I missed a very important date last Thursday. I mentioned it on Twitter, but I’d wanted to mark it on this blog, too. My excuse is that Thursday was my first day home after five days in Ethiopia and two days running workshops for the charity partners funded by the foundation I work for. I spent Thursday getting a week’s worth of baby cuddles and slobber kisses (from Doodle Bug, not my husband. Thankfully, he doesn’t slobber.) and blowing a thousand tummy raspberries (that was for my husband. :))
Last Thursday (November 14) was StandUp Day, a day with a tragic origin but a really important message. It was the anniversary of Ben Cohen’s father’s death. Peter Cohen had courageously tried to protect an employee in his nightclub who was being attacked. He was savagely beaten into a coma and later died.
Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know that Ben went on to found the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation after he retired from rugby. His foundation funds organizations that are fighting bullying and homophobia, and he marked the anniversary of his father’s death by asking people worldwide to stand up against bullying.
He’s also taking part in Strictly Come Dancing to raise awareness of the issues surrounding bullying. Here’s his latest beautiful dance.
I mentioned in my first post about him that I’m awed by gentle men, but especially by big men for whom gentleness seems to come naturally. That dance – to one of my favorite songs – makes me want to weep.
It occurred to me that those of you who only know about Ben from this blog might never have heard him speak about his foundation. I found this video very moving, especially the part where he talks about what he wants for his daughters since, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the main thing I want for my own daughter is love.
I tried to think of what I could do to mark StandUp Day, even if I’m a few days late. Then I realized that this week is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, so I’m really not that late at all.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give away twelve months of Ben Cohen to someone who leaves a comment on this blog.
Sadly, I can’t give you the real Ben Cohen. But I can give you his calendar. Throughout 2014, Ben will hang out – in his skimpies – in your kitchen, living room, office or bedroom.
Don’t let the fully dressed cover fool you. I haven’t seen inside the calendar myself, but I have seen the making-of video. Here’s what the lucky winner is in store for.
My only question after watching that is: How do I change careers from charity work to spraybottle operator?
Here’s how you can win Ben Cohen’s calendar
I’ll choose one person who leaves a comment on this post to win the calendar. The winner will be announced on Thursday, November 28 – American Thanksgiving.
You can leave one comment a day, but please make it a thoughtful comment. Don’t spam me, please.
You can either leave a thoughtful comment of your own or answer these questions:
1. If you were to make a calendar, what would it show you doing? (My ideal calendar would show me in a different country every month. Realistically, though, I fear it would show me eating twelve kinds of cakes.)
2. What’s one thing you can do to make your world a kinder, gentler place? (I’ve noticed my tendency to call politicians bad names when I see them on TV. I’m trying to stop that because I want my daughter to know it’s never okay to call people names. We can disagree with policies and decisions, but I’m editing the personal insults out of my life.)
Good luck, and if Ben reads this, please accept my condolences on the loss of your father. I’m sure he’d be bursting with pride at how you’ve turned your personal tragedy into hope for millions of people.
I would love love to win this calendar. Ben is not only great eye candy but a wonderful man; his father raised him well. My deepest condolences to Ben and his family on the death of his Dad. He truly was a hero. May some day there will be no need to stop bullying and to have a week for acceptance of all mankind.
Here’s to Ben and Ben’s Dad!
P.S. You are announcing the winner on my Daughter’s Bday, which yes is Thanksgiving this year. And I am going to watch those videos now.
When does the dance show end? and Pls keep us posted on Ben’s progress. I wonder if there a way I can watch it in the states.
The show ends in December, Pat, just before Christmas. It’s on every Saturday night, and the BBC puts all of its videos on YouTube pretty quickly: http://www.youtube.com/user/BBC/videos
And happy (early) birthday to your daughter! Maybe you’ll win a calendar for her. 🙂
Just had to drop in and say I’m impatiently waiting for your Christmas novella. Read the first chapter last night and I want MOAR! lol Also it’s good of you to spread Ben Cohen’s message. Obviously I don’t who he is, but I can guarantee I’ll be checking out all those lovely links after dropping the kiddies at school. 😉
Aww, THANK YOU! I’m so glad you’re looking forward to Mine Under the Mistletoe.
Have fun exploring the links. 🙂
IF I had to have make a calender, I’d love to have absolutely normal pics: Me reading, me writing, me painting the living room, but I think mostly it would be me baking and/or spending time with friends. We like to socialise while cooking. 🙂
I think it’s terribly sad that Ben Cohen seems like such a special person – I mean, he is a special person, but actually he is doing very decent things that should be … sort of normal. His parents clearly raised a great person, and he is definitely actively working on being a good man.
