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The Men We Need: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 5, 2022 3:00 am

The Men We Need: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 5, 2022 3:00 am

When does a boy become a man? Author & radio host Brant Hansen weighs in on toxic masculinity, lies about manhood, and the kind of men we need.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

You don't have to be a great looking guy. You don't have to have incredible abs. If you make her feel secure, your wife will find you attractive.

And conversely, if you make her feel insecure, all the muscles or the motorcycles or the cool tats in the world will not help. If you don't make people feel secure to thrive around you, you're not being a keeper of the garden. You're actually the invader of the garden. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.

And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So when I was in college, went down to see my dad in Florida for a spring break.

Who was an airline pilot, captain. Yeah, divorced, you know, so I didn't know my dad real well. But he's like, hey, come down with a couple buddies. I don't know if I've ever told you this, but we were getting ready to go out one night. And my dad says to me, I'll never forget this, real men get chicks.

That's what he said. I mean, I was like, what's happening? He's like, you know, you need to go out and you need to find women, which was his life. You know, that's sort of what ended my mom and dad's marriage. Did you think that's right?

Or like, is that true? At that time, I thought that's right. My sophomore year, I became a follower of Christ.

My next year. So that wasn't a really good spring break because I was trying to, you know, be what my dad thought a man was. And I think of all topics to talk about in this day, in this culture, what a man is, what a woman is. Am I right? It's like, we need to know because we don't know. Exactly. So we've got somebody in the studio that's going to answer this question for us. He's going to give us the clarity on what a man is.

Brandt Hansen is with us. Welcome to Family Life Today. Thank you. I'm elated to be here.

It's an honor. And the irony is, if people don't know who I am, like you've got this athletic background. I'm not that guy. So they asked me about like my book cover for a man book. I'm like, whatever it is, not somebody like climbing a mountain, not somebody jumping over a stream. Not that there's anything wrong with that stuff at all. But there's so much confusion about what masculinity really is, what's beautiful about it. And even Christian guys, I feel like, can't put their finger on it. We can only deconstruct it.

So guys don't know. So what I was trying to do is actually make a construction that we could point out and go, that's it. That's exactly it. That's what my attempt to do it in the book was. And I'm not normally the guy to write that, but here I am.

Yeah. Well, I tell you what, I read it. It was fun to watch Dave. He's like, I cannot put this book down. I can't put it down. And I think I've read every man book out there because we want clarity.

We want a vision of manhood. I want to write one. And after reading yours, like, I don't need to write a book. That's awesome. Thank you. It is a book. Let me tell you what it is.

It's called The Men We Need, God's Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, and Any Man Willing to Show Up. And tell our listeners what you do, because you talk on the radio every single day. Yeah. I'm a radio host on Christian music stations around the country, and I do it from my house.

So it's kind of different. Oh, that's nice. And then also, I write these books, and I work with an outfit called Cure International.

That's my main thing. It's hospitals around the world that heal kids with surgeries, and we tell them and their families about the Kingdom of God. So we're overt about the gospel in all of the hospitals. We heal their kids, tell them about Jesus, and they come running back to their – they couldn't walk before.

And these kids go running back to their villages, and people are like, who did this? I mean, it's fabulous. So that's my main heartbeat, but that's the stuff I do. That's amazing.

Thank you. It is the sweetest thing. Like, if you ever go to one of these hospitals, it feels like the embassy of the Kingdom of God on earth, and it's exactly what Jesus told us to do. You're healing them physically and spiritually. Yeah, it's healing and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

And I'm not a doctor, but I was like, I could use whatever platform I have to let people know about this, because I feel like people need to associate Christianity with this. Yeah. So anyway, that's what I get to do, and I get to serve these vulnerable kids and their families. And in a sense, you tell me, I'm reading into this, but as I read your book and sort of the vision of what a man is, that sort of is an extension of the keeper of the garden, right?

