Men’s Teams and How They Work
With Geoff Tomlinson – Toronto MDI
I would say that the one that comes up the most. Is probably actually related to the man’s relationship with his woman and that. There’s always or not always but often there’s a set of expectations that a woman has on the man on how he should be a father. And that creates an awful lot of pressure on the man. Partially because often those expectations don’t they don’t match one hundred percent with the man with what’s in the you know the man’s soul about what it means to be a father what he should do as a father. And not that is something we here would like an example of that if you know if you had one. No no I do so an example of that might be that. I’ll give you a story from my own personal experience because everything we say in our meetings is confidential so I going to go for mine sure so OK Mark my son. Would consistently ride his bicycle he was quite small he might even five or six just learning how with their shoelaces and. It was one of those bicycles where you know you’ve you stop by going back in the puddles right and I kept saying to him you’re just laces are going to get caught in that and you going to go. And my wife we were out and he was doing it and. She was in the back and I was in the front but he got his laces caught in in the Get in the gears and he went out over teakettle he went forward over the handlebars and he scratched himself up and he was crying now you know when I walked over to him I said So do you think that I tell you to do up your shoes before you ride your bike do you understand why now and. My wife came running up and grabbed him and held him and she was very angry with me for not comforting him at that moment and to be truthful I really wanted to comfort him in that moment but more importantly I wanted him to get the lesson and you know this is my father did this to me a number of times you know where the important thing was the lesson that I’m the father and I need to make sure that you’re ready for life and I don’t tell you things because they’re good ideas I tell you things because I lived through them and I made these mistakes and you don’t need to make them. And I wanted to make sure he got the lesson and she wanted me to comfort him and I felt that comforting him at that moment. Rightly or wrongly I’m not saying right way of being a father. Because I don’t think there is one right way but that was what I felt as a father I needed to do and it was an area of friction that I made the less and more important than the comfort of the child and. You know I believe that that there’s a distinct role for both both the feminine and the masculine in the parenting of children and that a child that has just fallen over needs to be comforted by their mother and the father needs to make sure that the tough lessons are taught because if he doesn’t there won’t be any top lessons taught. Counted that’s an overgeneralization I know there’s also going to help lessons. I’m going with that sort of eighty twenty rule with one hundred this isn’t a hundred percent thing because all sorts of women adult Deja top lesson but I’m just going through my own experience and what I see a lot and that particular issue comes up a lot and I think also what comes up a lot is when men start to view themselves whether they’re successful or unsuccessful as a father. Through the eyes of their wife’s opinions that can be very difficult lot of man. Because frankly here her pinions are coming from what it’s like to be a mother not a father and. I mean if you had an example that’s great I don’t want to delve too deep into your personal life. And. One of the the group is a group is confidential but it makes sense and I can I can understand send that to be sure so it sounds like out and one of the questions as you try and get into there and think share that Jeff is that you know maybe scribe tell us a little bit how you kind of grew up where you grew up and what your relationship was with your father. So I grew up in a suburb of Toronto called Oakville kind of a tony suburb of kind in upper middle class lifestyle my father was an advertising executive My mother left him for good reason seven when he when I was seven my father had been hitting my mother and myself. And I decided you know my mother was kind of a hippie type woman and she never provided any discipline at all like none and there was nothing you could do that was wrong with. My eyesight it was a seven year old that you had. And my as a seven year old that I needed to stay with my dad because I didn’t feel that it would be good for me to grow up even at seven years old without any discipline and my dad told me that he was going to change and he wasn’t going to get me any more and he kept to his word on that and he did change you into a psychiatrist and did a bunch of stuff and we lived as a two person family until I was so I went out to go toys and book twenty. So you know that. Meant I had a particularly close relationship with my father. He was demanding he was tough. He expected a lot from me but he also loved me you know completely. And he was always there for me always. He never missed sports or anything that’s amazing I mean that and I think what’s amazing there is your choice to even be able to recognized kind of at that age. That. You wanted that discipline in your life I think that’s that’s that’s pretty amazing. And I’m very glad that that he changed and you were able to have that relationship with him that’s that’s all some really I think that’s great. Is a. Little entertained we have a similar backstory