For some reason this makes me think of my best friend’s little brother. When I first met him he was a teenager, and of course he was ultra-annoying and obnoxious (normal teenager!). Fast forward twenty years, and I am not only friends with his big sister, but also with him and his wife. He has grown up into a smart, kind, funny, generous and thouroughly decent man and father.
I enjoy seeing how this works – I know his family, I know him, and I know his children, and I can see how having great role models really influences children.
Alexandra, I know what you mean about it being sad that a decent guy is actually a huge example of how to behave.
And your calendar sounds great! Thanks for commenting!
What an amazing foundation he’s started! I’m just like you–big men who are gentle KILL ME.
So glad you brought focus to this cause, Kat. I’d never heard of it before, and I’m happy to promote it.
Thanks for spreading the word, Brighton!
I think the easiest way to change the world is by raising our children not to be just tolerant but accepting. If we’re up to a more difficult challenge, we can point out intolerance and bullying where we see it–especially when we see friends and family members practicing it. I’ve have friends and family take exception when I call them out., but I hope that when I put it in terms they understand, it makes an impression.
Samantha, I think friends and family can sometimes be the hardest people to stand up to. Good for you for doing it! That takes strength.
What a wonderful article. And Ben is a wonderful human, the world needs more Bens (wouldn’t hurt if they all looked as good as this Ben!)
A calender with me would be me in my medicine wheel garden. Each month showing the progression of one season to the next, that circle of life that just keeps turning. Nature is calming and soothing and grounding.
What an amazing calendar, Susan! I love that idea.
My calendar would be me knitting twelve different projects each using the fleece from a different breed of sheep while surrounded by the breed of sheep I’m knitting with.
I’m glad you asked this question. Honestly, I never knew I had such a specific calendar idea in me!
That sounds so cool! And I had no idea there were that many breeds of sheep. 🙂
There are hundreds of breeds of sheep and the wool varies a lot from breed to breed. I could go on for ages, singing the praises of sheep!
I’m loving reading about all the different calendar ideas.
I would want my calendar to be wifi enabled and friends and family back home can upload pictures of themselves doing ordinary or just anything to a website that then shows me a different picture each day. I dont need to be alerted that a new pic is on the site so there is a nice surprise of a new puppy pic from my best friend of a new dish from my sister etc. They should also have the same device so I can do the same for them.
Wow! This totally puts to shame my cake-of-the-month calendar. Sounds like a brilliant idea, Thea!
Ben sounds like an amazing man – and not too hard on the eyes either. LOL.
My 40th Bday is Nov 28 – Thanksgiving this year and since I cannot have Ben in the flesh, would love to have him in calendar form. If I win, my mom will probably try to steal it.
If I had a calendar of me, it would show me cooking and reading, 2 of my favorite things. And it would also include pix of myself with my great grandaughter who is 5 – I love her to pieces. And I am not too old to enjoy a calendar of Ben, LOL.
If Ben does stop by, I’m really sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is a really hard thing.
Let’s see…I’m not a very cool person, so I don’t think I would ever do anything that someone would want to see for 12 months. I guess reading could be attractive.
But as far as the world a kinder place…Everyday I try to teach my daughter that not everyone is as lucky as she is and that she should ALWAYS treat people the way she wants to be treated. So far, she’s a pretty sweet ten year old.
As a gay man it is amazingly heartwarming to see a man, gay or straight, standing up against homophobia like Ben is doing. His attitude and tollerence should be applauded by all, and his kids are some of the luckiest in the world to have parents who will bring them up to be tolerant and accepting of people for whatever and whoever they are and not discriminate for who they fall in love with.
My ideal calendar? Well it has already been created, what more could you want then Ben Cohen on my wall every day for 12 months.
Oh and it was a tragedy that he was voted off Strictly Come Dancing this week, Saturday nights are going to be a lot mess interesting now 🙁
Neil, I agree 100% with everything you’ve said.
Here’s to you Ben, for being a wonderful man. What a wonderful thing you are doing with the foundation. May one day, we can look back and say ‘what sad times they were when people were being bullied for being different or for no reason at all. And thank God that no longer exists.”
maybe a flower calendar
One day I will live in a world where we can be who we want to be without being criticised, harassed, bullied or humiliated. It’s a simple thing to dream of. One day. One day…..