Tag: vulnerability

A former student returns to talk about_______.


As I’m packing up my bag to go home for the day, a former student is suddenly framed in my classroom door. “Mr. Armstrong!” We smile, hug, sit down, and a few minutes into the visit the former student clears their throat and says, “Can I ask you something?” “Sure.” “Do you think about ______.” […]

Be the hero of your own story


Be the hero of your own story Your life is a story. A story played by three familiar characters: The hero The hero is brave and courageous. Not always but on most days they try.  The hero embraces their weaknesses and vulnerability. They pursue passions. And listen. And forgive. They enjoy people. Talking and laughing […]

Surviving shame: Learning to forgive yourself


Surviving shame: Learning to forgive yourself How do you survive shame? Forgive yourself. To gather research for my book I’ve been interviewing young men and asking, “Do you practice self-forgiveness?” After 62 interviews, 59 men interview said, “No.” When I asked why not, the most common two answers were: they were ashamed to they had […]

It’s the response that matters


It’s the response that matters It was a tradition of sorts. In the initial months following my diagnosis, after each doctor’s appointment, I would go to the bar Given my deteriorating health, a few pints, and a plate of fried pickles was not the most constructive response, but sometimes nothing soothes a fractured soul like the […]

To be found again


To be found again It’s September 11, 2019 and I’m 39. I’m in my writing room–writing– because that’s what I do and because the last few days have been hard. My children started at a new school. Cindy started a new job. And I am back in the classroom teaching. Our schedules are packed with […]

50 things (we hope) our children learned this summer


50 things (we hope) our children learned this summer Cindy and I are not the “Parents of the Year.”  We are just as confused, distracted, overwhelmed, stressed as other parents.  Most days we parent on a wing and a prayer and a beer. Most days we are frauds. Some days our children don’t shower. Some […]

My friend is dead but I’m bring her back to life (or Voodoo)


My friend is dead but I’m bringing her back to life (or Voodoo) For Susan Parker–“Slow down, you crazy child…” And thanks for “fucking” loving me.  On Saturday, a former student emailed me at 2 am to say she’s leaving for Colorado State University in a few hours and can’t find her Creative Writing final, […]

The 100% Lie


The 100% Lie Perhaps the greatest lie of the 21st century is: If you just drink this drink, take this pill, buy this car then you will feel great. Ingest this, buy that and all your aches, pains, sufferings as well as– your failures, regrets, worries, and burdens will magically melt away and you will […]

Book Update: The Specialness that Young Men Crave


Book Update: The Specialness that Young Men Crave I’m writing a book for young men about young men and their mental health. The working title is “Why are the Suburban Boys Killing Themselves?” The book was inspired by the life and death of one of my students and the growing mental health crisis facing young […]

Goodbye Room A-205


Goodbye Room A-205 For the past 13 years Room A-205 has been my classroom. However, due to some logistical changes coming next school year, I accepted to move to a new classroom. I’m just down the hall but as my long-time hallway neighbor joked, “it’s like being a thousand miles away.” A-205 was the first […]