Posts tagged stepping up book

A Major League trailblazer — Jackie Robinson’s story (part one)

This week, Major League Baseball’s first pitch was tossed for the 2013 season.  There’s an upcoming movie, “42”, about the man — Jackie Robinson.  And in the book, Stepping Up, we shared the story of Jackie Robinson.  The next few blog posts will be selections from that chapter, sharing the impact that he had on Major League Baseball, his personal courage and integrity to team with Branch Rickey to become the player that would break the racial barriers that existed in Major League Baseball and across the nation.

Jackie Robinson didn’t see much of a future for himself in professional baseball.

Stepping Up FamilyLife Jackie-Robinson

photo from Think Positive magazine,

The year was 1945, and he was twenty-six. A UCLA graduate and World War II veteran, he was trying to make a living by playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League. He hadn’t played much baseball; he was better known as a football star at UCLA. But when the Monarchs offered him a job, he decided to give it a try.

Jackie was infuriated by the indignities that black ballplayers faced. In some stadiums, they weren’t allowed to use the locker rooms because white owners didn’t like the idea of black men using the showers. He hated the segregated hotels and drinking fountains. In one instance, when the team bus stopped for gas and the station owner said the players couldn’t use his restroom, Robinson threatened to fill up the team’s bus at another station. The owner changed his mind.

And, of course, the worst indignity of all was the fact that Major League Baseball was segregated. For decades, some of the best baseball players in the nation —  legends like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson—were kept out of the big leagues. Robinson saw no hope for the situation changing, or for the opportunity to move up and play baseball in the whites-only major leagues. “I began to wonder why I should dedicate my life to a career where the boundaries for progress were set by racial discrimination,” he later wrote.

A legendary meeting

Robinson was contacted by Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Word was that Rickey was forming a new Negro league and wanted to talk with Robinson about joining it.

Robinson’s meeting with Rickey on August 28, 1945, became a turning point in America’s history. Robinson learned that Rickey had no intention of starting another Negro league. Instead, he wanted to break the color barrier in professional baseball . . . and he wanted Jackie Robinson to lead the way by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Rickey could have chosen better players, but he was looking for someone with the right character. He had no illusions about the pressure that the first black ballplayer would face — the hatred he would encounter from white players, and the impossible expectations he would feel from the black community. He wanted someone who was angry about segregation but could keep that anger in check. Choose the wrong player, he felt, and he would push the cause back by years

“If you’re a good enough man, we can make this a start in the right direction,” Rickey told Robinson. “But let me tell you, it’s going to take an awful lot of courage.”

In the meeting, Rickey confronted Robinson with examples of the situations he would face. He acted the part of ballplayers using racial slurs and trying to start fights. “They’ll taunt and goad you,” he said. “They’ll try to provoke a race riot in the ballpark. This is the way to prove to the public that a Negro should not be allowed in the major league.”

“Mr. Rickey,” Robinson said, “are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” “No,” Rickey replied, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.” Robinson wondered if he was the right person for this. Did he have that kind of strength and courage? “Yet I knew that I must,” Robinson later wrote. “I had to do it for so many reasons. For black youth, for my mother, for Rae [his wife], for myself.”

Continued next post…

Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.

Are you man enough? 10 questions to ask your wife

man enoughFor many years, Tom Elliff and his wife, Jeannie, have taken time away from their normal routines to get away and be together. They’d have some romantic dinners and fun conversations, and generally just have a wonderful time talking about their lives. One year Tom decided to elevate the discussion and, in the process, open himself up in a way few husbands ever do. He developed a list of questions based on issues he knew were of concern to Jeannie, and then he was man enough and sprung them on her during a retreat in the Rockies:


12 things I’ve learned from my mentors

For many of us, mentoring is a word we are familiar with from the academic and business world.  Yet most of us haven’t really experienced what it means to be a part of a mentoring relationship.  Here are two things I know and believe with all my heart: Men need a mentor, and men need to be a mentor.  And for many of us, one is harder than the other.

To a man, I can guarantee that almost all of us want to be mentored.  But we don’t see that we have anything to offer others so we don’t feel adequate to be a mentor.  Yet without one, there isn’t the other.  Without a mentor, there is no mentoring.  So as you grow in your manhood, it’s time to start thinking and praying about opportunities to mentor another man.

As a man stands on the manhood step, it’s a good thing to be facing upward, thinking about mentoring. As you contemplate becoming a mentor, I want to encourage you to begin asking God to give you a couple of men to mentor. This may not be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done, but I promise you, it will be one of the most important and satisfying things you will ever do as a man.

Previously I shared a list of 12 things that I teach those I mentor. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from mentors who’ve come alongside me through the years:

  • The best measure of what a man can do is what a man has done.
  • Making bad decisions helps you learn to make good decisions.
  • Once the facts are clear, usually the right decision jumps out at you.
  • Communication is not what is said but what is heard.
  • Every man needs margin in his calendar for the unexpected at work and at home.
  • No amount of success at work will compensate for failure at home.
  • Debt is dangerous.
  • Lifelong male friendships are challenging, but every man needs a friend who can speak truth into his life.
  • A man needs to be accountable to another man.
  • Praying with his wife is the most powerful thing a husband can do every day.
  • Every man is leaving a legacy, so why not be intentional about the legacy you leave?
  • A life lived without God, the Scriptures, and complete, daily surrender to Jesus Christ is a wasted life.

What about you?  Was there a man or group of men who invested some of these truths into your life ?  Do you have someone you can turn to when life whips you into discouragement or even despair?  Do you take the time to invest in someone else?  Are there boys in your life (church, neighborhood, work, etc.) who are without a dad or could use another man’s perspective on life … yours?

If you wait to feel adequate enough to mentor, you never will.  God doesn’t equip those who think they have all the answers.  He honors those who take a courageous step of faith.  He equips you to accomplish what you’ve taken the initiative to do when it’s done for His glory.  And, taking care of the next generation and preparing them for God’s work is for His glory.

You can do this, men.  You can be the man God uses in the life of another young man to unleash him toward God’s purpose.

It takes a little courage.  Are you that man?  Step up and see God work.

Excerpted from Stepping Up (Kindle Locations 2297-2314). FamilyLife Publishing®. Kindle Edition.

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