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Are you an emotionally exhaused Dad? Jon Tyson

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2023 5:15 am

Are you an emotionally exhaused Dad? Jon Tyson

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 13, 2023 5:15 am

Ever wonder how it's possible to spend time with your kids when you're emotionally exhausted? Strategize your time and energy with purpose. Ever wondered how just 10 minutes a day can make a difference? Jon Tyson provides practical insights for improving parenting styles.

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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

Last week, I talked to this beautiful 35-year-old mom with two little kids married, and she came up to me crying and said, I just have to thank you for family life today. I listen to it every single day, and I feel like I can't get through a day without it.

And you've brought me life and hope. I mean, you're getting teary talking about her. Because it means so much.

We're behind the microphones, but to hear how we are meeting the needs of people, that gets me excited. Yeah, and we get emotional because we've been there. I mean, you've got little kids running around the house, and you're exhausted. You're screaming back and forth with your husband. I mean, the stress that's on young families, we know. And maybe you're at a point where you're shaking your head thinking, I remember those days.

And now you're in a different phase, and you have margin, and you can take a breath. And wouldn't it be a great Christmas present to give back to this ministry that's giving life to these young families? Yeah, we want to encourage you and invite you. Join us.

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Because there's people that say, we want this so badly. We will match any gift given, and you can be a partner with us today. You can change somebody's life. And I'm just going to say, we need you. We need you to impact families with us.

And so you can go to right now and make a gift. When my son leaves our house, which he's going to do in five or six years, who do I want him to be? How do I develop his character? What do I want him to know? How do I make him a wise man? And then what do I want him to be able to do?

What real world skills do I want this kid to have? If I don't do this for him, who's going to do this for me? Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at This is Family Life Today. So when our boys all turned 13, you took each of them out individually with a group of your guy friends. And you had your guy friends speak into their lives. What was that like? Well, I mean, each trip was me alone with my son. And then the guy part was usually a surprise. You know, what's really funny is, I don't know if we've shared this here before, but our third son, Cody, when I was getting ready to do the trip with Cody, he says, you remember this? He goes, hey, Dad, whatever you did with CJ and Austin, they told me it really wasn't any good. It was lame.

So can you do something different? I'm like, what? What are you talking about? It was the most epic journey of their lives. And he said, no, they said the trip was incredible. The actual material that you use was dated. And I won't tell you what I was using at the time, but when I heard that, I'm like, oh, so you know what I did with my last one? I was like, we're going to the AFC Championship game, the Steelers against the Patriots in Pittsburgh. Which was perfect for him because he's a sports guy. And you did a different trip for each one.

Yeah, and, you know, one of my former Detroit Lions played for the Steelers now got us tickets. Anyway, I put together a list of topics we're going to talk about. This is just winging it now. Okay, I'm not going to do what I did with them. So I hand him this sheet of paper. We get in the car.

We're going to be in the car six hours. I said, Cody, we're going to talk about every one of these, any order you want. Just pick it and we'll talk about it. Let's talk about these are things men need to talk about.

I'll never forget. He looks over at me and he looks down the sheet and he goes, we're going to talk about women's body parts. Like, yeah, we're going to talk about I mean, it was just anything and everything. And it was an incredible trip because we talked about stuff men need to talk about. So in some ways, and when you asked me that, it's like, yeah, because I never had that experience with my dad.

So I wanted to try and create something that would be totally different with my sons. And you'd have to ask them what they thought of that. So here we are today talking about manhood stuff again with John Tyson, who's, you know, you're the manliest man I think I've ever met, John. Nobody has ever said that to me before.

I'm 44 years old. That's a first and it's not true. So thank you. I don't even know what that means. Well, when I looked already and you started smiling, I'm like, I don't think he's heard that. Here's what I meant by that. When you think manly man, you think this, you know, rugged, I don't know, macho.

Well, back in the day, that was your picture. Yeah, you sort of thought of this, the rock, you know. I mean, I think he still is a manly man.

