September 30, 2010

Fighting Invisible Tigers

I remember a few years back getting a hand-written letter from a young kid in jail. He had shot another kid in a gang-banging incident and, at 15, was sentenced for murder. He had found my book, Fighting Invisible Tigers, in the library of his facility and in his letter he was begging me to "help me do something about my anger." Call this self-promotion if you like, but I get about 10 letters a year from kids, some who need help and some saying "thank you" for the perspective they got from the book.

Let's face it, the pressures on kids today are extraordinary. Academic, social, digital, economic, and then there is whatever is going on in their family life. This book was originally written in 1982 and continues to sell in the thousands of copies every year. Over a quarter million sold to date. While I'm happy about that, it's more of a testimonial to the need for support young people are expressing.

At this link you can hear a podcast of an interview I did with Bobbi Connor at The Parent's Journal. In it you will learn a lot about my views on the topic of kids and stress in the world today: what kids are up against, the risks they face, and how parents can help. I also talk about stress management skill building. For example, you can hear me define the difference between stress coping strategies (dealing with the feelings of stress) and real stress management skills. I speak to a few of the 10 stress reducing strategies discussed in the book.

My award-winning publisher, Free Spirit Publishing, has included some relaxation training mp3's on the Tiger's web page on their site. If you'd like to try on a quick psycho-physiologic relaxation break, you can hear yours truly guiding you through a short program that may help bring some calm into your stressful day. Stress management skills aren't just for kids, right?

Thanks for indulging me in this wee bit of self-promotion. In addition to my passion for connecting young males with good men, in the Tigers book, I'm doing what I can to make the world a better place for young people. I hope this inspires you to do the piece you can do.

PS: The kid who wrote me from jail got out, is doing great, and on February 6, 2011, he will celebrate 10 years of freedom. He's a nurse working in a home that serves HIV patients. He's a strong and capable young man, launched in a professional career. His anger is no longer an issue.

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  1. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Earl, this sounds like a wonderful book!!!

  2. Earl,

    I would add one more pressure to your list of extraordinary pressures facing young people today, and that is athletic. It is applied by parents, coaches and teammates.

    It starts at very early ages. I despise the fact they are starting organizing sports for young boys and girls in soccer, football and hockey as young as five and six!

    I could go on a long rant about my feelings on this subject, but I'll spare you my frustration. :-)


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