It is. And so that's what I'm trying to say in the book. Adam was given a job, and it's keeper of the garden. So that wasn't something that was articulated to Eve. She's given another incredible role, like an expansive role, this Azer rule, which is a word that's used for God as rescuer later on in the Old Testament many times. But for Adam, keeper of the garden is his thing.

And so everything falls apart when he doesn't do his job. And that's what I'm trying to say, unpack that for guys to go, look, you don't have to be jacked. You don't have to have ripped abs.

You don't have to have incredible four by four. Those things are fine, but they're not the point. The point is providing security for the people around you, starting with the people in your home, but emanating out from there.

Being a keeper of the garden means you're somebody who creates the space around you with whatever influence you have, the vulnerable or secure there. And people get to thrive and bloom because of what you do. And it can be like, for me, I just traffic in words. That's my thing.

But for other people, they have other abilities and skills. But that's what we're for. And I make the point.

I try to make this really vividly. I'm telling guys, this isn't why you do this, but it should help you understand that it is what you're supposed to be doing. Women find it wildly attractive. It's true. It's true. It's true. We've got a woman in the... Yeah, you can speak to this. Yeah, I mean, why do women find that attractive?

I thought it was ripped abs, you know, and look at my biceps. I mean, I'm kidding. But a lot of guys think that. Of course, right. And we grew up in a culture that tells us that. I think when a man serves, when he lives out who God called him to be, when he's the protector, when he is the one that's there to provide justice, there's something that's so attractive about that man that we're drawn to that man. Well, it's across cultures. And it's not this I own you protection stuff.

No. It's I'm there to be a fan of my wife. I want her to thrive and bloom.

Same thing with my kids. The people around like I'm somebody to create space for that. If you think about it to a garden is somewhere where species that normally wouldn't thrive in the wild.

Get to bloom and become everything like this incredibly beautiful species. That's my job. So like with cure, for instance, these are kids that have disabilities or conditions we could treat. So like as a believer, I'm like, why don't we treat them? But now they're able to go to school.

Now they're able to run and play and or wear shoes like they've always wanted to or what like. So to me, I feel like that's my job. But what's why I'd learn this. I was at the University of Illinois. I went around. I was in a getting a tour around a girl's house where first on campus, they took some of us guys over there as a Christian girl's house. We went in every room. They had the same poster in every room. It was the strangest thing.

So I write about this in the first chapter of the book. This poster is the best selling poster in the history of posters. It's called long fall as taken by a French photographer. And it's this guy profile of this guy. He doesn't have a shirt on.

OK, he's got jeans on. I'm sure he's a good looking guy, but there's a million good looking guys. There's a billion pictures of good looking guys, but they all had the same picture. He's holding a baby. And it's a profile of him holding this baby and the baby's looking up at him and he's looking at the baby. And after I saw the fifth one, I'm like, what's the deal with the dude? Oh, he's so attractive. Yeah, but there's a lot of it. Oh, no, it's not really him.

It's the way the baby's looking at him, they said. And you can look up this poster on Google. You may recognize it.

Yeah. I've seen that poster when I was reading what you wrote about. I'm like, I remember that poster. Yeah, it was huge. So it's resonated with women.

Why? And they're like, it's the way the baby's looking at him. And I can see they're making eye contact and the baby's looking up at him wide eyed, like you're going to take care of me, right? Like there's this innocent vulnerability. And when women see a man, this isn't the most jacked guy, by the way. It's not that remarkable, but when they see a man who responds to vulnerability that way, it's very attractive.

You do any survey of women, like what's the most attractive occupation a man can have? It's the same one every time. It's firefighter.

Firefighters. Why? I mean, I asked that question in the book, like, is it the reflective pants? Is it like, because I tried that. Is it the helmet? I love you said that. Yeah, I've tried that. I laughed out loud.

I can assure you it is not the reflective. But it's like, there's something about that. And again, I tell guys, you don't do this. You don't become a keeper of the garden just so women will think you're attractive. But they're brilliant.

