The Good Men Project Magazine sits down with Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker.
The Massachusetts gubernatorial race between Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick, Republican nominee Charlie Baker, and Independent Timothy Cahill has been hotly contested for months. In recent weeks, the race has become downright bizarre, with charges and counter-charges of conspiracy flying between the three campaigns.
With three weeks left before election day, the race between Patrick and Baker remains tight, with both men trying to turn the media’s attention back to substantive issues.
The Good Men Project Magazine sat down with Baker and Patrick recently to ask them questions they haven’t faced during the Governor’s race, to get a glimpse of them not as candidates, but as men.
Good Men Project: Who taught you about manhood?
Baker: My father
Patrick: My grandfather Poppy. He was a janitor for a bank on the South Side of Chicago. He was determined, sincere, humble, strong and kind. He taught by example to hope for the best and work for it. When he died, the chairman of the bank came to his service and said that had my grandfather lived in a different time, he would have died as chairman himself.
Good Men Project: Has romantic love shaped you as a man?
Baker: Yes. Relationships, the ones that work, are the ones where both people understand it’s not just about them, it’s about us.
Good Men Project: What two words describe your dad?
Baker: Smart and honorable.
Patrick: Remote and intense.
Good Men Project: How are you most unlike him?
Baker: I’m really a combination of both my mom and my dad, but my mom is more expressive than my dad, and that’s a big thing I got from her.
Patrick: I’m not remote.
Good Men Project: From which of your mistakes did you learn the most?
Baker: Most of the mistakes I’ve made in my life have been when I haven’t truly “heard” someone when they were telling me something that’s important to them. I may have listened, but I haven’t always heard them – and it’s what I’ve tried to fix most about myself so I don’t make those mistakes anymore.
Patrick: In third grade my teacher told me I was getting “too big for my britches.” It was a lesson in humility that has served me well in life. Notably, my third grade teacher came to my inauguration.
Good Men Project: What word would the women in your life use to describe you, and is it accurate?
Baker: Loyal, and yes. There’s nothing more important than people being able to count on you.
Patrick: Loving. Yes, it’s accurate.
Good Men Project: Who is the best dad you know, and how does he earn that distinction?
Baker: My own dad is for sure. My whole life he has been a role model about what it means to be a responsible, loving, honorable, and caring person. My dad walks the talk every day. He set high standards for everyone and he lives up to them himself.
Patrick: My friend Will, who has raised three extraordinary boys mostly on his own. He has relied on a strong community and a strong set of values — and a wonderful sense of humor.
Good Men Project: Have you been more successful in public or private life?
Baker: In business, success is measured in dollars and cents, but my private life – my family – to me, is priceless. There’s nothing more important to me than family.
Patrick: Both public and private life have been very rewarding.
Good Men Project: When was the last time you cried?
Baker: Several months ago my wife and I saw the movie “Taking Chance,” a real-life story about a military officer who accompanies a body home from Iraq. It’s a powerful story.
Patrick: Last week after I left a church in Mattapan, where I met, comforted and prayed with the grandmother of the toddler shot in that horrible multiple murder.
Good Men Project: What advice would you give teenage boys trying to figure out what it means to be a good man?
Baker: 3 things: have respect for others; be a good friend by being there for people when they need you; and put your best effort into everything right now – you don’t get another shot at this.
Patrick: Be true to your best self, even when the whole world wants you to be something else. Character is what matters, what counts, and what lasts.
Good Men Project: What is the your most cherished ritual as a guy?
Baker: Watching sports in my neighbor’s basement on his flat screen TV.
Patrick: Digging in my garden or walking the Blue Hills alone early in the morning before the rest of the house is up.
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Tom Matlack, together with James Houghton and Larry Bean, published an anthology of stories about defining moments in men’s lives — The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood. It was how the The Good Men Project first began. Want to buy the book? Click here. Want to learn more? Here you go.