that I would never speak properly, but she just didn’t buy what they were selling. She worked closely with speech therapists and orthodontists who thought outside the boxes of the more pessimistic conventional wisdom. And so started the torture of extractions, caps, and braces. The follow-up surgeries came shortly thereafter. When the physical apparatus was in place, the real work began.
Every day after school she would have a little present waiting for me—a big toy truck or a plastic bowling pin set or something similar. And after the carrot came the stick – the hard lessons practicing the letter of the day. We would sit on the stairs in the foyer, retraining my tongue to swim laps in alphabet soup. I remember the D’s quite well. But the S’s proved the toughest challenge. I simply lacked the front palate and dentition to do anything but make S’s with the back of my tongue. Stu sounded like Shoo—to the endless taunts of my peers. Once my mouth was fixed, it took a major effort to reorient where my tongue went to form that simple sound. As a child, I couldn’t even speak my own name, and would avoid saying it as much as possible. Is it any wonder I liked “Lee” better?
My Bar Mitzvah was the unofficial culmination of my mother’s relentless work. Her efforts paved the way for my father’s work. He had me go over the passages I would sing acapella to the congregation. We practiced so many times that I would hear the memorized prayers in my dreams. When my big day came, people saw me stand on the podium by the ark. But I wasn’t just standing on a podium. I was standing on the shoulders of my parents. And when I looked out at the congregation, I saw a wonderful reflection in their smiles. I finally saw that swan.
Thank you, mom, for teaching me how to fight, how to speak—and most importantly through it all—how to be happy. Thank you for teaching me that the most intrinsic beauty is hidden in a smile. And thank you for showing me how to beam a smile right from the soul and share it with the world.
My mom. She gave me a middle name I could always say. Lee. And you can’t say Lee without smiling.
What Now? Participate. Take Action. Join The Good Men Project Community.
The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission. All members see the site AD-FREE!
Register New Account
Your ANNUAL PLATINUM membership includes:
1. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to participate in ANY of our new Social Interest Groups. We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to the execution of real-world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time. We now offer 500 calls a year!
2. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to ALL LIVE CLASSES. Learn how to build your own platform, be a better writer, become an editor, or create social change. Check out our training sessions. As a Platinum member, you can take them all.
3. Invitation to the MEMBERS ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook. Connect with other members, network and help us lead this conversation.
4. Access to our PREMIUM MEMBER LIBRARY with our recorded ConvoCasts and classes. ConvoCasts are a new form of media—and you are in them! Only Platinum Members get access to our recordings. And recordings of our classes are really valuable for those who do not have time to take the live classes or just want to review.
5. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you log in.
6. Weekly conference calls with the publisher and other community members. Our weekly calls discuss the issues we see happening in the world of men in a friendly group setting.
Price for ANNUAL PLATINUM membership is $50/year.
Your ANNUAL GOLD membership will include:
1. Free access to any ONE Social Interest Groups.Try them out! We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to the execution of real-world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time.
2. Free access to any ONE of our live classes. Each month, we have the following: Learn how to be a Rising Star in media, build your own platform, become an advanced writer, become an editor or create social change. Check out our classes here. RSVP for any one class—if you want to take more, just upgrade to an Annual Platinum Membership.
3. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and all Weekly Friday Conference calls with the Publisher and community. Connect with other members online and by phone!
4. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in.
5. GOLD commenting badge. Only members can comment on the website!
Price for ANNUAL GOLD membership is $25/year.
Your ANNUAL BRONZE membership will include:
1. Invitation to weekly conference calls with the publisher and community. Connect with other members, network and help us lead this conversation.
2. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in.
3. BRONZE member commenting badge. Only members can comment on the website!
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
“Here’s the thing about The Good Men Project. We are trying to create big, sweeping, societal changes—–overturn stereotypes, eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, be a positive force for good for things like education reform and the environment. And we’re also giving individuals the tools they need to make individual change—-with their own relationships, with the way they parent, with their ability to be more conscious, more mindful, and more insightful. For some people, that could get overwhelming. But for those of us here at The Good Men Project, it is not overwhelming. It is simply something we do—–every day. We do it with teamwork, with compassion, with an understanding of systems and how they work, and with shared insights from a diversity of viewpoints.” —– Lisa Hickey, Publisher of The Good Men Project and CEO of Good Men Media Inc.
Photo courtesy of author. Used with permission. All rights reserved.