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Last week we had the privilege of presenting our Tender Lions keynote address to almost 400 Tender Lions at an awesome event called The Man Feast. Part of our presentation involves doing an anonymous survey asking what kind of issues they may be wrestling with. The results were sobering.
Check out the survey results. Each man was asked to simply check the box next to the statement if it applied to him.
- 45% The relationship I have with my father has never been what I had hoped for.
- 42% I feel like a fraud, feeling like a failure or incapable of my role at home and/or at work.
- 84% I wish I had a stronger relationship with God.
- 57% I’m ashamed of things I’ve done. I now feel trapped and am afraid to tell the truth.
- 42% I struggle with pornography, alcohol, and/or drugs.
- 36% I am very frustrated with the relationship with my son/daughter.
- 18% I am struggling in my marriage and/or afraid it will not survive.
- 39% I struggle with mental health issues and it affects my mood, behavior, and relationships with my family.
(This is not to be considered research, but a random sampling of a typical male group.)
Our personal experience and research tell us that many men today are having difficulty with vulnerability, are more withdrawn and have few true friends. Many of them are suffering in silence, and need safe, confidential and relational places to connect with other men who are committed to being a tender lion.
We want you to know that while this can seem overwhelming, this group of men left our presentation full of hope and knowing that they were not alone. We gave them ideas and motivation to help them move to a better place.
We talked openly about the importance of three things:
- Honesty – Finding a safe, confidential place for complete honesty. It’s vitally important. “The truth will set you free.” It may not be easy, but it will set you free.
- Help – Reach out. Friends, counselors, pastors, recovery groups are there and experienced to provide needed help. Those who reach out are not weak…they’re smart and they’re courageous. Courage is not the lack of fear, it’s acting in the face of fear.
- Humility – It’s easy for our fear, pride or ego to keep us from stepping from the dark places into the light. Take it slow and give yourself some grace, but by all means take action, and do so with a sense of humility.
Remember that it’s never too late to take the first step in the right direction. And it’s too important to leave this to chance. Be intentional…be a Tender Lion!
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