Yes, the gold standard perhaps. But when I think manly man, I think a man that encapsulate what God instilled a man to be. I mean that, John. When I look at you as we had lunch and even as we've done these shows together, it's like, you capture what I believe God said a man of God should be. So with that, I say welcome to Family Life Today. Oh, man, that's so kind. I really appreciate that.

How do I get back on the show? Well, I mean, Christy, darling, did you hear that? Yeah, make sure she listens to that. And of course, you're talking about your wife, Christy, and your son, Nate, and your daughter.

Hayley. I got to ask you, what's it like being an empty nester? I mean, it's new to you. Am I allowed to say incredible? I don't know if that's disrespectful.

It's incredible. I think when my son left, he left to do a gap year. And we got up early and he got into Uber, you know, living in the middle of Manhattan, and none of us are driving to the airport.

What are you talking about? The Uber shows and off he goes. And everything in my heart was like, go into the world, young man. Just like, get after it.

The safety net under your life is huge. Just go. And then I'm hugging my daughter about a month ago. And she literally says to me, we need more time. We need more time. I need more wisdom from you.

It hasn't been enough. And then I hug her and she walks off. And I was like, I'm still not over that.

I'm still carrying that in my heart, man. My little baby girl. She's amazing. She's studying nursing. She's a giver. She's a carer.

She's such a tender heart. Been raised in the middle of the craziness of New York and is like pure in heart. But it's cool, John, even as you say that, though, I think every listener has just leaned in to think, I want to listen to a guy whose daughter would say that about him and whose son, like what you just said about your son, go into the world because you feel confident, because you feel like you've probably equipped him with the best that you could do. And that's what you mean, Dave, about being a man of God.

Yeah. I mean, I call it a manly man, but that's that's what I mean. It's a manly man.

You mean like a chubby, out of shape rugby player, sort of a manly man? I was like, thank you. You got it. Well, it's interesting the way you started, because it's in your book, The Intentional Father, a practical guide to raise sons of courage and character. But obviously you haven't just done sons. You've got a daughter as well. And you've done obviously rites of passage ceremonies.

Walk us through this, because you started this at age 13. Yeah. What's the passage sort of look like? I mean, to be clear, I had the whole thing in my mind, I think, that you're one of my favorite authors. What I realized when I was reading him was like, oh, he does this literary technique called bookending. I didn't know you read my stuff. Yes, thank you.

It was really, really helpful. Open with half a story and then leave you in suspense the whole time and then close with that story. And so it's like, I'm going to bookend this trip with my son. It's going to start with him running into the ocean off the coast of New York. And it's going to end with him running into the ocean off the coast of Spain at the end of this 500 mile walk called the Camino de Santiago. And I was like, everything's going to happen between those two baptisms.

The first baptism is the baptism into the journey and the second one is the baptism into manhood. All right. So it started with, I had formed a little cohort of some friends with sons who are my son's age. And we basically, I mapped this out.

I presented this sort of like the overview of our time together in a PDF vision document. I said, I think I got something for us to take our sons through for the next few years. And I sort of like try to cast some vision for them. I was like, how many of you were in? And they're like, we're all in. So I had this little tribe, little like group of dads, group of sons.

I hyped this up for my son. So I'm still meeting with him every week, just doing like, you know, hang out time, that sort of a thing. And I was like, talk about that just for a second.

Like, what do you mean you're hanging out with him? So it's like basically I got this idea from Covey. People talk about the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He wrote a book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, which is to this day one of the best books on families ever read. And his chapter was, you give your kids time and they set the agenda. So I would say to my kids, we will do anything you want in this time that we're having together.

But I'm so committed to you and having a great relationship with you. We've got to prioritize this time. Whatever you want to do. You want to go skateboarding?

Skateboard. You set the agenda. If I could do anything with my dad, I would do this. I said, I'll show up.

I'll fund it. Then I started to tell him, hey, man, when you hit 13, it's about to get real. You're going to enter into this journey into manhood. And men in every generation have done this and it's been lost, but we've recovered it. It's going to be very hard for you.

