20 posts in category Tender Lions

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My 18 Months in Prison – as told by Jeff Becker

Jeff: For 18 months I worked as a Juvenile Justice Specialist for the State of Illinois Juvenile Justice System at a maximum security prison for teenage girls. These girls were sentenced to prison for offenses including: assault, theft, drugs, arson, and murder. My job consisted of making sure the kids got from one place in the prison to another without fighting or arguing, and making sure they followed the rules. Each day, for 18 months, was mind-numbingly the same. Arrive at 5:40 a.m., ...

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The Unspoken Epidemic Called Fatherlessness

Three years ago, when Jeff and I started writing Tender Lions: Building the Vital Relationship Between Father and Son, we knew that we had an important story to tell because of our own life experience. What we didn't realize were the reams of supporting research that we would discover. Over and over again we read and heard information that supported our premise that boys that don't have a healthy relationship with their fathers run into all kinds of risk factors. What follows are just some ...

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A Time for Roots Rituals and Rites of Passage

“When a man's life becomes an adventure, the whole thing takes on a transcendent purpose when he releases control in exchange for the recovery of the dreams in his heart.” – John Eldredge I clearly remember the day my dad said to me, “Brian, you’re driving a load of wheat to the elevator, today.” There was a lot packed in that one sentence for a young farm boy. It meant that at the age of 12, for the very first time, my dad trusted me to drive the tractor and wagon containing ...

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Lessons from Alexander Hamilton

In the block buster musical, Hamilton, the song "It's Quiet Uptown" reveals one of the most important and powerful things that happened to Alexander Hamilton in his life. He was a driven workaholic. He was arrogant, dominant, and unfaithful at least once. Moreover, Hamilton is largely responsible for the attitude that drove his son, Phillip, to a duel leading to his death.  The song tells the story of how Hamilton and his wife are experiencing something “unimaginable.” But then, over ...

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Happy Father’s Day For Those Who Think They’re Done

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong.” – Charles Wadsworth My friend Dan said to me, “I thought I was done raising my boys when they were in high school. They become more independent, didn’t rely on me for much and stopped coming to me for advice.” Now Dan is a great dad who really cares about his boys, but it made me wonder how many other dads feel that they’re job is done once their sons stop asking for ...

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The Importance of Vulnerability – The Brad Cesmat Show Sports 360 AZ Interview with Jeff & Brian

My son, Jeff, and I were interviewed yesterday by Brad Cesmat on his Sports 360 AZ radio show. I was all prepared to talk about the O.C.P. (overly competitive parents) culture that is now, unfortunately, deeply embedded in the youth sports ethos. What I didn’t know was that Brad’s father walked out on him and his family when he was nine years old, which Brad revealed in the first minute of the interview. Our thirty-minute conversation revolved around the implications for young boys who ...

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Embracing the Adventure…With Caution

“A man is never more man than when he embraces an adventure beyond his control, or when he walks into a battle he isn't sure of winning.” - John Eldredge, author of Wild At Heart This week it was Jeff and my pleasure to be interviewed on “The Common Good” AM1160 by Brian From and Ian Simkins. They’re both young dads and were struck by my vulnerability and willingness to talk about the serious mistakes I’d made in the past. Part of my problem early in life was that I was too ...

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It’s Your Son’s Journey…Not Yours!

Alan Stein is one of the most well-known sports performance trainers in the world. In the January 2016 issue of Pure Sweat Basketball Stein writes: “Rule #1 and debatably the most common theme I see with parent/youth-athlete relationship is parents, you must embrace the fact that this is your child’s journey – not yours. Do not live vicariously through them. Put your focus on being a supportive and encouraging parent.” Parents should play a much more important role which is to help ...

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Six Strategies To “Play the Long Game” and Win by Jeff Becker

I’m the Co-founder and Program Director of Powerhouse Hoops, a nonprofit basketball academy in Phoenix. One of our local basketball clubs has stated repeatedly that they “want to beat and be better than Powerhouse Hoops.” They are obsessed with statistics, trophies, and counting wins and losses. I call their frame of reference the “short game perspective”, which unfortunately, many parents today are motivated by at work and at home. At Powerhouse Hoops we’re about developing ...

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“People get fed up dealing with parents and that is what happened with my dad.”

Ten years ago, Marquise Walker was a “YouTube Wonder.” He made videos with LeBron James and Derrick Rose, to name a few. Marquise was extremely talented, articulate and adorable. And…Marquise was only eight-years old. His father paraded, positioned and pushed Marquise like a hot commodity to be sold. The dad carefully groomed him through relentless workouts and travel to tournaments and PR appearances. Marquise said he “wanted to be in the NBA to be on a team and for the money”...

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