Family

Dear Dad, I am writing about what it means to be a man. You are, for me, the best example of a man I respect. You have led our family and community in so many ways during the past 60 plus years. As I have learned from you, I want Good Men Project readers to learn from me. What have you done that has made you a man worthy of such respect and admiration? You Made Visions Real You were instrumental as President of the school board in building a second high school in our hometown — the only suburban district to have a second high school. It wasn’t a popular choice for many in the community, including me. I had lifelong friends headed to the other high school and remember upon hearing the news when I was in grade school, crying on your bed. It was a tough call but your foresight...
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Dear Pa, I know you care deeply about many issues, especially social justice. You’re tired of wars, you’re ashamed of the attempts to destroy social programs in this country, you hate seeing the unions that helped you as a worker provide for our family get dismantled by wealthy CEOs whose only goal is to make themselves and their cronies more wealthy. These are noble things to believe in, and values that you’ve instilled in your children. But you probably don’t often consider how you select and digest (and frequently, share on Facebook) the stories that you’ll accept as true. This is called cognitive bias – sorry, that’s a terrible article for a layman, but I’d be happy to discuss next time I’m home. Anyway, the bottom line is that the beliefs you already hold prime you to accept...
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Dear Brandon, On the afternoon of Eliza’s birthday, as I visited you and your girls in the delivery room, you made a request. You said, “Remind us in six weeks how excited we are right now.” I’m writing this for December 1t, when Eliza will be six weeks old. I suspect that the six-week mark won’t be as trying for you and Olivia as it was with Clive. Way back then, you were brand new parents, blindsided by exhaustion and adjustment. But I’d be happy to remind you of what I observed on October 20; just a little dose of that happiness will make up for sleep loss. Eliza’s tiny head, topped with dark, feather-like hair, fit in your hand. You cradled her carefully as she stuck out her strawberry-red tongue and made hungry noises. Her face was completely round: chubby cheeks and...
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To my Brothers, We need your help. I am running out of excuses to explain why men, specifically men of color, are not stepping up to the plate to be the fathers and role models we promised we would be. As young men we promised ourselves we’d be different. We’d be different than many of our fathers were to us. I don’t know what happened along the way. Why didn’t we live up to that promise? I don’t know why we lied to our children, to our women, and to ourselves. It hurts when I go to parent-teacher night and the only people I see talking about their children’s education are mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. Where the hell are you men? I get that we have to work, we have to grind… I get it. I understand she “did you dirty”. I feel you when you say she has a new man. But let...
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Dear Jaden, I know that having a seven-year age gap between us sometimes makes our relationship hard, but I hope you know how much I love you. I understand why you think all I do is constantly judge you and tell you what to do, but I truly only do it because I care about you so much. I don’t think I tell you enough how talented you are and how many great qualities you possess. You are so full of energy and able to make friends quickly because of your outgoing personality. The fact that you’re already a better skier than me, having only started two years ago, just shows how quickly you pick up new skills, which is something I’m extremely jealous of. You not only are talented, but you are also smart and loving. The fact that you’re already 13 scares me because it makes me realize how...
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Dear Other Other Mother, If I were you I’d be really mad at me. Actually, I was in an eerily similar situation a while back and I was quite mad at the other potential-other mother who didn’t seem to care about my heart. But as far as I can tell and you’ve said, you’re not mad. That means a lot, because I really didn’t go into this to make any enemies. You said you’re not mad, just hurt. I can imagine the hurt. I really, really can imagine. In fact, so many times we’ve almost walked away for that reason. At the very beginning I told myself that as long as we knew baby sister was safe, we wouldn’t fight for her. We’d leave it alone and walk away. There were several weeks of uncertainty between her birth announcement and learning about her whereabouts. We prayed hard for her every...
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Dear daughter, I no longer see the mirror shelf lined up with your array of kaajal pencils. Your room stays unusually clean. We miss being constantly pestered. Those times when you drop by for a few days? They are the most terrible, because after you are gone we don’t even have the task of waiting for you on our minds. They say when your daughter is married you lose her to someone else. How is this any different? We barely get to see you or talk to you all that much, at least not like earlier days. I feel like we have already married you off to your independence. Although this sounds like complaining, I really am not complaining – because I was the one who always wanted you to have everything I didn’t. I wanted you to be armed for all battles that you may never have to face. I...
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i wonder what happened to us. i used to be your sidekick back then to get some chocolates and fruits in our own fridge when we were under the care of our relatives and to eavsdrop on their talks late at night... those time we played "guess the commercials" and whoever wins will get hold of the remote...those time we argue on who will mix the ingredients and stuff.. i get jealous when i see those pictures of yours with some of your friends because lucky they are,they're in a picture with you...because i myself have forgotten the lastime we had picture together. im also jealous whenever you tell someone take care and something like that because i havent heard it from you telling it to me. yes, we live on the same house but we rarely talk... when someone asked me what is my...
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Dear Family, It seems like I can never catch a break. Everything I touch seems to crumble and I'm always trying to fix things but it always seems like everything just gets worse. Everyone expects so much out of me and they often forget I'm human too. While I understand it's common behavior to point out everyone else's flaws but your own, I just can't seem to get over how people treat me. I have one year left of my "teenage years" and I can honestly say I've wasted what was supposed to be "some of the greatest years of your life," doing nothing of what a typical teenager does. I've never even dated anyone because I've never had the time to and the thought of anyone meeting my family is just unfathomable. Most times, my family can be so judgmental and self-absorbed that I'm...
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You are safe at school now. I like walking you there because I get to hear more about what you are thinking and there is space for me to listen. And I understand more about how you see the world at ten, nine and six. 'Why the hell would you buy a car the same colour as your kid's hair?' It is not exactly insightful stuff. But if these are your biggest worries, I am serving you well. I won't always be here to do that. We know Mum's doctor says her epilepsy will get her one day. Fruit loops say Karma will. But either way, I wanted to write down a few things for you to remember as you get bigger: - Never trust a zebra crossing. Just because they are named after a friendly animal, doesn't mean drivers accord them the same respect. The one near your school is lethal. Think Guardian,...
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