They're intuitive. They understand what we're for when we're at our best. And it turns out, you don't have to be a great looking guy. You don't have to have incredible abs. If you inhabit this role for your family, your wife will find you attractive. You make her feel secure. And conversely, if you make her feel insecure, all the muscles or the motorcycles or the cool tats in the world will not help. In fact, she may resent them because you're actually using them to curry favor with other women or you're a dangerous person. You're an angry man. Like, if you don't make people feel secure to thrive around you, you're not being a keeper of the garden.

You're being the opposite. You're actually the invader of the garden. Well, you guys, every woman, as you're talking about this, we do, we long for that. We long for that in our husbands.

We long for our sons to become that, that they will be the keeper of the garden. So, what's happened in our culture that there's so much confusion that it's really gone? And in the church. Yeah, the opposite way. Well, I know this.

If I have a box with puzzle pieces in it and I don't have the box top, it's really hard to put that thing together. And I feel like even in church culture, we've got shards of masculinity. We're pretty sure that going out and having a camp out or having steak is part of it. We're not quite sure.

But what I was thinking would be really helpful would be to have that box top thing, which is what I'm saying, this keeper of the garden rule. And it turns out, when you do articulate this, even like eight-year-old boys, they get it. They need a picture of what we're supposed to be. Otherwise, you're just kind of, I'm not quite sure what the thing is.

So, that's what I was trying to do is be to paint that picture. And I stumbled into this with our boy. I think he was maybe nine and our daughter was six. We have two kids and he was picking on her and his name is Justice. And I would hear her, Justice, from the other room. And I went in there and he was picking on her. And I said to him, Justice, you're supposed to protect your sister. That's your role. I need you to defend her.

You're actually the one I need to defend her against. I honestly don't remember ever having a problem with that since. Really? Because you gave him a vision. Even at nine years old.

This is my role. Guys are pining for that. That happened with our three-year-old grandson. He has a little sister. We said the same thing and his dad and mom have said it. I mean, he's three years old.

Protector. I think he caught it. They were at a playground just the other day and I saw these two little boys come up to her and get real close to her.

And I see Bryce, our grandson, step in front of her and he won't let them touch her. And it's like, at three years old, how can that, you know, that's amazing that he can get that. Oh, he got it from his grandfather.

You know, so the evidence for what I'm saying, not only does I think it's interesting in Genesis, you know, that Adam has given this job, but the fact that women intuit it and three-year-old boys can intuit that this is right and this is good, that we're supposed to be keepers of the garden, tells me a lot. And it's interesting to, I tell the story in the book about Bridger. He was a kid a couple of years ago in the news. It went wildly viral. This boy, he was six. His sister was three. They're at a neighbor's friend's house and a wild dog went to attack this little girl. He jumped in the way and the pictures of him are brutal. He had 88 stitches across his face. And so he's standing there, these two little kids with their hair, you know, everywhere. And he had said to his dad, I thought if someone should die, it should be me. His dad had clearly been intentional about teaching him this.

And they're believers. I thought that was very interesting. But this went so viral, like Robert Downey Jr. zoomed with him in the family.

Chris, one of the Chris guys, he was Captain America sent in one of his shields. Like the whole world's like, wow, that's like the world gets it at the deepest level. We tried to deny it, you know, with different academic arguments, but we know that's what a man is good at. Women can do it too, but we're made for this.

It's like a dump truck dumping, you know, like this is a vehicle that's made to do this and people resonate with it when they see it. And again, the great news about it is it's not a factor of all this other stuff that we conflate with manliness. Those are outward signifiers that maybe this guy will be a strong man, but ultimately they can fool you, that other stuff. Yeah, it is interesting in our culture and I don't think it's new to our culture. I think it's always been true.

Men don't know what a man is. There's confusion. You know, I just say this, I coach high school football for years and we would do a chapel service. This is a public high school, which is awesome. So the head coach is like, I want you to do chapel like you do for Detroit Lions for these high school kids.

I know it's a public school. I'll tell all the parents before the season starts, listen, this is voluntary. We do this. If your kids want to go, we're going to invite them, but we're not going to make them go.