on that I did not end up with my father but my father was also produces and I had a Happy Mother’s Son I can completely relate to to. Kind of grown up almost lawless I guess. Now. One of the things that I really you know keyed in on here too was something your code of honor right I think is also. Quite impressive for the. What how how how did that come to be is it kind of like. You know you came up these ten commandments and you kind of add and take some way where there always are there are fifteen for your code of honor. How did that come about and then how long did it kind of take put together. What happened actually before my time in the organization. What happened was is that there was a. Situation where before we had this code of honor where a man who was leading a division. Actually beat his wife. Which is antithetical to everything that we believe in. And. Where when they wanted to fire him for from his role he said you know there’s no rule that says I can’t do that. Which just brought up the point that there was no rule that you like. And so there was an international meeting created with the leadership of all the men where they said we need to come up. With something that is a code of conduct for you know who we are and how we how we act or at least strive to out you know no man is perfect and men are you know I strive to live by the Code of Honor but I would be lying if I said I always did. So the men you know got together and they created it at this meeting and they changed it from code of conduct in the meeting to code of honor and it’s been exactly the same for twenty five years or more. And in order to be a member of this group you have to you know you’re one of the rules as to adhere to this code of honor which I think is which I think is pretty impressive I’m scurried off a couple of which I which struck me as us concerned one of them was the commitment before you go the other one was three dimensional man and of course I’m going to key in on the one that says Be an example to children and I think that was pretty distinct I find interesting about this is you use different types of wood to represent you know you on each one of these codes you’ve got the sticker the piece of wood that embodies a certain something then you’ve also got a symbol on these pieces of wood that embodies another thing and on top of on top of that the symbols that she use aren’t from any you know there’s one that’s from. From Noah you know this one for. Example children speaks to the Bible a little bit but they’ve also got a couple that are the American Native American Indian and also speaks to you or your group on the whole how you take all men not like not the nomination. And you except all men as long as they kind of live by this code of honor which I think is great because there are so many places out there were men may not feel called to be themselves in church for example if you’re a gay man. And you know how how does that. How how how some of these guys find their way into your group I know yours is pretty much an entertaining story to you because someone is willing to talk honestly you know. How to some of the you know how does one kind of stumble into this group or how are you reaching out to these people. So we it’s typically one on one meaning that when someone introduces you to it. And that is the history of the organization but more and more men are coming to us through the Internet OK So men find out about us who Meet Up dot com OK in some areas we do crazy ever ties in. But most men I would say slightly more than half still come based around. I got this men’s team meeting it’s hard to describe I’d like you to see it we trust me and come. And men come and I would say that about one in five men that ever come to a team meeting decided something they want to be part of. The other four or five you know for some men it’s too direct. For some men it’s too much time. Some men feel they have.
Everything together this group won’t help me. Of course those men are buying their own B.S. but. And but the but that’s you know or that this is not their seat Kate I mean men might be seeking something at the at a certain given time and it may not be what we have to offer but that is the way that most most men and in organization so you know my father was in the organization for sixteen years I brought him in my best friend is in the as Asian the best my best man I brought him in my business partner is a member of the organization I brought him and so it and you’ll see a lot of that and there are some men that are very active in you know sharing what we have with other man and their other men that are not that. Just keep to themselves and wipe the experience but are not. Interested in you know proselytizing if you will whole or at least sharing experience with others we certainly encourage men to do so because we believe we believe ardently that every man has the right to decide whether he wants to be on a men’s team that what we have enhanced as men’s lives in a powerful way and what we what you know it’s a kind of a vision of mine that every man gets exposure to that not that every man needs to be part of it but there’s so many men out there that could use our service yet they don’t even know we exist. Even inside the cities were in the if you look out you know Toronto which is a greater Toronto area has about eight million people so let’s say there’s three million adult males. We have about one hundred twenty members and there might be and ten thousand of those three million men that have actually heard of us or there’s probably significantly law.
