From an interview with Junot Diaz by “The Good Men Project,” an online magazine devoted to masculinity and philanthropy.
TGMP: What advice would you give teenage boys trying to figure out what it means to be a good man?
Junot Diaz: Advice is all young people ever get. I’d rather give mentorship: a reliable, steady, supportive presence that can model productive behavior and help them navigate this crazy world.
I don’t talk much about teaching on this blog, but I think Diaz’s quote applies to the classroom as well. My best creative writing teachers also functioned as role models: obviously, I learned a lot listening to them, but I also watched what they did and it was the small details–the patience, the self-discipline, the generosity–that made the most lasting impression.
The Good Men Project also publishes fiction. You can read a story by James Franco here.