I mean, I think you've got what it takes, but we're going to test that. And he would be like, what are you talking about? What are you talking about? And then, yeah, we took them down to the beach. We actually went to Coney Island, which is still pretty an amazing place in New York City. We took them out there and then we took them down into the beach. And we had this ceremony, gave them this speech, talked about this formational process, how it was done in other cultures. Then had them stripped down of their swim trunks, run into the ocean. This is a baptism of your birth into manhood.

And then spend the rest of the night talking with them about it and hanging out at Coney Island. So I wanted it to have a content component, like his vision speech. I wanted it to feel solemn and, in some sense, healthy intimidation.

A little bit of the fear of God. And then I wanted it to be something really enjoyable that they would remember. Remember that night late summer, right at dusk, where they took us out.

I wanted them to have a rich aesthetic experience connected to it. And at 21, does he recall that in that way? Yeah, if he doesn't recall it, here's a video of it, man.

Here's you with your face. So I've got photos of all of that. He does remember that. He would say things like, his recollection now is funny. He'd be like, oh, that was really interesting. I didn't quite comprehend how serious you were about all of that. Or it seemed pretty vague, but I was grateful for it.

That was a great night. A lot of those sorts of things. Well, then what happened after? Because I think a lot of men, at least in my generation, from Robert Lewis and other authors, gave us some pictures and visions of what ceremonies could look like. And I'm not sure exactly right, but a lot of us did the ceremony and then that was it. It was like after the ceremony, it was like there was a period of time or years until the next ceremony. There wasn't always something in between.

I think that's because a lot of dads just didn't know what to do. What did you do in between? Basically, two things. One, getting back to the big picture idea.

I basically spent a lot of time thinking and basically said this. When my son leaves our house, which he's going to do in five or six years, who do I want him to be? How do I develop his character? What do I want him to know? How do I make him a wise man? And then what do I want him to be able to do?

What real world skills do I want this kid to have? And then I basically reverse engineered to when he was 13 and then basically built out a calendar. And the calendar was like, okay, this month we're going to talk about this. This month we're going to talk about this. I think this might take two months and then I'll do that for two months.

So I basically did a big picture brainstorming then reverse engineering and then filled in daily events, weekly events. So I had like a little daily connection, which we just called the primal path. And I told dads, it can be as simple as this. It can be, here's a section of scripture. Here's like a quote from a godly guy. And then here's one question I want you to think about today.

Like you can do that in 10 minutes in the morning, but the compound effect of 10 minutes a day for five years can be radically transformative. John, what is so impressive to me about this is you're a pastor of a large church. Like you've got a lot going on.

People are pulling you in every direction. And I think a lot of dads feel like that. Like, man, my life is so busy.

I'm building my career. And yet you carved out that time because it was a priority to you. I loved my son. Like I love this kid. And I was like, if I don't do this for him, who's going to do this for him?

You know, he's just going to do this on Google. I saw a day of my son at 25 just saying, dad, why didn't you? What was so important in the church that you couldn't? And a lot of this was based on a very painful conversation I'd had about a decade earlier with my best mate. And he had said to me, like he grew up in a home where his dad had a small business and his dad every night was never around because he was always at the small business. And he said, it wasn't till I was older and went into business and understood how business works that I realized that what my dad did every night, he could have paid an accountant to do for $10 in five minutes, but I lost my childhood because he didn't do that. And then he lists out this specific thing his dad did and he said, my dad traded those little widgets for my teenage years. And I just remember thinking, I'm not going to do that for my kid.

I will not let the crisis of my people rob this once in a lifetime opportunity to form my son. So I went into it with that conversation ringing in my ears. So yeah, there's a lot of work. And I want to say this, like, listen, if you want to break generational cycles, it's going to be intense. But you know what's more intense? Not breaking them and spending the next 40 years frustrated at the same stuff.

