Wood: Olive – The olive tree represents youth, vigor and nurturing and the olive branch is often offered as a symbolic offering of peace. In the Bible, following the great flood, Noah sent out a dove. The dove returned with a leaf from an olive tree representing rebirth and a world born anew. The bark of the tree is very green and it remains green and soft long after it is cut giving the impression that is forever youthful and never fully matured Symbol: Heart within a heart. The strong heart of a man must protect, teach and feed the tender, developing heart of the child. This is the last of the tenets of the code. It comes last not because it is the least important but because it encompasses everything that comes before it. For in everything we do we are setting the tone for future generations. Children are sponges. They easily and quickly absorb everything they see...
The MDI Code of Honor was created by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions. It was intended to reflect some very basic core values that all men could rally behind and support. Back in the late 1990s the men of the Western Region created an ark which contained 15 different pieces of word. Each stick was made of a specific type of wood and bore a specific design that reflected the way in which the men of the Western Region related to the tenets of the Code of Honor. The ark has made its way throughout North America and men throughout MDI have had the opportunity to connect with it. I had the honor serving as the caretaker for the ark and was moved to write a bit on how I related to the Code. Embrace All Men The wood representing this tenet is Willow – Willow is known for its flexibility. It...
The MDI Code of Honor was created by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions. It was intended to reflect some very basic core values that all men could rally behind and support. Back in the late 1990s the men of the Western Region created an ark which contained 15 different pieces of word. Each stick was made of a specific type of wood and bore a specific design that reflected the way in which the men of the Western Region related to the tenets of the Code of Honor. The ark has made its way throughout North America and men throughout MDI have had the opportunity to connect with it. I had the honor serving as the caretaker for the ark and was moved to write a bit on how I related to the Code. Be Humble The wood which represents this tenet is Bamboo – Bamboo is a grass and grows like...
Final Tenet of the Code – Be an Example to Children1
14th Tenet of the Code – Embrace All Men2
13th Tenet of the Code – Be Humble3
Posted by | Comments Off on It Aint What You Do …………. It is the context you hold while doing it.
I am neither a big fan of soccer nor a fan of the French but the meltdown of the French World Cup team is a great primer on what happens when you allow yourself to take things personally and lose sight of the reasons why you are there in the first place. As I understand it, a coach or trainer on the French team took offense to being called a “son of a bitch” by the team’s star player, the player was kicked off the team and then the team took offense to the coach siding with his staff and just refused to practice, which lead to the coach benching players in the team’s final game for voicing their opinion and taking a unified stand. (Whether he agreed with the action or not, the coach should have given the team credit for “acting” as a team.) Throughout the drama, coaches quit or were fired, players got benched, the president of France stepped into the fray to try to salvage things, the team eventually suffered a humiliating lose to South Africa and eventually the team plane was grounded and the French players — who were playing for the World Title in the 2006 World Cup — now had to fly home via coach with the rest of the general public. The only thing I get as being rational in all that is the last act. Canceling the team plane and having the players get what it feels like to no longer be “special”. That is a context I can get behind. It is not a punishment but a reminder that the team was where they were because of their ability to excel, as a team. When they stopped pursuing that; all bets were off. If you are not going to act like a team, if you are not going to strive to be excellent, you are no different from anyone else looking to get back home from Johannesburg. The difference between punishment and a consequence is that the latter has no context other than, “these are the rules, break them and you will be made to suffer.” A consequence has a lesson tied to a context, it shifts the way something is heard, it provides a wake up call in the moment and a lesson that hopefully lingers long after...Read More
Posted by howard | Comments Off on Fathering As A Team Sport
This past weekend I had the honor of participating in the first Fathering Forum Weekend. It was held in New York City. More than 20 men came together to explore, probe, question and understand the experience of fathering. The concept was fairly simple, Fathering is a team sport. Even a man who is not a biological father has the opportunity to father a child or another person. Sometimes that person is one’s own father. If the concept of fathering one’s own father is a confusing concept, look at it this way, being a father is being an example, a provider, a role model, a source of inspiration on the front lines of life. By that I mean it is knowing that you actions are having a direct impact on another. It is somewhat different from grandfathering which is the process of having the same opportunity to have an impact but to do so while observing things one step removed, from the balcony so to speak. It is the difference between fully owning your choices because you know you have to live with them versus being able to tinker and noodle knowing full well you get to go home after weekend. So in a lot of respects we are all also grandfathers because we have all had occasion to offer something knowing full well it is offered only as a gift. Fathers get to give gifts as well but they are sometimes tangled with issues of consistency — if I respond this way today, am I prepared to respond the same each and every day? And what if I don’t? Fathers are also charged with the immediacy of their actions. We tend to be hard wired to respond in the moment. Rarely does a father have the luxury or some would say wisdom to say, “his is an interesting set of circumstances, let me dwell on it and I’ll get back to you.” So that being said what did we do at the fathering forum this weekend? Like any good team we practiced. Mostly in posing the questions we knew would eventually come up. We were not foolish enough to attempt to answer the questions because those answers differ based on a whole slew of variables, your own personality, the personality and age of your child, the...Read More