So, you know, to do this public school is like, awesome. I just like, this is awesome. So Thursday nights before we have a team meal and then we play the game on Friday night, these boys will come.

Well, the whole team comes. Cool. 70, 80 boys in this room and every year the head coach would say this, talk to them about being a man. Huh. Because I developed this thing, what I call the four pillars of manhood.

So I'd stand up every season at some point and go, guys, tell me when a boy becomes a man. Huh. Nobody knew. Huh. You know, all these boys, 70, 80 boys in there, I'd say, tell me, yell it out.

That's a great question. When he gets his driver's license, I'm like, guys, is that when it happens? No, it's not when it happens. Then at the end, they're all looking at me like, we don't know, are you going to tell us? I'm like, yeah, let's talk about it.

Huh, good. Which is what you wrote about. But why is that so true in our culture? Because it isn't just in the culture, it's in the church as well. If I did the same thing with young boys in our church, I think I'd get the same answers.

They don't know. Why don't we have a vision? I think there's a lot of cultural issues that come along with that, that get bound up in what manhood is, that we still make those guesses. Yeah. And again, right now, we deconstruct everything, right?

So we understand what toxic masculinity is. Right. And that's good to know that. Yeah. Some of this deconstruction is good.

We're like, okay, Jesus is not John Wayne. Right. That's good.

But what is masculinity then? Yeah. So amidst all of this, it's a lot easier to knock something down than it is to build it. I remember that from doing Duplo's with my kids, like stack them up to the ceiling and be very proud of myself.

And then the kids would knock it over and it fell swoop and we'd all laugh. Yeah. But it takes a long time to build something.

Very easy to deconstruct. I think that's part of it too. It's like we're into knocking things down. Yeah. But at some point, if the culture is going to thrive, a culture is like agriculture, it's what you plant.

That's what you reap. Yeah. So I don't have a great answer for why that happened.

There's probably a lot of different confluence of factors. But what I am trying to do is just go, well, let me take a shot at it. Yeah. So that we know. I think it's actually really energizing to know what you're supposed to be doing.

Oh, yeah. Grant, what's your story? Like how did you become passionate about this and why did you want to write about it? I think part of it is being, I'm on the autism spectrum. So I'm good at some things and I'm socially, it's taken me a while to figure out how to interact and I've gotten better as an adult on that stuff. But when you're on the outside a little bit and you're always asking, why is that cool or why is that awesome? And I don't understand why the culture picks certain things. I think when you're on the outside looking in, you can kind of pick stuff like that out.

I was always the smallest in my class. Like I play the flute. You guys know that. I put that in the book.

These are all normally things that would disqualify you from manbook authoring. I play the accordion. I was president of the Illinois Student Librarians Association. There you go. Yeah.

For the entire state. High five. High five. So if I'm being a man, what am I actually doing that's right? And then I had the women in my life who know me well going, you know what? Every time you talk about this sort of thing, whether it's on the air or off, guys listen to you. And my wife encouraged me to write it.

We've been married 32 years. That's really encouraging to me. That says a lot. Right. That's what I was thinking. And then I have my radio show producer wanted me to write this.

I've worked with her for 10 years. Hey, I was just going to tell you that. You know, when I picked it up, I usually don't read the intro or this one, the four words. You know, I mean, sometimes, but I don't know if you do either, but sometimes I skim it.

Yes. And I pick it up and I'm like, four words. Sherri Lyne, Brant's longtime radio producer and friend. I'm like, I wonder what she had to say. Because you guys do, you know, you work together. You do podcasts together.

Yeah. And so obviously, you know what she wrote. I mean, I'm literally tearing up. As she says, the first time she ever came to your house, she watched how your wife and kids looked at you. And she said, he's the real deal. And I teared up because I thought that's what every man wants.

It's what every woman wants. She captured the vision of this is what a man is, just by the way your wife and kids look at you. And she says, now I've been, that was the first week she was working with you and now she'd been with you for years. And she says, it's the real deal. This is how he is.

