Football Helmets Hit TLC

by Onyeka Nchege on September 7, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, my son Kalu sent me a last-minute text message inviting me to a “helmet striping” event for his Lovejoy High School football team. I had no idea what a “helmet striping” event was, but something told me I should drop everything and be there for him. Often times, we don’t know when—or where—we will make memories with our children, especially when it comes to father and son.

As it turns out, this “helmet striping” event was organized by the team’s Head Coach, designed for fathers to help their sons put the stripes and school logo on their brand-new football helmets. Sounds pretty simplistic, but the coach took something simple and turned it into a powerful bonding exercise for fathers and sons:

First, he separated the fathers and sons into different locker rooms. He said he had never done this before, but the idea came to him and he thought he would do something with it. The coach then asked the fathers to write a letter to their sons—who were in the other locker room—while the sons were asked to do the same in the other locker room. That really resonated with me as an opportunity for me to do something different than I would ordinarily would do.

The whole point of the exercise was to highlight the importance of the father-son relationship, shedding light on the fact that as fathers, we don’t always do a good job of expressing our feelings for our sons. This then perpetuates the idea that as men, we don’t express feelings of love—the whole “nature vs. nurture” thing.

Growing up, boys are often told things like, “don’t cry” or “be tough” or “be a man.” Unfortunately, what probably started out as a well-intentioned phrases has now turned into the norm, only further discouraging eachother from sharing our feelings. We have been trained as boys to repress our feelings so we are not seen as weak or vulnerable.

The experience reminded me that, as fathers, we need to teach our sons that it’s not only okay to show emotion, it is important. And the best way to do that is to model it to them. I call it the T.L.C. approach.

T – Try on transparency. Sons need to know that their father is their hero, but that their hero is not perfect. Even Superman weakens in the presence of kryptonite. It’s ok to be human especially in front of your son.

L – Love them unconditionally. Don’t love them just because of their accomplishments. Love them in the midst of their failures and remind them how their self-worth is not measured by their accomplishments, but how they much they love others. Love is a verb. It requires action.

C – Create lasting memories. Yes, take them to sporting events or the movies. But don’t let that be the only way you connect with them. Find activities that will allow you to engage in real conversations. Find out what their interests are and invest time in them.

As your son sees you connecting with him on a more emotional level, you will not only reap the benefits of a closer relationship with your son, you’ll be modeling what true fatherhood looks like. And one day, perhaps you’ll have the blessing to witness him model that to his son.

Take Action: Take some time and show a little T.L.C. to your son today!

Leadership on the GO…..It’s O.N


Taking a “Life Stand”

by Onyeka Nchege on August 10, 2017

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you must take a stand against the things that mean to derail you and push you further back down the line

At that point it ceases to be about you and your selfish needs and wants….it is absolutely bigger than you and it is undoubtedly about your survival. It’s you or it. You know you can do nothing on your own to win this “life stand”.

When you get here, dig deep within, plant your feet, square your shoulder, and stand firm. Simultaneously, believe deeply, tap into your faith, raise your praise and worship voice, and be bold.

What’s next you ask? Wait and see what happens!

Take Action: what you waiting on??? Stand and believe today.

Leadership on the GO….. It’s O.N


Raising Your Own Bar

June 7, 2017

While spending time with my father during one of his recent visits, I made time to connect with him one-on-one, man-to-man, so that I could draw from his endless wisdom. These valued moments that I have with him, not only allow me to grow mentally, but they are also when I realize how blessed I am to still have my father in my life as a constant teacher of his life’s successes and setbacks. During this reflective time together, he asked me, “What does it take to become a success? And, perhaps more importantly, what does it take to remain one?” I’ve never thought about that before. At that moment, […]

Read the full article →

A Lesson in Selfishness

April 28, 2017

So many leaders think the most important thing about being an effective leader is leading people. But in reality, true leaders put themselves before everyone else. Sounds a bit arrogant, I know, but this very topic came up during a conversation among members of a mentoring group I lead. To better understand the importance of helping yourself before everyone else, there is a terrific airplane analogy used to help inform the value of doing so. Every time we take an airplane, the flight attendants run through a presentation about safety precautions. In the event of an in-flight emergency, we’re instructed to secure our personal oxygen masks before helping others with […]

Read the full article →

When Opportunity Knocks, Be Prepared to Answer

March 5, 2017

I recently had an opportunity to learn directly from the great John C. Maxwell. I was attending a partner forum in Atlanta and was fortunate enough to be among the select few invited to listen to, learn from and engage with one of the most influential leaders in the world. And I jumped at the opportunity, because I recognized the value of learning directly from an internationally respected, “been there done that” (BTDT) leader.   But there once was a time I may have missed out on the opportunity altogether. One thing I picked up from this partner forum was how to truly recognize the value of an opportunity like […]

Read the full article →