66 posts in category Tender Lions

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Mind the Gap

Recently the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic (and others) published startling statistics about how poorly boys and young men are doing in the academic realm. The gap is serious and has been growing for decades. Girls out-perform boys in math, reading and science in almost every single zip code in the United States, and many other countries, as well, where equal access to education is fostered. Comparing drop out rates, college admission rates, college grades and completion…women are ...

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10 Things Every Dad Should Model for his Son

Since Jeff and I started writing Tender Lions, we’ve been immersed in reading, research and observing the behavior of dads and sons. The list below are common sense things, that upon closer inspection appear to not be so common as one might hope. Over 35% of boys in the United States don’t live with their dads, and another significant percentage have one who may be physically present but emotionally absent. Thus, a high percentage of boys just don’t have many positive male role ...

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The Power of Love

That great philosopher, Huey Lewis in his 1985 hit song, The Power of Love, sang: “The power of love is a curious thing, Make a one man weep, make another man sing. Change a hawk to a little white dove, More than a feeling, that's the power of love.” The phrase “change a hawk to a little white dove” is the one that affects me most. Many in leadership today try (unsuccessfully) to lead from a position of domination. Their actions demonstrate that they think by pushing someone ...

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Here’s To My Heroes!

Does “award season” lasts all year now? It feels like there’s an onslaught of award shows (Oscars, Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild, Grammys, Tonys, CMA, MTV, and the EIEIO…okay, I made that one up) that lift up America’s most famous people as if there were heroes. After the last year (for almost everyone on the globe) due to COVID isolation, and many trying to “drive” to the end of the internet, a little entertainment isn’t the worst idea. But I am not a fan of making ...

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The Danger of Certainty

For those who are reading my blog for the first time…thanks for your interest in this vitally important topic. Each message is intended to help you raise your kids (primarily boys) to be Tender Lions…to be tough, decisive, brave, discerning …and to be tender, sensitive, empathetic, and vulnerable. In the last few years (if you’re paying attention at all you already know this) our society is increasingly more chaotic, divided, racist, polarized and examples of hate are plentiful. So ...

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7 Vital Lessons Learned from Dr. Deborah Birx

Recently I watched a riveting interview with Dr. Deborah Birx, former leader of the White House Coronavirus Response Taskforce. Her way of dealing with a very challenging situation illustrated a number of vital leadership qualities, particularly needed in our fragile and fractured country today. To see the interview just click here. By the way, the lessons listed below are my observations not hers. Calm Under Pressure – When you’re in the public eye and how you appear is just as ...

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Apocalypse Now All Over Again or 7 Lessons for my Son from this Week in History (6 min. read)

Most people associate the word “apocalypse” with a disaster or horrible event nearing the end of times. Actually, the word means “to uncover” or “an unveiling.” My hope is that this blog will provide some “unveiling” for you. If you’re a new reader this blog is about raising a boy to be a “Tender Lion,” and how to do that in a very challenging world. This last week brought with it some terribly challenging events, and I’m predicting that the coming weeks will bring ...

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Seven Lessons Learned in Bed about Generosity

As a small boy, late at night I recall overhearing my mom and dad have intense discussions, that at first seemed like arguments. As I listened more closely from my bed, I discovered that they were discussing about whether or not they would tithe during months when they had little income as poor farmers. Each time, my parents would end up writing checks to the church and other organizations they cared about first, and then paying their other bills. This was a lesson that went deep into my ...

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An Answer For What Ails Us…

When I was a boy all the big decisions in politics, religion, business and my local community were made by people that looked, acted and believed the same thing as my dad. They were white, religious, married and conservative. Even the radicals were conservatives. It wasn’t their fault. To not be that way would have been like trying to escape gravity. While I am very grateful for my local upbringing, it also had built into it some faulty and ugly beliefs about race, religion and ethnici...

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The Yoke…Surrender is the Best Path Forward

When I was a kid my dad told me stories of his youth when he was a farm boy during the Great Depression. He explained how they placed yokes on two cows to do their plowing. The images in my head looked painful and abusive to me. That’s because I was, incorrectly, associating the farm yokes with how the pilgrims used stocks to punish and shame people in the public square. A calf placed in the yoke with the older cow wasn’t placed there for punishment, but rather as a teaching guide. The ...

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