So like you pick your pain point, pick your price paying point. And I was like, I'm never going to get this chance again. I've got to prioritize this. I'll say two things. Number one, what I did in a typical day looked very, very small compared to a lot of other dads did. You wouldn't look at my life and say, you're doing something radically different. It was like, hey, you use your mornings, you do 30 minutes differently. But five years in, that's hundreds of hours.

And it was like, you've built a different life. And so I want to say that to encourage people. Don't look at the big picture and be overwhelmed.

Look at the daily opportunity and do what you can. And small moments of intentionality can have a life changing impact if they're done consistently. That was the goal. Basically thread the needle between large events. Thread the needle, put content in there, you know.

Yeah. And I'm just sitting here listening, going, there's a dad listening right now who doesn't even realize God just spoke to him. He's using John Tyson right now, a person, to tell his story. And he just spoke to this dad who said, I've been selling my life to a widget or to a dollar and my son or my daughter sitting right across the table.

And I'm not at that table because I'm at work. I'm just telling you, dude, this was a moment God just spoke and said, you have a chance right now if you have a five year old, 10 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 15 year old in your home. I'm an older dad who says they're going to be gone when you blink. So make the move right now. Say, OK, you know what? I'm not going to miss the next five years.

I'm going to pick up John's book and just follow the pathway. But man, you just modeled for so many. I mean, I'm just sitting there thinking, man, if I was a young dad again, I would do it differently because of what you've said. You did it that way.

Again, you didn't do it perfectly, but you modeled for us and you've written it all down in your book. So talk about this. So as you walk through 13, you know, you get those five years. What made you think you need a gap year with your son? Well, it was getting back to what we talked about in the first episode of this concept of the crucible, the testing, the ordeal. I knew as a youth pastor how many kids went straight from youth group to college and spent the first three months doing everything within their power to experience all of the freedoms that were suppressed through moralism.

The previous six years. I'm not slamming those young kids. I'm like, there's a flawed design experience here.

What do you think is going to happen? Like, why do the Mormons send their kids on a two year thing? You want to know why? To form them into Mormons. There's other organizations that do this.

Christian Church doesn't seem to do it. So I was like, okay, I would have given anything, anything to have a year to explore the world, to see other cultures, to feel God's heart. So I said, look, I want to irreparably break my son's heart for the global poor.

I don't want to be like an entitled American, which is like what happens if you grow up in America? And I want him to like see if the stuff he's learned works in real life. And, you know, my son had a few character flaws, like nagging character flaws. I could not get out of him. I just couldn't get out of him.

Like the process of formation, like it starts in your mind, then your attitude changes, then you do it and then it becomes a culture. And I could never get it past his mind and attitude. Like he always liked it and agree with it, but never would do it. Well, you throw him in a group of people that he's living in super proximate engagements with for a year and two weeks in, he's like, dad, you're completely right. I'm getting that stuff out of my life.

I do not want to be that guy in the group. And my son, the number one thing like Nate, I don't think he would mind me sharing this. He was a complainer. He was a whiner. When everything was going great, it was great. But when it wasn't going good, he just wouldn't whine. He left my house a whiner.

And he came back from that trip and he's like, fundamentally a different person. My son almost never complains. He just handles it. I'm like, what happened? He goes, I watched myself like almost out of my body be the whiner and was like, you are not going out like that. And so now he just like handles stuff like he's like, let me just load that on my back and get it done.

I don't want to be that guy that complains. So that was formed on the gap here. So all of my efforts, all of my intentionality could not do what two weeks of a trip with peers did. You know what I mean?

It's amazing. So yeah, I wanted him to see what was in him. I wanted to test it. I wanted to see God's kingdom outside of a US context. He went with an organization called the World Race, like YWAM sort of a thing. And he just came back transformed. One of the weaknesses that I think these organizations do sometimes is they don't have a good reintegration. So these kids are living in the Book of Acts. You know, peak teenage energy around peers. And then they just like dump them back in America and say, and the kids often are like, was that even real?

Was that just like group manipulation? So I said, I want to close this out by doing a process with my son. Like I want to do this walk with him, which is the back end called the Camino de Santiago. Let's just hike for 33 days across Spain together. Pilgrims have been doing this for a thousand years.