That's a win. She's contrasting me with her background too, which is she's from this pretty tough family. They are athletes and they're steel workers from Pittsburgh, football players and everything. Like, so she always thought that's masculinity. And then she starts working with me. I got puppets, you know, it's quite a counterpoint. It's like, what in the world? What do you do with your puppets? Well, I play with them, man.

On air? Well, yeah, I do, which is kind of funny too, because people are like, is your mouth moving? Or like, I'm not doing ventriloquism. Anyway, it's one of those things where it's like, she was contrasting what she saw with me and realized that it really is about security. That really is what it is. And so, and then seeing from her perspective, thankfully, she's like, you're consistent in your character. You're honoring to me.

I see how you honor your wife. You may want to write something about this and give guys a concrete example because they don't have one. Not really like a picture that applies to everybody, not just outdoorsy guys or whatever.

Like this could be guys, more analytical engineers or IT professionals or nerdy guys or athletes. One other thing, honestly, I came from a pretty scary childhood and I'm cool with my dad now. What do you mean? What do you mean scary? Traumatic.

And so my dad's a pastor, but my parents got divorced and then remarried each other and got divorced again. And there was a lot of fear for me growing up, a lot. Constant fear, deep fear, like knee knocking and hiding in the bathroom floor. I locked the door.

I just want to get away from everything. And I remember having an epiphany when maybe I was 12. And I thought, if I ever have a family, if I ever have kids, I know how they're not going to feel. So I think that's a big part of it. Let me ask you, with your dad being a pastor, did that affect the way you viewed God?

Were you afraid of God? Yeah. And I am a highly skeptical person. I am by nature anyway. I joke about this, but it's true.

Davis too. Okay. I'm always kind of looking out of the side. Yeah, I'm the same way.

I hate it sometimes about myself, but it's there. Well, in this case, I'm so skeptical it chased me back around. Because I feel like a lot of people are one way skeptics when it comes to faith. And I think my experience, I'm like, okay, what are the alternatives? But I'm skeptical about those two and ask questions.

I don't think they work. I think Jesus is the only one who makes any sense, for crying out loud, in the world. Because he calls out human nature and sin and then does something about it. Instead of acting like, no, we're all good, or I don't know what to do about it. I think human nature is so obviously askew. But that chases me back around to him calling out self-righteousness, calling out the way we won't rethink, calling out the way we want to point the finger at others, all that sort of stuff. And I love that.

And when did Jesus, our good Father, God, when did that become really real to you? It's taken time. It's been a process. I think I would have said he's good, even in college and after that. But I've really leaned into it the last eight or nine years, maybe, that I really do believe he's good, that he wants to partner with us. I can talk to him.

It takes a long time. There's an intellectual assent you can give to certain precepts, and I've done that. But to take it to heart where it's like, no, I enjoy God. That's fairly new.

Isn't that something? If you could look through the microphone to a 13, 15-year-old young man who's trying to figure out what he's going to be as a growing up boy into man, what would you say to him? I'd say, I know you like video games. I know you're drawn to pornography. I get it. This isn't a guilt trip. Those things are highly addictive.

They give you a dopamine hit. I understand it. But all this said, if you think that, well, as long as I'm not hurting anybody else, it doesn't matter what I do. You can hold yourself up in your room the rest of your life. You are hurting other people because we needed you. You have certain skills and abilities that we need, and we need you to grow up. We need you to become the man that can be somebody who provides security. Your neighborhood should be safer because you're there.

So for you to check out and engage in fake activity instead of real stuff hurts. There's a woman who would love a good husband. There's a woman who would love to be married to a father, who would love that guy to take them on an adventure. There are people who will gain from you being involved and caring about the vulnerable. There are children that you could teach. There's environments we need you in. There's skills you have you could apply. But if you throw yourself into this stuff, we'll miss out on that. And that's a tragedy for us and you both.

So that's what I would want to tell them. This is your job. You're here for a reason. We don't want to miss out on you. So you can see the way the world's going. You know the world's broken.

