Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thomas Matlack: Balancing

Thomas Matlack of The Good Men Project joins us for a final discussion about how a child can find balance between the obligation he/she has to grow, achieve and learn for personal aspirations and a commitment to the wider community.  Balance is something we all have a hard time finding and in a culture that pushes us all to indulge and focus on ourselves, how do we teach our children the careful balance between doing for themselves and doing for others? How do we teach our children to find their identity in these rough waters? 
In two earlier posts Mr. Matlack discussed developing humility and how a young man can use his inner compass to guide his life.
Mr. Matlack co-founded The Good Men Project in 2008 and since then has appeared on national and local television and has traveled the country promoting a new kind of conversation about manhood, one that pushes men to think deeply about what they believe and how they define themselves in the twenty first century. 

What do believe is the balance between a child’s obligations to himself and the obligation he has to the community to learn, grow and become an active, productive member of society?
I don't see these obligations as being in competition with one another.  As social animals we are all individuals in a community.  As boys and men, we need to grow into our own identity but that identity is crafted in large part by how we treat the people around us, ultimately as sons, fathers, husbands and in the work place.  A key is to be the same person in each role whether out in the world, with our family at home, or alone.  So many men get in trouble by compartmentalizing and in essence living double lives.  One definition of being a "good" man is simply to live a life sticking to a single identity, a single core set of values and attributes as a boy and then man. 

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