It's like an embodiment of our journey together. And your church let you do this. Yeah, I mean, they did let me do this. I mean, I've probably undertaken vacation over the years rather than abuse my vacation time. But they're excited. I mean, they are like modeling this.

You want a pastor spending time with these kids like this. And there's nothing to do on this walk but talk. Like six hours a day of walking is like you just talk about it all. So I had questions prepared for every day to sort of recap what we've gone over during this journey together.

And then I had some stuff about his trip. What did you learn? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about self?

What did you learn about how life works? And then at the end of that trip, we get going into this cove in Spain in a town called Finistere, which is where the pilgrims traditionally hiked this journey and they left something to show the journey's over. And they used to burn it on the beach.

But now they change the rules where you can't set stuff on fire. But it was like, you're going to leave your childhood behind on this beach. You're going to walk into this water and you will come out and I will recognize you as a man.

And so we have the ceremony. I have all these letters written by friends who've walked with him. I read this over him.

I go through everything I can think of that I love about him. And then he runs into the ocean and I come out and I just scream out, behold, a man emerges from the ocean. And it was wild. And that's basically how we sort of finished it out. So it started in New York as a 13-year-old and ended in Spain as a 19-year-old with a thousand beautiful moments of pain, heartache, joy, and struggle in between.

Let me just say, that just makes me cry. Because I think as we look at our culture, we look at what's happening with our teens today, our young men and women suffering with severe depression, anxiety, suicide. To hear that, to envision your son coming out of the water and you saying that to him, it's what we all long for as parents. Like, we want our kids to feel like God has made you, he's prepared you, he's equipped you, and he has something great for you. Because God is saying that to us. Like, I've made you on purpose for a purpose.

And I think most of us and a lot of our kids, I would say a lot of us and most of our kids have no idea what that is. And so they're trying to find their life and fulfillment through what the culture says will bring them joy and life. And what you did is you equipped your son and said, this is who you are and this is what God has placed in you.

And I can't wait to see. Yeah, in some ways it's, I mean, you said this is what every parent longs for, it's what every son and daughter longs for. I mean, it reminded me of the baptism of Jesus when God spoke. That's what I modeled the whole thing off, man. I was like, I want the loudest voice in my son's life to be that voice of affirmation. My dad is for me.

I mean, that's awesome. Here's one last question. Any regrets? Oh, I've got regrets. I think if I could give you one regret, I travel quite a bit and I would still do this. We would get up, we do it on FaceTime, we do it on Skype. So I was very, very consistent, but I would trade a few of those trips to be back in the home and do it in person. And it's like I was still intentional, still connected, but I was like, I would have ate for a few more mornings in person. And I was there the majority of the time. It's still some of those are like, I'd do anything to get that time back.

Yeah. And I have a feeling there's men listening that are going to be sitting at a table with their son and daughter because of this program. You've changed some dads. Thanks, John. What an honor. Thanks for having me. Do you want your voice as a father to be the loudest voice of encouragement in your son's life?

Well, such a great question. Regardless of your past failures, you can start being that encouraging voice right now. All it takes is just making some simple changes to be super intentional with your son or sons.

I'm Shelby Abbott. You've been listening to David Wilson with John Tyson on Family Life Today. And John's written a book called The Intentional Father, a practical guide to raise sons of courage and character.

You can pick up a copy of his book at and then click on today's resources. You know, this is a critical time to donate, as we've had some friends of the ministry come alongside us to provide a match program. Now, that means that any gift you give to family life will be doubled all month long.

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So just hit the share button in your podcast app. It's a simple way that you can bless someone today. Now, coming up tomorrow, we're going to be talking about God's impact through a good man. I will be joined in the studio with the Wilsons and David and Meg Robbins to talk about various aspects of manhood, vulnerability, and the role of faith in relationships. We're going to have a super fun conversation. We hope you'll join us. 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 donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-13 06:30:29 / 2023-12-13 06:42:34 / 12

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