Tender Lions…Rise Up

At times like this I have to remind myself to be a Tender Lion. For those who are new readers, in February 2019 my son, Jeff and I published Tender Lions: Building the Vital Relationships Between Father and Son. A tender lion is both tender and tough, soft and strong, caring and courageous…and not only knows when to use which trait, but willingly does so.

The tender lion leads wherever they are…in their business, community, church, and especially their home. And their action is not about gaining respect or notoriety, or improving their position. It’s doing what’s right because, well…it’s the right thing to do.

At times like this (COVID-19, mass protests – (the photo above was taken yesterday not far from my home), economic calamity, climate change, etc. etc.) I can find myself frustrated, angry, afraid, and often dumbfounded at the actions of our political leaders. And…I was reminded (Thanks to my friend Gary) that when I get stuck in anger or blame or despair, I need to be aware of the questions that rattle around in my head. Life is about choices, so will I ask myself…

  1. Why are things so messed up? or What can I do to make things better?
  2. Why would someone intentionally burn out a local business person and neighbor? or What makes an urban young man so desperate and angry that he’d risk his life for so little payoff?
  3. How long will this looting and violence last? or What can I do today to be a healing agent in my community?
  4. Why don’t all lives matter or What can I do to best promote #BlackLivesMatter?

Father’s Day is around the corner. So dads…at this existential crossroads what do you want your kids to remember about you from the year 2020? Will they remember that you were a tender lion? That you stood up and made a difference in your community, church, or business, or will they recall that you pulled down the shades and binge-watched all 172 episodes of Seinfeld…and abdicated your values and influence as you became a silent spectator in the face of real societal crisis?

When dads (and moms, and aunts and uncles, for that matter) raise tender lions, they make a courageous, conscious and sometimes difficult choice to raise sons and daughters that become smart, responsible kids, who in turn are active, moral, engaged and motivated citizens, and that in turn changes society and the world for good.

Today, I encourage you to not hold onto the past or complain about the present. (I have to take my own advice here.) Use all of your God-given skills and resources to change the present for the sake of the future…right where you are. Use your voice, hands, feet, ears, prayers, dollars, your political and corporate influence to make a difference in this world. What will be your next tender lionsteps?

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