Good Men: A Letter To My Sons.

I’m a single mom to two sons. I’m also a survivor of rape and domestic violence.

I struggle to convey the importance of being a good man in a society where sexual predators are Presidents and Supreme Court Justices and where women go on national television to protect the men they know from even the threat of accountability for their actions.

In short, I worry about teaching my sons how to be good men in a society where being a man alone is what makes you good.

I used to emphasize being a good person but now I think I need to emphasize that in order to be a good man, you MUST be a good person.

So I’m penning this letter to them, tonight.

Dear Sons:

Even though you’ll always be my babies, you are also going to be men someday. And I expect you to be good men.

Good men are kind.

Good men comfort rather than bully.

Good men are respectful, gracious and patient.

Good men listen with open ears and open hearts.

Good men protect others in need–adults, children, animals.

Good men never touch a living thing in anger.

Good men don’t treat women like objects.

Good men seek consent before touching a woman (or romantic interest) and don’t resent them for having to seek it.

Good men don’t make promises they can’t keep because good men keep their promises.

Good men speak out against injustice, discrimination and abuse–even if what they say is unpopular.

Good men admit their mistakes and are unafraid to apologize.

Good men treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.

Good men try to help other men be good, just as I hope you two will always try to help each other be good.

From what I’ve taught you, and from what you’ve shown me so far, I have no doubts in your abilities to be good men. You’re already good people. Just don’t stop.





he circles me,

casting shadows,

burning my eyes.

His imperfect projections 

follow me,

pressing into

every inch

of every room,


for position,

demanding a place at the table

of my thoughts.


He is the beautiful disaster that drives us both

to tears.


Burdened by my own endless worries,

I try to convince him

he is not similarly afflicted.

Stumbling over my ghosts,

I am unsuccessful.


We are two sides of the same dizzying, spinning coin.


I am swimming against the tide of his emotional river.

I am battered by the rocks of his fears.

I am drowning in self-recrimination.

I am one breath away from going under


he reads Harry Potter to the cat,

joins the girl sitting alone in the lunchroom,

helps his teacher after class…


his earnest, honest, open heart blossoms

in front of me,

casting a warm glow on my face…

and then:

I know

we’ll be okay.