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Nick is a school/camp administrator, teacher, coach, and the founder of GoodMenders LLC: building better culture for educational equity.

I was walking my golden retriever, Winni, listening to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, RBG had died three days before, and the sun was rising. During that walk, I decided I was going to start a “project,” not because of any of those things but because my first child was on the way, and those things also happened to be happening.

My mind was ablaze. If I was a scientist, I’d say something like, “Give me the samples! I’m making a COVID vaccine!” If scientists said things like that, which I’m sure they don’t. As an English teacher…

A tug of war between masculinity and athletics and remembering why we play

What can coaches and athletes learn from Mbuti tug of war? What is there to learn? You play to win. That’s the point, right? The Mbuti — one of the oldest indigenous groups in the Congo region of Africa — know that survival requires balance.

They will pick up a rope with men on one side and women on the other. Let’s say the men are losing. They are digging their heels in the earth. They lean back and try to pull the rope closer, but the force of the women is too strong. They are going to lose! …

Rituals, principles, and road maps that don’t cancel men

Let’s start with some numbers. This winter I created a one-minute Gender Stereotypes in Society Survey to see if I could identify any trends worth further investigation. Of 83 participants, 47 identified as men, and 87% of them were under the age of 34. Here’s what caught my eye with the men:

  • 38.3% of surveyed men agreed that gender stereotypes are mostly accurate, 42.56% felt they needed to live up to those stereotypes, and 87.24% said that gender stereotypes are harmful.
  • 80.85% of men believed they could change gender stereotypes, but only 38.3% …

Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash

It’s wonderful to capture a moment with a picture but more common to ruin one. Here’s an example. I’m quarantining at home, being a responsible citizen, purging old clothes and electronics while I listen to an audio book on minimalism, re-watching Fargo (the TV series), when I decide I’ll do 20 minutes of meditation. After all, Chris Bailey told me I’d get 9 minutes back for each minute I meditate.

After fighting off the urge to buy a meditation bench — nice try, Chris — I sit on a yoga block and set my timer. About 3 seconds in, Winni…

WARNING: Another leadership life hack article? Curious Reader, rest assured, I write this with you in mind. Be quick. To the point. Elegant and enjoyable. Like a tiny overpriced beverage that your friend gave you for free! Let’s begin by processing that 50% of employees quit their job because of their managers (according to Gallup). This stuff is important, and I like to think that we can do better than a coin flip after a couple hundred thousand years of modern humanity, but who’s counting? To improve the odds, cross three no-no’s off your naughty list, and make three leadership…

Photo by archi archiba on Unsplash

Leadership is like food.

1. We need it.

2. It’s perishable.

3. Healthy is the future.

“Someone has to take responsibility for being a leader.” –Toni Morrison

That’s a great nugget. Not a wasted word, and it rings the bell, slaps the face, strips the bed, what have you. If we lived in a utopia, we’d be all set — but we don’t. The world needs leadership because it has problems, and we need people who want to solve them. Most people aspire to be considered a leader, but how many achieve that status?

Evan Sinar of the Global Leadership…

Photo by Dom Gould from Pexels

I finished reading Speak with my English class and took off running, trying not to inhale my mask, backpack bouncing against my back. There is no pretty way to run with a backpack. I had a Zoom call with Bouchra and Clémentine, representing The Urban Woman in Belgium. We were discussing how men and women might collaborate to speed up gender equality.

Up until I started GoodMenders, I held a pretty strict no-social-media policy. I used Facebook to remember birthdays and made a LinkedIn profile because my college career office told me to. But, thanks to my business LinkedIn page…

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

When I was a senior in high school, I told my English teacher that I didn’t read the books. She smiled and told me she could tell. We were sitting on the bleachers after a Socratic seminar — what is it about bleachers and moments? The book I remember not reading the most was 1984. I got as far as man and woman meet for a fling in a field or something before I decided to let old George rest.

Thinking I’d be The Man by not caring too much about school and still doing fine, I took pride in…

Photo by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash

I live in Canaan, NH, and there is a Black Lives Matter gathering in the center of town every Thursday night this summer. I’ve been a couple of times. It’s about 30–40 people. We hold signs and stand on the side of the road. Then, we pack up and go home.

There are just under 4,000 residents in Canaan, but there’s a steady flow of traffic on Route 4 as people are making their 5:00 PM commute. The responses are mixed. They range from the waves and honks and fists–to the middle fingers and exhaust-spewing peel outs and “Says who?!”…

for Tony Hoagland

At a college poetry reading, I got to speak with the late Tony Hoagland. He’s one of my favorite poets, but of that conversation, I remember almost nothing. What I do remember, quite often, is the message he wrote in my copy of Donkey Gospel (epic title).

For Nick, Great wishes of good writing and teaching to you. Be fierce!

He knew I was taking creative writing and was planning on being a teacher, so that makes sense, but be fierce? Like a tiger?

Those who know me, besides some who saw my dark side as a…

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