"...keeping your children great"
HEADLINE: (Rite of Passage Update)
52 pages of response -- my request for assistance in developing an appropriate Rite of Passage program for my children was enormous. I've posted a document that combines all the unedited feedback I received -- here's a link -- I particularly liked the Cherokee Indian story Bob Hubbard shared on page 17. It's fascinating to read all the ideas and to know that it's an important topic. Following are some highlights:
Secret Service at Home -- John DiJulius, the Customer Service guru we hosted at the Sales and Marketing Summit, who captured all our hearts when he shared the story about how his son became the U.S. wrestling champ seven years in a row, sent me a piece he wrote summarizing the activities he does with his three boys while running a business and traveling -- including Daily Journals, Surprise Day with Dad, "tickle" email notifications, and an amazing Lemonade Stand idea!! Take five minutes and scan his ideas below under DETAILS.
Season of Life: a football star, a boy, a journey to manhood -- several books were recommended which I'll list in a moment. However, the book that had the greatest impact on me (thank you Jeff Schmeck for sending me a copy) was Season of Life, a book about the famous captain of the Baltimore Colt's, Joe Ehrmann, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Marx. It's a powerful short book that EVERY man who influences/coaches/mentors boys should read. He shares the three components of what he terms "false masculinity": athletic ability, sexual conquest, and economic success which have led to entire generations of lonely men. Ehrmann suggests masculinity is really defined by two more important aspects of a man's life: relationships and purpose.
Number one job of a coach -- Ehrmann, besides on the circuit lecturing to pro football teams and their coaches; driving a program called "Building Men for Others"; and the founder of The Door, an organization that serves inner city families in Baltimore, Ehrmann volunteers as a coach for the top rated Gilman High School football team, which has only surrendered one conference championship since 1998. At the beginning of each practice the coaches ask the boys "what is our job?" and the boys respond "to love us." Then the coaches ask "and what is your job as players?" and the boys respond "to love each other." Powerful stuff for young men producing one of the most winning football teams in the U.S.!
Two More books -- many of you recommended I read Adam's Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation by Richard Rohr; and Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis. One of my Insight reader's father, Steven Hicken, is also preparing to publish a book entitled From Boy to Man: A Practical Guide to Welcoming our Sons into Manhood. Mr. Hicken was kind enough to share an early draft for me to read. I'll let you know when it's published.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover -- this is one of several frameworks we're going to use with a group of 11 year old boys we've gathered to start the Rite of Passage process next week. I'm convinced, after all I've read this summer, that there isn't just one framework. The 5F framework (Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, and Finance) will anchor our program next week. And Joe Ehrmann's "relationship and purpose" framework will permeate all we do over the next several years.
Boy Scouts -- Several Insight readers questioned whether I was simply re-inventing the wheel. Several fathers who were Eagle Scouts themselves have sons going through the process. One father credits the experience with helping his son get into Stanford. I really thought the Boy Scouts had lost much of its influence, but the more I look into it, the more I'm impressed -- a lot depends on the troop and the involvement of the father. BTW, the Boy Scouts celebrated their 100th anniversary on August 1.
Story of the elephants -- one story struck me the most in Richard Rohr's book. There was an animal preserve where a group of the male elephants started acting strange: killing small animals; crushing a VW bus, etc. What some elephant experts discovered is that through famine, poaching, and death, there were no elder male elephants around. Once a few were introduced into the herd, the young male elephants calmed down. It is quantity time that matters most. It's why you'll see me less on the road from now on. I've noticed a huge difference in my children (sons and daughter) since being home for an extended period of time.
Next week's process -- I'll let you know how it goes and will share details on how (and if we were successful) in instilling the 5Fs within a group of 11 year old boys -- the first step in a multi-year process we're designing as we go. Thank you, immensely, for your willingness to share your experiences and ideas -- I'm continually amazed at the sheer amount of intellectual capital represented by the leaders of growth firms willing to take 10 minutes and scan my weekly insights. Again, thank you.