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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Life Changing Event: Father-Son Affirmation Night

I was blessed and honored to be a part of a truly special evening recently.

The Cincinnati St Xavier High School wrestling team hosted their first ever Father-Son Singlet night. About 60 Fathers and their sons participated and I believe they will remember it for the rest of their lives.

If you are not familiar with the event, I know many of you are, the concept is very simple: Gather all the Fathers and Sons on your team for an evening of positive affirmation. We encourage the Dads to say, "Son, I love you, I'm proud of you because of A, B and C and you're great at X, Y and Z" as they hand their son their wrestling singlet/jersey, etc.

Then once the son receives the singlet he turns and tells his Dad some words of affirmation, tells his Dad that he loves him.

All of the young men told their Dad that they loved him, that they were very grateful for the support with school, wrestling and life ...

Because it was a large group, Coach Tim McDonald divided the Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors into 6 small groups and they went into different classrooms to go through the ceremony.

Then when all of the small groups had finished we came together in the wrestling room to witness the Seniors receive their singlets from their Dads.

I was amazed at the depth and power in some of the words. One particular gentleman had his back to me while he was speaking but his son was looking straight into his Dad's eyes and it was moving to see the awe, the almost shocked gratitude, the longing to hear those words from his father. It was inspiring.

The other aspect that was impacting was that you feel the "cultural acceptance" of saying the words "I love you" to your son grow stronger and stronger as all of the men and their sons said it ... like it was freeing, like it was good and masculine, that it was right and cool to say.

Our society needs this urgently.

If you know other coaches around your league, city, etc please forward this to them, please tell them about this event if you have participated in it yourself ...

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