And so ultimately we’re we’re looking actively looking at ways to expose what we do to other men so they have the opportunity to decide whether this life is for them because like I say like I said earlier I believe that for men life is better lived as a team sport. Absolutely absolutely love this one. What’s theirs I don’t know who said it offhand but they just said hey you can run you can run there fast you can get there faster by yourself but you can get there further as a team and I stick that my children’s brains my two little boys and one gets there before the other I always look at the both of them I say back in that line. So you got into this group I believe it was one of your higher level supervisors at the time got you involved in as I believe it’s probably helped your career and your daughter would have probably been maybe three or four at that time could you talk a little bit to you know how this helps you out as a father in particular and some ways that helped your career out. Well I actually got so it was it was my director Lou. Exposed me to it. He he was a man who never really went to the bar downstairs at our office I was an advertising executive mid-level stuck in mid management had been for many years and was frustrated because I could never get promoted and always seem to be overlooked and my I heard my my boss who was not a man I had a great deal of respect for at the time he was a silver spoon fed rich guy. With a last name that’s famous in this country and you know he’s driving a Porsche and he was making fifty five or sixty thousand dollars a year you already had a new Porsche you know because his family had money and I didn’t respect him but he. He came to me and he said you know would you meet me downstairs I want to talk to you about something. And I said well I was shocked that he was going to be downstairs and sure you know so I met with them and he looked at me across the table and said You know Jeff you know how much you want to get promoted to director and that you feel stuck in bad management and I’m going to say something tough to you right now here’s here’s the truth you. Have all the marketing and advertising capability to be a V.P. let alone a direct hit or. You don’t get promoted because you make your direct supervisors and even some of your key senior clients feel extremely uncomfortable you’re like an intellectual bully and anybody who threatens you you make them feel stupid. He says you can’t get more you can’t be a director as long as your personality continues to be that way. And I was blown away because I knew it was true as soon as he said it like I had been searching for why why can’t I become a director as it was like the quest I was is on it was all I thought about and you know my solution to that was to just keep working harder and doing the same and things but it wasn’t chance interesting anything. New and not moment that he had told me the truth and then he said to me I want you to come to my meeting because I think you might be able to find something there that will get you to this and once you’re past this there’s no limit to how high you can go. And I was like well yeah I’ll go to that I mean what you know so I went to this meeting and I kind of expected it somehow to be like him and his friends you know a like a bunch of tell rich guys and I wasn’t there was two guys who worked on the dock at the. Horton Toronto there was a a dentist there was a an Amway salesman I mean it was just a complete there was a Jewish man there was a black man I mean there was no game manage this meeting but it was just a total cross-section of society it was just like you randomly went and picked different men and you know and you know I did use the circle that night and they gave me the truth and I was shocked I was also shocked because I you know was a bit of an elitist at the time that you know these dock workers seem to be the ones that could read me the most not the lawyer the doctor heard you know they were just men but they were picking up on who I was and where I was and and really giving me tough hard nosed advice that was practical and useful. And. You know I knew from that moment forward that I was going to be a part of this thing you know for a lot for a while anyway and twenty years later I’ve never looked back. You know now you asked a second question to Nair and I’m forgetting it something about my daughter and what I mean yes or no that was just so how how did that group also help you out or improve you your home life as well you know he was he was a man slash father. You know what your relationship was at that point either you’re still married at that point are you married at that point kind of yeah sure so so at that point in time the other thing that was going on for me was we had it and he knew bore our daughter and and I had a pretty unsuccessful you know we used to know who we knew marriage my wife and I the daughter wasn’t an accident but it she kind of was we see it my wife came to me one night and said Hey do you think we should have children and I’d always wanted to later and so I said sure and we had stacks are now. And the next day I got up and we were talking and I said you know I really think we ought to work on our own relationship or bring a child into this because this isn’t we’re working very well for either one of us and she said you know you’re right we know we’ll go with protected sex until now you’re way too late she was pregnant. And by about the time I have having this conversation to be honest I was it’s thinking about leaving the marriage and was thinking about having an affair with another woman at the office. And. You know when I became part of this group I really realized that. I had made a commitment to this child. As a father that was not was not optional anymore for me not as to who I am as a man of integrity to. Leave this marriage. And not be her father because you know twenty years ago the truth of matter is if you believe in marriage you know you’ll be lucky you see your