I copped a real poser recently – a great question that has seeped into my mind and heart. It went something like this…

What are the characteristics of a good man?

I was asked this during a phone interview for The Mercury in Tasmania.

So many questions shoot off from this. Can’t the same characteristics be those of a good woman? How is it possible to be definitive?

I remember running a panicky inner dialogue something along these lines, “Oh no, that’s a tough one… c’mon Bill you’re the parent-child program guy… you should know the answer… all your work started in the father-son area… she’s trying to write some good news about the two boys’ schools you work for in Tassie… c’mon Bill, say something profound and expert-y’.

My recollection is suggesting something about how a good man can regulate his anger. A lot of blokes push all of their emotions through the funnel of anger because paradoxically, anger feels ‘safe’ – it is standard ‘bloke’ mode…. and just because your blogger runs parent-child programs, doesn’t mean he doesn’t go ‘off-tap’ on occasions. C’mon – I’ve got two teenage kids!

I think I might have said something about the man, who is a dad, giving his kids time… not even quality time, just time.

That’ll do I thought. In one sense, the answer given captured the two things I have to say (at this stage) to parents…

1. No one is perfect.
2. Half the battle is ‘being there’.

But many men are not parents. So the question… ‘what are the characteristics of a good man?’, has stayed with me.

The thought has occurred that many would have their own answer to this question. So this week, I’ll be blogging a fraction more than usual. The journalist asked a fine question. I suspect that my own answer will always be incomplete but I’ll give you what I’ve got after the next few posts. The next posts will present the answers some others have offered – some men and some Year 7 boys who wrote their thoughts on this theme at a recent Time & Space program in Ballarat.

And feel free to offer your own answer here in the space below – ‘What are the characteristics of a good man?’

Bill Jennings