Man Up for Change

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

With Father’s Day around the corner, my thoughts are focused on what it means to be a good father and a good man in this world.  For those who have not yet heard, The Good Men Project has created a rich forum for these questions and has just launched a magazine delving into issues such as men’s health, relationships, sexuality, ethics, and boys/adolescence.  From what I’ve seen so far, I appreciate the initiative’s willingness to go broad in eliciting a diversity of stories and perspectives.  Furthermore, The Good Men Foundation has dedicated itself to helping organizations and efforts that provide educational, social, financial, and legal support to men and boys at risk.

One question that I have not seen addressed head on in the blog posts and comments submitted on the GMP website is, “What does it mean to be a man in the movement(s) for social change?”  What does it mean to be a good man for good?  Given that there is much, in my opinion, about masculinity and some of its chosen expressions that have contributed to historic and ongoing oppression and desecration, what does it look like to leverage the best of what it means to be a man towards a more just and sustainable world?

While I am still sorting this out, what I can articulate at this point is that, for me, it has something to do with tapping an ethic of  protecting or safeguarding (human rights, collective livelihood, biodiversity), as well as the instinct to build, to be creative and constructive of new more inclusive and life giving possibilities.

What about you?  What are your thoughts?  What does it mean to be a man for change?

And Happy Father’s Day!

No Comments

  • Meghan says:

    Great thoughts, Curtis. The Good Men Project has been a good friend of Sport in Society’s over the past year, where we have leveraged the power of sport and athletes to promote social justice.

    You may also want to check out the Man Up Campaign(, focused on engaging young men (and women) in ending violence against women. We are excited to be traveling to South Africa over the next few weeks to facilitate workshops at their global summit, where they will harness the global power of the World cup to engage young leaders to stand up and speak out about violence against women.

  • Curtis Ogden says:


    Thanks for the comment and for the information about the Man Up Campaign. Would love to hear about how the summit and workshops go in South Africa. Best to you and your team!


  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    My pastor–Bryan Wilkerson–mentioned this project this morning. He’s doing a series from the book of Proverbs entitled “Good People are Hard to Find” and of course, today was about good men. Of all the things that Proverbs teaches about being a good man or woman, he picked out 3 to highlight. I think they have relevance for being a man or woman “for good” as you described above.

    1) A good man is teachable.
    I think the connection of this one to social change work is obvious. We need the humility to recognize we don’t have all the answers and the good sense to seek wisdom.

    2) A good man learns how to control his anger.
    This might have a less obvious connection, but I think that so much of the passion for social change work comes from a righteous indignation and even anger at unjust and unsustainable practices and conditions.

    3) A good man invests in the next generation.
    This seems pretty clearly connected to being a man or woman for good. As a song tribute to Ella Baker says, “Struggling myself don’t mean a whole lot, I’ve come to realize. It’s teaching others to stand and fight, it’s the only way our struggle survives.” Not only do we need to invest in the growth and development of the next generation, we need to act now to invest in the future planet that we’ll be handing to that generation as well!


    For full sermon, check out 6/20/10 at


  • Curtis says:

    Thank you, Cynthia. I very much like those three points, and I think the second one is especially worthy of men’s attention. Tempered and gracefully channeled indignation is certainly a life’s work.

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