daughter every second Sunday and say maybe even not that I mean it was even things are terrible now for men you know who worse if the woman wants to make it that way and they were worse than. So I made a commitment to myself and to my men that I would do everything possible to make this marriage work no matter what. Like that was not a commitment that I made one of the things the men taught me was how to make a commitment without a lot of men make commitments with conditions which are really not commitments at all not to make a commitment like no matter what so I did and I did everything in my power to make that marriage work and it didn’t I mean twelve years later my my. My ex-wife and him you know as third of course. And the last you know eight to ten years of that were her and I being really good friends and raising two children together as good friends not as husband wife OK In fact when the divorce happened I was NOT hundred for myself I was shattered for the family unit and for what I knew the damage it would inflict on my children for one of us to leave. And my wife left and my children stayed with me. You know she was going through like a pretty you know she was partying a lot and to drink going all the time which was told to just but taking lot of interest in the kids and this had been going on from you know a few months before she asked for the divorce and she was having an affair and I ended up finding out about that but I never told her that I knew. I still haven’t well. And and she moved out for a few months and then I would believe on the weekends and she would say Can I go to the house take care of the kids they don’t like being at my apartment and I was like sure I’ll leave you come and you can stay in the house I want to sleep in your bed and I’m like no problem. You know you and I are good friends and I trust you so she started you know coming over on weekends and then she wanted to come over during that we can see them and I was like cool and then she’s like if I you know can I come over on Wednesday nights if I cook I’m like sure I’m in single father with you so you go so you go father that’s all five year old in a woman offered to come over dinner I was running my own business and I was going like eighty hours a week nonstop I couldn’t keep up you know and then eventually she came in and said How about if I just move back in and out the. In the basement and I’ll pay your rent while I was also under a lot of financial stress as I really am taking care of two kids full time running my own business which means my income is going down and and I’ve got to give her a bunch of money now and I knew that if she moved back in and I as a tenant that I would be able to keep the house so I did and we live that way for seven years. Or six years and it worked because. We because of who I was because you know she could trust me and she knew she’d done some pretty bad but I also knew that I understood you know I understood that. We’d been that people need intimacy and love and as much as we were great friends and had a great partnership we didn’t have that and she went off to go find that and I understood it because I wanted to. You know I got I didn’t I wasn’t angry out or disappointed that she was doing this but you know when my when my daughter was twelve that I’m staying with Dad I knew about point that she her plan of taking my kids away from me was dead at home because you can’t his actually in a separation is an age of decision in Ontario and then they don’t separate is that their deployments. So she was her. And that you know it and it that went on until August two thousand and fifteen when I needed to move in with my new fiance and move closer to my work share and then Mike children first time started living with her so the find interesting story. How to Have the kids kind of just want to just. Say it’s. Oh so just to complete that story I could tell you that that was completely impossible without the support of my men’s team particularly once I found that she’d been having an affair so my daughter actually found the.
On Ursa phone and brought it to me and it was clear that she didn’t have an affair and. What what I what I knew at that moment was why do I need to call so many get some advice because I wanted to throw in your face like anybody would be sure you lied to me you said you would have an affair blah blah swearing out and stuff and I call a couple of men that had been through it and those men like there was three or four of them on the phone and they all unanimously said the same thing and they said. If you throw this in her face she will make you pay a for the rest of your life she said she will try to take your children she’ll try to take all your money she said the best thing you can do with this information is go back to your daughter and tell her. That she never saw this is not in the family’s interest for anybody to ever mention this again and that’s what I did. At If I had if I had made if I had had the men around I would have thrown at your face and. That apparently from men who have had much worse divorces the ME is a big big mistake. That’s powerful I mean without that you couldn’t. You know your children could have been even more torn apart the whole thing. And so when they would have. And. They would be used as weapons as they used you know it’s a normal thing for women a lot of women and immature men to use their children as weapons during separation divorce happens all the time. Yes. Glad to see that you did but you know all of this. All this good stuff did not prevent my children from going through tremendous amounts of pain you know part of it was in our divorce didn’t fit the television or. The other. Kids bought and divorced story at school which is Mommy and Daddy fought all the time so they had to get a divorce wow we didn’t fight all the time we barely fought at all because we were good friends so for the children it was. A mistake because they didn’t none of the signs that they’d heard from other divorced kids at