I think that it’s safe to say that many men loathe shaving each morning, and “No Shave November” is a perfect excuse for men to forgo this morning ritual. Although social media has helped to explode this concept in the past few years, this ritual has its roots in 2003, when 30 Australians decided to raise awareness of men’s cancer issues, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Although I admire the cause, I can’t help but feel that most of my friends and colleagues who skip shaving for these 30 days don’t really get much out of it except for talking about their manly beards. This doesn’t really help the fundamental cause and the cancer issues that face us men. I hate shaving, and I think that my face is better suited to sporting a goatee than smooth skin. I however, will not be participating in Movember this year, and I’d like you to think about some other things that could make a bigger impact in your world.
Here is a list of things that you can actively do for Movember:
1. Check yourself – If we fundamentally look at Movember, we’re trying to protect guys from prostate and testicular cancer. Do you know the signs and risk factors? Do you know how to self-examine? Let’s start with raising awareness at home. Fathers, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men between 15 and 35. It is also highly treatable when found early! Have you talked about this with your sons? Prostate cancer is typically diagnosed in older men, and there is a 1 in 6 chance that you’ll be impacted by this disease. As you reach your 40’s, you need to start talking with your health care providers. Again, this cancer is highly treatable when found early!
2. Make or buy dinner – Do you know someone that is going through cancer treatments right now? Make them a healthy dinner, or go buy dinner from a nice restaurant and bring it home to them. Cancer Patients (I prefer the term Cancer Warriors) have a lot to manage each day. Dinner is important both from a nutritional perspective and a family time perspective. Help ease their daily burden just once and provide dinner.
3. Rake leaves – It is fall in much of the country. If you know someone with cancer, grab a couple of buddies, some rakes and yard bags, and go to your friend’s home. Unannounced. Clean up the yard and take away the leaves. It's even better to do this if your friend isn't at home. Don’t take credit. Just do it. Your cancer warrior friend has bigger battles ahead than dealing with their fallen leaves.
“There is no limit to the good that you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” – Gen George C. Marshall
4. Donate $30 to the ACS – The American Cancer Society is the "Official Sponsor of Birthdays". Their mission is to help fight cancer in every way possible. They help patients, caregivers, and researchers. Take $1 for each day that you would not shave and send it to the American Cancer Society. They are a fantastic organization. They help cancer research for all body parts, too!
5. Don’t Ask, Just Do – Anything, really. Do you have an idea to help a Cancer Warrior? Act now. Just do it. Above all, don’t say to them, “Let me know if you need anything.” This puts the burden back on to the Cancer Warrior. There is a lot to manage in their lives, and frankly, it’s easier for that person to shrink away from letting you know how completely overwhelmed they feel. They need help with everything during treatment.
6. Help the caregiver – Take the caregiver out for coffee, or a movie. The caregiver is stressed, too. The caregiver needs a little break. Help them step out of this situation for just a little while. Listen. Show compassion. Be a friend.
7. Shave – Really, we don't look all that good with uncontrolled facial hair.
There are many ways to prove your manhood. Growing a beard for 30 days is passive.