Like Minds, Like Missions: The Good Men Project
From where I sat in my life, recently laid off, unemployment running out, and in the middle of extensive treatment for a medical condition directly related to damage done to my body by years of alcohol and drug abuse nearly fifteen years before, I found myself seeking, as usual. Looking for truth, purpose, and frankly, a job to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. Then I read these words…
“’The Good Men Project is a glimpse of what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century,’ the press raved when we launched. Finally, ‘a cerebral, new media alternative’ to glossy men’s magazines. In fact, The Good Men Project is not so much a magazine as a social movement. We are fostering a national discussion centered around modern manhood and the question, ‘What does it mean to be a good man’?”
That last sentence rang particularly true. What DOES it mean? Do I qualify? I read a few of the stories presented, found some common ground, and started to feel a bit of the familiar reminders from lessons learned prior; the times in my life I truly felt like I might be moving toward some semblance of goodness were the times I was not just existing, or surviving—not the days spent keeping up with the Jones’s. When I was truly dedicated to making a difference, to living a life of service rather than of self-absorption, I found it much easier to keep my head, heart, and spirit above the waters that could suck me down into an abyss of self-pity, depression, or worse. So I read on…
“The Good Men Project was founded by Tom Matlack in 2009 as an anthology and documentary film featuring men’s stories about the defining moments in their lives. The original, modest goal, was to tell stories about men that ‘changed the writer and changed the reader.’ In the process, it became apparent that this book was fostering a much-needed cultural conversation about manhood. The Good Men Foundation was launched and proceeds from the book were used to support organizations that help at-risk boys. Since that time, The Good Men Project has grown into a diverse, multi-faceted media company and an idea-based social platform.”
Unemployed, I spent a great deal of time online seeking employment and contracts. Using social media, and the rejuvenation of ideas and possibilities from the GMP, I began a relationship with Lisa Hickey—CEO, Tom Matlack—Founder, and several key players with the project. Lisa and I discussed some of the needs for the project, based on its obvious momentum forward and growth. Though the timing wasn’t right for either of us then, I’m pretty sure we knew paths would cross again.
“We are a community of 21st Century thought leaders around the issue of men’s roles in modern life. We explore the world of men and manhood in a way that no media company ever has, tackling the issues and questions that are most relevant to men’s lives. We write about fatherhood, family, sex, ethics, war, gender, politics, sports, pornography, and aging. We shy away from nothing. Our content reflects the multidimensionality of men—we are alternatively funny and serious, provocative and thoughtful, earnest and light-hearted. We search far and wide for new stories and new voices from ‘the front lines of modern manhood.’ And we do it without moralizing and without caricaturizing our audience; we let guys be guys, but we do it while challenging confining cultural notions of what a ‘real man’ must be.” (Since this was written, I have been blessed to be a part of Special Editorial Sections dealing with prison, rape and sexual abuse, race, addiction and class.)
I continued reading and participating in the GMP community and when Tom Matlack wrote an addiction post (a particularly personal topic for me) called “Addicts Are Superhuman” , I wrote a response. Regardless of the content of that comment, it opened the doorway for discussion on how I might get more involved, and since that time, I have proudly served as the Social Media Coordinator, a writer, and content curator for the project. I have been blessed to see enemies from the ether become friends, arguments turned to productive conversations, husbands and wives move towards healing and an appreciation for each other, and fathers who rededicate their lives to being the best dad they can be. Vehemently dedicated men’s rights activists and equally enthusiastic feminists have opened their minds and begun an investigation of more egalitarian ideals. Friend writers who conquer mental illness on a daily basis have found a platform to begin beating down the limitations of care options and stigma attached to the issues they have so clearly shown can be won over with proper support and compassion. Readers of their stories have begun moving towards the freedom their examples set.
The good news and changed attitudes and lives are legion through dedication to a mission, a cause.
Use of new media technologies have exponentially increased the abilities to spread the word. I am proud to be a part of movements embracing these technologies for good like the Good Men Project, and we applaud, encourage, and praise the past successes, and future plans of Life After Hate, the Kindness Not Weakness Warriors, and all those associated with the Life After Hate Family and cause.
Content sharing, mutual support and social media sharing opportunities abound, and “like minds” on “like missions” go a long way to creating the “basic human goodness” Life After Hate references as a part of its mission. Project to Project we wish Life After Hate the best of luck and look forward to the growth and success only a Good Mission, driven by Good people, pursuing “Basic Human Goodness” with the hope of positively impacting lives can achieve.
“Guys today are neither the mindless, sex-obsessed buffoons [or man-cave-dwelling, sports enthusiasts, violent, hate-filled fighters, absent fathers, or abusers] nor the stoic automatons our culture so often makes them out to be. Our community is smart, compassionate, curious, and open-minded; they strive to be good fathers and husbands, citizens and friends, to lead by example at home and in the workplace, and to understand their role in a changing world. The Good Men Project is a place where that happens. We’re glad to have you along for the ride.”
Life After Hate offers hope, experience, stories and a way out. This is a recipe for success we have been fortunate to see succeed over and over. As an LAH reader, we encourage you to get involved, read, learn, and share. Then go forth into your homes, communities, and workplace. Make a difference.
As a man who works in social media, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you to come by and visit us at The Good Men Project, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and G+; get involved with Life After Hate on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and G+. Then make sure you share with us and the rest of the world how the “basic human goodness” you find yourself surrounded by impacts you and others.
Jack Varnell is a contemporary prose poet, artist and writer living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Ga. USA Usually writing under the pseudonym "The Emotional Orphan", his first online chapbook "A Part Of All Sums" was published in June 2010. His second book "The Lexicon Of The Orphanage " is available through his website, www. emotionalorphan.net, and his photography and art through www.emotionalorphan.redbubble.com Links to all of his writing and art projects, social and professional profiles can be found at about.me/jackvarnell Professionally, he works in Social Media with special focus on Community Management and Content Curation, predominantly for The Good Men Project - www.goodmenproject.com