school or what they watched on television none of those things were happening in our relationship we were yelling at each other we were you know obviously having an affair any of the things that typically go on so was very painful for them particularly for my twelve year old. You know really destroyed her her life. And you know it and it was no matter what we did it no matter. How good we made things and how we managed to live together and all that other stuff it didn’t take away the pain. That I was a better problem. I wonder if you don’t mind my asking you a lot of the answer of course I mean what were some of the ways that you were able to they try to work with her and you know how does that work out. I mean my daughter or I what their daughter what are some of the things I mean to you is it doesn’t sound like you know she took it. To should take any of you trying to reach out help her easily or that stick with her for a while how she now. I don’t. Know it was well I mean the biggest thing that went on and I think I did was that she hated her mother and anything that our mother did she you know she hated her and the thing I did was in tin us Lee defend her mother to her. To say to her mother is a good person she made some very tough decisions and I know that she’s sorry about them but you know your mom is a good person and she loves but she and I just kept coming back to that over and. We’re going to no matter what my daughter said about her and now the best buddies you know now you know for the last year and a half or so they’ve been touched which is awesome I’m glad to see the two of them you know patch things up and that was because my daughter decided to patch it up my my X. never wanted it the way it was she was deeply hurt by it but she also felt like she deserved it so it was a tough period for my ex-wife church. And herself about what that was probably to want and I really tried to take with her the rest of them you know our own oh I just kind of. Did what I thought was right in the moment all the time with my daughter but it was you know she was pretty torn up. And she acted out you know until she was about sixteen she the next four years are real difficult there is even you know when she was fifteen she involved in drugs and all this other stuff when she just stopped around her sixteenth birthday it was like ten months of hell and then it just went away. You know it was it was it DOES IT people ask What did you do so I’m like not well actually the only thing I eventually did was they said fine you want to do. Go ahead I’m not going to resist it more you know as we tried everything we tried to you know the grounding her and all this stuff and punishing her and taking away or phone and and finally I said you know what you think you want to smoke pot you go ahead small part I’m I’m done with it they’re not going to fight this anymore and they got my ex-wife to agree although she didn’t she went along with that when I don’t know like three months later she suddenly wasn’t smoking weed anymore and hasn’t since. It’s quite here they’ve got to start with. I have heard on this field like that was just a shot in the dark that happened to work I’m not suggesting it for anybody else sure. And again I imagine that that’s a group of you were able to rely on them to to speak to. You know that not a silly thing to support you just to tell you kind of from their perspectives and you were able to take a lot from that one of the one of the other things I came across. Was just kind of talking about how when you go to these when you go to the to one of these one of these men’s groups and you’re talking to each other you often make commitments as you spoke to before and and that the group follows up with you and they don’t just say thanks that’s a great commitment and we forget about it they ask you about it and there are sometimes consequences to. Our letter do you have any stories or of your own of of one that you made and you kept to maybe one of made that you didn’t keep and what were the consequences. Well I mean the the you know in the code of honor it says honor the truth and you know part of a big part of what we do is you know making commitments to each other and then being held to that commitment so if you say you’re going to do something and it really doesn’t matter to the men whether it’s something big like. I’m going to. I’m going to I’m going to ask my girlfriend Ameri or whether it’s I’m going to clean up my garage on Sunday and I spend two hours doing it we don’t really care I mean if you may give your word to something when you come back you can expect that you’re going to be inspected not did you keep your commit meant if you didn’t why not and if you didn’t you’d be expected to do some type of consequence to at least show that you want to stay in integrity with the circle of men. Because you know in a circle of men if you’re if you don’t have your word you really don’t have I mean anything construct to deal with so I can’t trust that men are going to keep their word and I know they’re no one’s going. Do one hundred percent of the time. Because I mean I did I recently did so and I can certainly can give you that example I mean it happens right you forget you whatever but it’s striving to be a man who keeps his word it is crucial you know you keep your word is right in the code of honor keep your bird just as it is as clear as day so you know that. So that. It. It’s a practice and frankly you know living your life as a man who keeps his word is an awesome freeing experience. That very few men of our generation know you know I think our grandparents are really good grasp on and their word was their bond and they they expected it from each other and we kind of needed a men’s team as we can be getting some of that culture that we think look valuable that that has disappeared and. You know because IT literate and how to give your were is probably the most important part to keep it right is say not setting yourself up to fail many give there were heard