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.
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.