Jun 23, 2010

Posted by | Comments Off on It Aint What You Do …………. It is the context you hold while doing it.

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...

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Jun 14, 2010

Posted by | Comments Off on Fathering As A Team Sport

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...

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May 9, 2010

By | Comments Off on The Circle Game

The Circle Game

I often get asked, “What exactly is this men’s thing you are involved in?”  While it is not easy to explain because being in a circle seems to mean different things to different men, the best way I can sum it up is to say that being part of a men’s team provides me with a space where I get to be inspired and empowered to pursue and realize my passion.  So let me break that down. At...

Nov 24, 2009

By | Comments Off on Celebrating My Daughter’s Coming of Age

Celebrating My Daughter’s Coming of Age...

  I’ve been away from tending to this site because I have been engaged the last few months in planning my soon to be 14 year old daughter’s coming of age ceremony.  It is a hybrid of a Bas Mitzvah, since we are essentially the only Jews in our little rural town and I have no real affinity to my religion we decided to forego the religious but maintain the ritual.  So no religious overtones but a recognition...

Oct 3, 2009

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Say What You Mean Mean What You Say

  I was watching the season premier of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Larry David in his typically brilliant way made a wonderful point.  He was visiting a friend who was bemoaning the illness of a relative.  David had the typical knee jerk reaction.  he said the expected and politically correct thing, “I’m sorry to hear it.  If there is anything I can do let me know.”  Well it turned out his friend was able to think of something he could...

Sep 16, 2009

By | Comments Off on Keeping the Passion Bucket Full

Keeping the Passion Bucket Full

There really are just two kinds of relationships you have with friends.  The first is one that you continue to maintain out of some sense of obligation or inertia; you know, “but I have known him for 20 years, he was the best man at my wedding.” type relationship that feels strained.  Then there are the relationships that you don’t really seem to maintain.  They are just there.  They are with friends with whom you seem to connect with...

Sep 4, 2009

By | Comments Off on Love Like A Dog – Scratching the Itch

Love Like A Dog – Scratching the Itch...

         I was watching Letterman the other night and Rumor Willis was on the show.  Willis is the twenty something daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.  She was literally gushing over how much fun it is to get together in Vegas to celebrate her 21st birthday or riding roller coasters at Six Flags with her whole family.  Letterman feigned amazement at the notion of a divorced couple being able to happily co-exist in the same space.  It is not...

Aug 20, 2009

By | Comments Off on THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

Laughter is an amazing medicine.  Most of us don’t do it often enough.  According to this youtube clip from John Cleese and the BBC, it actually can cure all ills. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEfjVnYkqM  Now you can take it upon yourself to induce laughter like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXgdSOxaCGI&NR=1  But let’s face it, that is just weird.  So I have made it a point to try to laugh myself to tears at least once a day. Here are links to a few things...

Aug 9, 2009

By | Comments Off on Love Like a Dog – The Second Bite

Love Like a Dog – The Second Bite...

This is one of those entries that could get me in trouble so I will tread carefully and start off with the disclaimer that this is hypothesis and designed to stir debate. I was going through some old e-mails and came across something that some one had sent me from Ode magazine.  It was a review of a book by a feminist challenging the institution of marriage.  The basic premise, not terribly new or novel, was that marriage...

Jul 30, 2009

By | Comments Off on 10th Tenet – Never Engage in Battles With Weaker Opponents

10th Tenet – Never Engage in Battles With Weaker Opponents...

10th Tenet of the Code  My men’s organization (MDI) has long adhered to a Code of Honor.  The Code of Honor was created more than twenty years ago by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions. It contains 15 different tenets.  It was intended to reflect some basic core values that all the men could rally behind, support and use as a benchmark for the ways of being we could expect from one another. ...

Jul 23, 2009

By | Comments Off on Lazy Crazy days of Summer

Lazy Crazy days of Summer

Okay so I am off my post Bonnaroo buzz and in the intervening weeks the world has continued to go awry.   The Republicans continue to implode and suddenly the Democrats are the paragons of virtue and fidelity. Through the mere bowing out of his candle, Michael Jackson goes from pedophile to the greatest black man since Martin Luther King. Manny continues to be Manny and dispels any debate over whether fans really give a shit about steroids.  Pitchman Billy Mays...

Jun 18, 2009

By | Comments Off on Roo Too — The Kindness of strangers.

Roo Too — The Kindness of strangers....

So, I’ve had a chance to get some sleep and can now put together a few coherent sentences.  Here’s the thing about doing something like Bonaroo.  Vacations are nice, you relax a little bit, get pampered and feel good but there is something medicinal about music.  You can’t help but come away feeling exhilarated. Which I was and still am.   I used to feel that way from week long white water rafting trips or after taking a trek...