Baseball – Men & Connection

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“I think human beings can accomplish more for each other when THEY FEEL CONNECTED. Our guys pulled it off. They stayed together. They care about each other. They like each other. They overcame tough circumstances. I don’t mean to sound corny, but I think that’s why WE won.” Theo Epstein, President Chicago Cubs, USA Today, Friday November 4th, 2016.

Thank you Theo Epstein! I don’t know Theo Epstein but he gets it. His resume reflects his understanding of the basic core human need for connection. It is not corny, it is sad that our culture, especially our man culture, doesn’t understand the power of connection. In my work as a therapist, whenever a man walks through my door I know the main issue he is facing is a lack of deep connection with other men. The vast majority of men in our country today are suffering from connection deprivation. Men are trying to get all of their emotional needs met from their wives, if they are married, and if not then they are taking those needs to a woman by hooking-up or going to porn (and this happens married or not). Men haven’t been taught and really don’t even know they have these basic, core emotional needs, that if unmet will lead us to all kinds of dark, crazy places. Depression, anxiety, marriage problems, porn problems, relationship problems, are all deeply rooted in a man’s inability to connect with another human being.

This past weekend, we had our last Men’s Coaching Weekend for 2017. I help facilitate these weekends with my fellow therapist, Phil Hardin. He is a gifted leader, therapist, and teacher but the thing that connected me with Phil is his ability to honestly share his life story – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And he knows mine, not only past history but current as well. We are connected in deep places, soul and spirit. We have an intimate relationship. And sex is not a part of that!  The word intimacy has been hijacked to mean sex, but it really means to know and be known. This past weekend we had 15 new guys and 30 “alumni”. Most of the men that come to these are what I would call “good church guys” along with some professional ministry types. We are coaching men how to learn to live life connected. We don’t just teach it but we live it and they actually see it and experience it, most for the first time in their lives. Men are so hungry for permission to be honest about what’s really going on in their lives but they don’t even know it. We model it as we own our stories and they get the opportunity to own theirs as well. Then they get the broken and wounded parts loved and accepted through feedback from other men – true men, authentic men – where there is no pretense and guile. Broken and afraid, like little boys when they arrive, little boys learn to become Real Men over the course of the weekend. Then we encourage and offer opportunities throughout the week for them to live out what they’ve learned in a community of men now understanding that growing up is not about blowing out birthday candles every year. Emotional and spiritual maturity for a man only happens in the community of True men. It is healthy fathering and brothering, the missing piece in so many men’s lives. We never outgrow our need for a healthy father – we are all learning to recover the Fatherhood of God. It is the beginning of new life, a connected life and it must be an everyday practice.

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  1. Ralph McLelland  May 3, 2017

    Good words brother. For me the best part is, he knows my story, “not only the past, but the current as well”. For some reason years ago I was taught to believe that once I accepted Christ all was well. I couldn’t talk about my dark past or present struggles anymore. Then I was introduced to this new way of life giving process of sharing my life in a room of grace with others that were also will to be open, honest and transparent. It always brings life to this ole broken sole of a man that stands before you. Thanks for what you do brother. Miss you.



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