all the time to try to make someone happy and then don’t keep it and then don’t make them happy and that’s nonsensical but it’s ridiculous if you think about it but people do it men do it but all the time one let’s get together for coffee OK I’ll see you out one when you roll in a twenty after ten after and you think you think that because you text. Me. That it’s OK you know if I say I’m going to meet you at one I’m most likely sitting there at ten to. Because I want to be on time because I said I’d be there at one o’clock and I don’t care if I know you’re a late person I want to make sure that I keep my word not just to you but to myself. And it’s very powerful people can really really. Be trust you I’m a financial goals where. Trust is the first word people used to describe it but my clients use it because they get that they get straight ahead no B.S. We’re liability if I say something is going to happen by a certain date does and it’s a great differentiator for me Absolutely absolutely I can see that here. You know unfortunately kind of running a little light on time so I’m not kind of cut us to the end a little bit here we want one thing I always enjoy doing oh it’s just kind of saying hey let’s do one thing I like about you not that I don’t like and I think about other people but yeah you’re out of your You’ve been working with this group for about seventeen years now if not more and you’re already kind of leaving a lasting legacy or a message if you will just by the work that you’ve done I’m not sure that I’m not sure how you would see it that’s how I’m kind of seeing it and I think that’s definitely inspiring. But with that being said well what message would you leave for your children if they were to pick up this audio ten years from now maybe something that you haven’t told them yet. And why that message. The message would be your dad always gave his best. It’s sometimes that may not enough but that’s what he gave. And why would you want to just say why would you say that. Well. I feel like I tried really really hard as a father they were really put everything I had into it sometimes they may have got that sometimes I may been working sixty hours a week or eighty hours a week and not spending a lot of time with them and. You know the only time they might see me is at their soccer game or something then. But I was doing that. Not for me but so I could simple. Work them you know but they’re not it always was with them in mind and I don’t know if they really get that. OK And so I really understand that or not it’s fair absolutely fair. The one thing that you told me too that. Struck me as the amount of time that you’re putting into this coming up I know you’re V.P. now which is which is for a transition into being the president graduations again on that for this group and you’re putting in me almost upwards like thirty hours a week by yourself how how can I maybe even anybody out there here says How can some people help you. Maybe help you with the time constraints that you’re put in there or just you know how could others get involved how could you be contacted. Well I mean I’m happy to be contacted any time by phone or by e-mail my phone numbers or one six eight two two three by four one in my e-mail is G E O F F Jeff dot com plinths and Tio by M. L. I N. S. O. N. a G. Mail dot com you know really. We’re about a thousand men and I think. To you know the truth is is that for us to do what we really. Want to Do we probably need to be about double this size just to have the men around to do the things that we need to do and that’s why a lot of the volunteers in this organization have to spend a fair amount of time out it because there just isn’t enough bodies around. Qualified bodies to take on leadership roles in to support leaders. So regularly help I probably need most is is more men that believe in the things I’ve been talking about and want to be. Out of it absolutely. And so the Web site the mentor discovers fire dot org out there that out there you do you are on Facebook your group is on Facebook as well I found you through there I’m not so sure of where else it may be but if you go to a website there are Facebook Twitter and You Tube links there and then on as I’ve been speaking to. Speak and to Bob He also mentioned there is a sister organization for women as well as that is that true and what would that organization be. You know there’s a sister organization called the family of women in considerable ways small. Or are then. Yaga’s. And at your functions in some of these same areas and not in others that we are in OK. And if you have family women I believe it’s family of women died or a kind of might be to dot com OK I’ll take a look at that and try to get the link up there for. For the viewers listeners out there. Jeff I want to say thanks again for taking time to spend a great I think this organization’s pretty amazing still kind of absorbing all of it all that it offers and I know that one of the things you talk about is if there is not a group that is available locally you guys do have some options and one of those options is to tell if you know you’ve got a Tele Presence or you know telecommute tell communication via the phone we get on the groups and then kind of close it with this you also have this is new or if I don’t know if I understand correctly there are some training courses too for for. People that you may find that have the grit and determination to start up a group in their own area is that true so if the correct is I got that right that’s absolutely. We do have a support system for men who want to operate one in an area where we don’t have one OK OK So again I’m. Courage my listeners to you know head over to the site and take a look it’s really impressive and I think that what you’re doing out there is also i’m And again us want to say thank you for taking the time to be here. Thank you. As it was a pleasure being here but absolutely Jeff on the go ahead probably cut it off there I do have to take off myself I got to hop on.