The first Good Souls event was in February 2019. This personal story is from Ben and is his story:

It has been quite a journey for Ben to write this. This deserves your full attention.

Entering Good Souls for the first time I felt as though I was well equipped and very well prepared! I hadn’t expected anything extraordinary to happen.

Oh, how I was wrong!

Gathering in the woods was easier for me than many others, I’d describe the forest as my natural habitat, much more so than the small village I live in, the town I drive through each day and the city that I can see on the horizon on my walks over the hills.

I’d also had the benefit of knowing how the session would be ‘facilitated’ and what questions would be asked:

‘What does it mean to be a man?’


‘Was there a moment in your life when you felt you became a man?’

Although it was explained that polished answers weren’t required, I already had a couple ready…..which is why I was shocked by what came out of my mouth when I chose to speak:

In response to the first question I had planned to talk about being a good Dad and taking care of my family, but instead I began telling a story about an experience I had in a public swimming pool earlier that week. I was in the shower with my daughter, who was screaming the place down as she always does while having her hair washed. Next to me was another man with his young son who was also screaming the place down while having his hair washed. In a nutshell the man’s response to his son, in a number of harsh ways was to “stop being so soft”. I was trying not to be judgmental when he turned to my screaming daughter with a smile and said “aren’t you being brave?”

I went on to explain to the group how this experience had made me consider the expectations we have of boys and men and how we, sometimes unknowingly send them spinning from one generation to another.

As other men in the circle discussed this I was drawn into a moment of reflection, firstly about why I had shared that, then secondly about my own family, my Dad and Grandad.

As a young boy with ears pricked I had listened carefully and soaked in every element of the story that was spun of who they both were. Hard hitting, no nonsense blokes who you’d want to have on your side when leaving the pub on a dark night. I was told the story of how my Grandad suffered a broken nose when a gang of five men jumped him from behind, that nose was always a badge of honour to me. I listened to stories of how my Dad marshalled the football pitch, taking no prisoners with every tackle. As the stories developed over the years so did their characters and of course I couldn’t wait to take my place on stage alongside them, I couldn’t wait to become the ‘hard as nails’, no nonsense man that I was destined to be!

With such strong role models is it possible for something different to materialise?

In my case it was.

I was snapped out of my reflection by the facilitator suggesting the next question.

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