I am a man, I identify as a man and I want to live and grow as a man and person. I recently completed a personality test and the results suggested I am a mediator type personality. One defining characteristic of this type is the desire to be involved in an important cause or life purpose.
The Good Men Project could be such a cause for me. As I approach my 48th year of life, I still have many questions in regards to what it means to be a ‘good man’ or man of honor and integrity. During recent years, I have endeavored to take all opportunities to meet and speak to new people of diverse backgrounds and identities as I feel we as people need to continuously learn and grow in understanding. The initial reason I came to the Good Men Project, was to rant against the name, as I had concern over the name I found to be unsettling as if by working on and fixing men we could fix all of our collective social ills. Perhaps the name was needed to draw me in and give me pause to consider the validity of such an outlook?
The more I hold conversations with diverse groups of people and the more I hold back and work at actively listening, the more convinced I become the Good Men Project is an excellent idea and a great approach to necessary conversations. How does an individual learn and get questions answered about social topics of society level issues such as racism, sexism, gender identification, and other issues of significance? For me, that has been at a small private campground in Ontario, Canada. The people I have had the fantastic opportunity to meet and have conversations with around summer campfires have allowed me to grow and mature as a person and as a man.
The main idea I would have readers take away from this article is this, the more we as a society or global community can allow individuals to ask questions and learn about each other’s different outlooks in a safe and respectful manner, the quicker we can lessen and start to change many of the problems faced by us all. The main concern I have is what I call the pendulum swing, this is where one group pushes to have a collective voice to be heard in the mainstream of society but in doing so, inadvertently overwhelms others also trying to be heard.
I encourage and challenge all those individuals that are impacted by social ills such as racism, hatred, sexism, bullying, and many others (all of us) to start the difficult conversations and work at listening first and foremost.