You can see it, right? Well, that's because guys like you didn't show up. It just makes me teary. Like, I've got tears in my eyes because that's every woman's longing for her husband, of saying, like, we need you. We need you in the picture. We see the gifts and strengths that God has put in you, and we long for that man to live in our house because we see the amazing gifts God's put into you. That's the longing of every woman.

So what is it that makes you tear up? Maybe because I raised three sons, and because I see women and wives that are struggling so much with their husbands just checking out every night, you know, whether it be porn or video games. And even, I mean, we've worked with the NFL for so many years, and these women are like, they're the most gifted person. They're these big protectors. But, you know, they're playing video games, and they won't even engage with the kids in our family anymore. And it makes me sad because, ah, these guys are world changers.

Like, they're the protectors of the garden. Yeah. And I could be that way, too. I get it. It's hard. Yeah. To not be passive.

We can all be that. Passive is where we got here. Adam was right there when Eve sinned. It's said he was with her. He didn't intervene. He didn't protect her. And then when God comes looking for them, he's like, Adam, where are you? He didn't say Eve. Maybe he was saying it to both of them, but he actually says, Adam, where are you? Like, I made you to be the keeper.

How come you didn't protect this place? You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Brant Hansen on Family Life Today. We're going to hear from Dave and Anne in just a second. But real quick, Brant's book is called The Men We Need. Such a good book for any guy, including teenagers who are struggling to figure out what it means to be a man. We've got copies of Brant's book available at You can also call to order your copy by calling 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. So, Dave, you thought the subtitle of Brant's book was kind of provocative, huh? I remember cracking up when I read the title of Brant's book. The Men We Need. Listen to this. God's purpose for the manly man, the avid endorsement, and any man willing to show up.

You know, it's a funny title, but it's really, it's not flipping at all. In fact, I don't know of any subject more relevant than this one. The public conversation on this topic of manhood is filled with conflict, confusion, and it's really healthy to rehearse God's plan for masculinity.

Men, men, you listening? We need to understand what it means to be keepers of the garden. And Brant just helped us understand that. And I tell you, when Anne and I agreed to take this position of family life, we actually got on our knees and asked God to help us bring clarity to issues like this one.

This is a big one. And this radio program and the entire support system that surrounds it is devoted to equipping you with practical help. And most of all, we're laser focused on providing a daily dose of hope. And man, we all need hope.

Men, teenagers, young couples, marriages, they're really confused on what to believe right now. And it's really messing up the future of our homes. Well, let me tell you, right now you can become a vital part of reaching homes beyond your own.

Let me tell you how. Family Life is the recipient of an enormous matching challenge in the amount, are you ready for this? Two million dollars. Two million dollars has been given as a matching gift. And for just a few more weeks, you're invited to leverage your gift through this special opportunity.

Every dollar you give will be automatically doubled in size until we reach the goal. It's our voices that you guys are hearing every day on Family Life Today. But it's your gift to this matching challenge that makes this program even possible. And here's the truth. Family Life Today would not even get past this studio in Orlando without people just like you. So be the one who gives hope to someone without it.

Like that can be you. Give to this matching challenge today while it's still fresh on your mind. Yeah, proactively being an instrument of hope is not typically how we think about giving.

So thanks for that reminder, Ann. And thanks to some generous ministry partners, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar until we hit two million dollars. When you give any amount, we're going to send you four copies of The Four Emotions of Christmas by Bob Lapine. And in addition to that, we're going to send you six greeting cards that have been hand selected by David and Meg Robbins. These make a great tool to share with the loved ones in your life.

You can give today at or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329. Again, that's 800 F as in family, L as in life. And then the word today, you know, after listening to this, you might be thinking, OK, that's nice.

But what do I do with a partner who is passive? Well, tomorrow on Family Life Today, Brant Hansen will be back in the studio to actually question your role in the relationship. That's tomorrow. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-06 03:09:51 / 2022-12-06 03:23:51 / 14

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