Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bounty Hunting

It seems as if some NFL notables now join Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Lee Majors, Boba Fett, Autobot Lockdown, Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders as famous bounty hunters. We know that "art imitates life," especially when one follows the problems among Dog -- the Bounty Hunter -- and his sons, Duane Lee and Leland, but who would have thought professional football players would be the next cast of characters to imitate art?

Not that bounty hunting is bad. There has always been a need for people to track down and bring fugitive criminals to justice, but for football players to do this? "Say it ain't so, Joe!"

Now compared to the issues of world peace, solving hunger or rising oil prices, the fact that NFL players actually injure opponents -- and get paid for it -- probably isn't that important. But I think it ranks right up there with the 1919 Chicago White Sox, the 2006 Tour de France and the ever-present (but never proven) professional boxing scandals.

For me, every professional sports scandal chips away at the integrity of the sport, the players and the nation. A nation that produces a "win-at-all-costs" mentality will eventually produce bounty hunters and cheats. Once it is tolerated at the professional level, the college level isn't far behind; then come the high school and, eventually, the sandlots and school playgrounds. Our children will grow up with a win-at-all-costs, anything-goes, rules-are-for-losers mentality that will translate into larger issues for society than the occasional coach suspended for a year without salary.

Men, we need to elevate honesty. We need to take the high ground, offering positive examples of honesty in action where truthfulness is valued. We need to be savvy to how our attitudes and choices impact those around us. And they do impact those around us.

We need to set an example for the next generation to follow.

Tall order? You bet. That what makes it so tough -- and so necessary -- to pursue.

Now this really puts me in a quandary. What will I watch come Sunday afternoon in the fall?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Feeling 45 ... Going on 15

The other day I was driving down the road, flipping through radio stations, when I heard the line, "Feelin' all of 45, goin' on 15." I hadn't heard that line before and was intrigued. The DJ announced the song was "W.O.L.D" by 1970s' singer-songwriter Harry Chapin.

Not familiar with the tune, I researched it and found the lyrics. In the song Chapin described a man who made a living as a local radio DJ. The DJ married, had two children and then left his family in search for better things. The song chronicles the lonesomeness the DJ finds after years of self-destruction, getting fired and hitting the bottle. He finally ends up at 45, trying to be 15, looking for something bigger in his life. He appears to be calling his ex-wife and asking her for a second chance.

"W.O.L.D" joined Chapin's song, "Cat's in the Cradle," in painting a picture of men as self-absorbed, self-centered and ready to abandon those things standing in the way of their freedom: their wives, their children, their responsibilities.

That was 40 years ago.

What about today? Are men still so self-absorbed and self-centered? Have men learned from the lessons of their predecessors? Are men further along the learning curve in respect to self-sacrifice and paying attention to others' needs? Many aspects of contemporary culture and society seem to reflect that Harry Chapin's songs would be as applicable today, as they were in the 1970s.

I tend to disagree. I see lots of young men stepping up to provide for their futures, their families and their responsibilities. But, of course, this is based on my personal experience.

What do you think?

Take a minute and send an e-mail to mensnetwork@lhm.org, giving us your observations on the matter. What is your take on the state of affairs concerning younger men, their preoccupations, their motivations and their involvement with their wives and families?

How would you rate the level of involvement today's younger men show toward their marital and family obligations?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Man-Cards at Church? ~ From an article by Rev. Greg Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour

“Did you pick up your Man-Card at church this week?” Now there’s a question for you! Actually, is church even the right place to get one of those things? I thought men were supposed to pick up Man-Cards at work, or at a football game, or when you’re out with your buddies. Well, men are learning again that the place to become a “man’s man,” the place to become the man your wife needs you to be or the one your families look up to -- that place is first and foremost at church. There, men are again discovering the key to their lives rests in their relationship to God through Christ, together with one’s band of brothers in the faith. And men all over the country are taking up this challenge anew to be “Christ’s man” for others in all aspects of their lives because of who Christ was -- and is -- for them!

That’s men on the move!

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with more than 100 men at a men’s dinner in Rolla, Missouri. At least 40 of those gathered that night were students from the Beta Sig Fraternity house of the University of Missouri-Rolla. And more young men were present in church services the next day too. All were gathered to talk about “running their marked race” in Christ for others.

That, my friends, is men on the move!

Men on the move are men who love and serve their families. They are men who really learn to love their wives as God loves them. They are men who know how to challenge their sons and cherish their daughters. They are men who know how to work, play, celebrate, take up the challenges of life and become spiritual leaders in Christ that benefit those around them. If there was ever a time when men of God like this were needed, that time is now.

Now is the time for men on the move.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who Can Tell Your Story?

We all like telling and hearing a good story, especially if it involves people we know. I like returning to work on Monday morning and listening to the stories from co-workers on how they spent their weekend. It is in the telling and retelling of stories I find out what is important in a person's life. When I hear for the third time how a co-worker attended his son's baseball game and his son scored the winning run, I understand his son and baseball are important to him. When others hear for the third time how I was cut off by a truck, they know I value staying in one's lane of traffic.

Guys, we do tell our story often, especially if it involves something good. I imagine you would be telling the story of how your son won his game to dozens of people, and for some it would be the second or third time. Naturally, we're not as forthcoming when the story involves some faux pas we committed. However, this reticence is often laid waste as family members possessing unusually long memories take to gleefully sharing our embarrassing gaffes. This is especially true after Thanksgiving dinner, when the whole family begins retelling family tales that have become the stuff of legend.

Our stories add details and color to our characters. The stories we tell entertain (hopefully), educate (possibly) and demonstrate what we value (most definitely). Those hearing our stories get a better grasp of who we are and what we stand for. They take what they hear and compare it to what they see, determining if they match. In a way, our stories represent us, but it's the life we live that defines us.

Can your family members tell your story? Do they know what defines you? Can they share your values with others? Do they need to hear your life's story to know you, or is the life you lead enough to give them the big picture?

Our stories are important. But sometimes it's the life we live that inspires another to seek the deeper things that define who we are.