Many men focus on work and family but have little time for serious talk with other men. That's why we built this site--to provide a place for meaningful conversation. Consider hard questions. Seek and offer perspective. Share a story or a laugh. Below are some conversation starters. We post a new one every week. ___________________________________________________________________

buckling up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coby, my 7 year old, always asks me to buckle him in when we get in the car. For a long time this was a pain for me and would mean that I would have to often get out, come back and buckle him. I felt a bit put out. Then one day I realized that he wasn’t really asking me to buckle him in, he just wanted to feel safe. Knowing that I took care of it for him just made him feel all right .His dad was looking out for him.
I remember that feeling with my own dad. When I was 27 I had to have emergency surgery and my dad was there with me. After the doctor told me the news, I sent everyone away except my father and asked him if it was going to be ok? I needed his confidence and safety. I needed him to buckle me in. He did and it made me feel better.
Coby won’t ask me to buckle him forever. I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

What are some moments where you were asked to take care of another, either directly or indirectly? How do our reactions change when we read between the lines with or kids, partners or even our parents?

Let’s talk about it. Click here: http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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Picking Sides

The divide between right and left is deeper and more strident in Washington, as we’ve seen in recent budget battles. But it seems to hit home more now too. It gets in the way of friendships and cordial neighbors as well.

I feel myself more hardened toward my own opinions. Certainly talk radio feeds anger to frustrations. Politicians say they won’t compromise. Voters take hard lines.

Does this shift keep you from talking to friends or family who have different opinions? Are you walking on eggshells? Have conversations changed? Preaching only to the choir now? What the hell is up?

Let’s talk about it. Click here: http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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A Third and Fourth Cup of Tea

You’ve probably heard of Greg Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea. The title comes from a Himalayan village tradition of building friendship:

  • First time you share tea: You are a stranger.
  • Second time you share tea: You are an honored guest.
  • Third time you share tea:  You become family.

Many of us have lost sight of the investment required to build trust and friendship–to find common ground, hold deep discussions, and really connect. When I was managing a lot of people, I had the greatest success when I made time for that third cup of tea (or coffee, or beer, or lunch) with staff members.

The Brotherhood Initiative is a kind of experiment around this. Can we hold meaningful conversations online? Can we share a second and third cup of tea virtually? If not, can we come together over issues and worthy questions? What do you think?

Let’s talk about it. Click here: http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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Father’s Day Minus a Father

It is 6 a.m. and I have awoken to a new day. My kids made me a sign wishing me a happy Father’s day and it hangs askew in our dining room window. Father’s Day is bittersweet since I lost my dad three years ago. I miss making the call to Boston to tell him thanks for being my dad. I miss his advice. I even miss him and my mom on the phone together trying to hear me over a bad connection. My day will unfold full of love but missing a piece.

Where is the place for a son without a father on Father’s Day? How do you honor your dad when he is but a memory of picture and oral recollections?

Let’s talk about it. Click here http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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Making Decisions

When you stand at a key point in your life, you feel the weight of decisions. You can’t see far down any of the paths ahead, yet you know selecting one over another will take you in vastly different directions (as distinct as the Atlantic or Pacific).

We must make a decision. Even indecision is a decision–though stasis is usually a lousy (typically fear-based) option. Too often, we feel a need to rush this process. Make a decision and go. Don’t look back. No second-guessing.

But once in awhile we get a chance to take it slowly. To really think about what we want and where we can take our lives. When I discussed this with my friend, the writer, Ron MacLean he said this:

“The real question is what do YOU WANT the next phase of your life to be? My advice: think that through; determine whatever parameters you have for that (and don’t force yourself to add more in order to accommodate/answer some specific opportunity); set your course toward that set of parameters; weigh all possibilities against how close they take you to that course, and look to tweak/adapt any opportunity closer to that desired destination.”

When you think about key decisions in your life, how well have you:
1. Stayed true to what you want (your optimal destination)?
2. Reconciled how much compromise is okay (take the pass over the mountains)?
3. Walked close to your vision in the journey to reach your destination?

Let’s talk about it. Click here http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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the sensitive man

 

Often I am told I am atypical. That I am a man in touch with my emotions. That does not resonate however. I feel just as often stunted in the arena of emotional expression. My son turned to me the other day and said: “Daddy, do you ever cry? I’ve never seen you cry.” I can’t remember crying in front of my kids. I can’t remember my dad crying.

I sure as heck cry during movies. Field of Dreams, Rudy, mostly sports movies with a father -child moment or the overcoming of insurmountable odds.  But here I am telling my children and my wife that it is ok to cry. Counseling numerous people on the benefits of letting it out and missing the mark myself.

The question I ask , if this is a struggle for any of you, is when was the last time you cried? And why is it so hard for us as men to access such an important emotional response?

Let’s talk about it. Click here: http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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How do you define “community of men” and where do you find it?

There was a time when men joined clubs–The Elks, The Moose Lodge, The Masons, or a bowling league–to find brotherhood and a community of men. The village pub comes to mind. Historically, men gathered to discuss issues and ideas. To laugh. To bond.

For many of us, that sense of community among men is missing. How about you? Have you found it? Did you ever have it? Do you miss it?

Let’s talk about it. Click here: http://thebrotherhoodinitiative.com/forums/

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