My Son Jeff…the Tender Lion

I mentioned in the last blog that my son, Jeff and I have just finished writing a book about the importance of the father-son relationship. Very few of my colleagues have ever met Jeff since he’s lived in Phoenix for the last five year and I live in the Chicago area. I describe Jeff to my friends like this, “He is optimistic, empathetic, and filled with hope and humor. He’s also tough, competitive, passionate and fierce. He’s a young man of faith with a huge heart, and has character and integrity. He is an interesting mix of both gentleness and courage. He’s a tender lion.”

It doesn’t matter whether he’s tall or short, blue-eyed or brown-eyed, got good grades, or has an interesting job. Those are all fine descriptors, but they don’t really matter. Even though people tend to think that if you’re handsome, rich, have a large social media following, or live in the right zip code, that’s what makes you successful. But those are all extrinsic characteristics that describe only outward appearances.

It's our belief that men in society today, if they are going to be strong leaders, must possess a delicate balance of characteristics. They should be tough and tender, compassionate and fierce, kind and competitive—and have the sensitivity to know which trait is needed and when.

Raising a boy to become a man is not something to be left to chance. Each boy is too important. He needs the care and nurture that come from, ideally, a dad and a mom that are intentional about raising their son. It’s not easy, for certain. But it’s also not to be feared. If dads are to raise their sons to be tender lions, then they themselves need to be a tender lion.

Jeff and I have had countless conversations about what happened in our family, how it affected us and what we needed to do to improve our relationship. We’ve also become serious students of the father-son relationships. The book, which will be released on March 1, will help you discover why this is so important to society. We hope you will become as committed as we are to helping fathers and sons create better relationships.


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