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Toxic Masculinity: From Passive to Proactive: David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 14, 2024 5:15 am

Toxic Masculinity: From Passive to Proactive: David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 14, 2024 5:15 am

What's masculinity look like--without the "toxic?" It could look like men feeling the need to keep quiet or going with the flow. David and Meg Robbins are here to answer questions about toxic masculinity vs. healthy masculinity.

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As men, as fathers, we have to have courage to step into hard things.

We do. Yet one of the things you can model most that gets really simple, that can be hard, it can be a hard thing at times, is are you modeling that when you fail and when stuff comes out of you sideways, they see you repair with your spouse? 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 familylifetoday.com. This is Family Life Today. All right. It's always a great day when we have these two people in the studio.

I know. Don't you think? You want to do some?

Yes. David and Meg Robbins are in studio with us today. Hey, good to be here. We think it's a good day. Do you guys think it's a good day? You know what's fun about this day is that we just spent like five hours in the car together two days ago, and so it's good to be with you again. It's great to have you. Yeah, and it's been a phenomenal week. I mean, we had David Thomas and Sissy Goff, and we got to do that interview in Nashville. That was so fun.

At their counseling house. Have you ever been there? That's awesome.

No. It's amazing. It really is. They have dogs, therapy dogs that run around.

Yes, I did know that. We were talking about emotionally healthy kids and families. And then the last couple of days have been amazing with KB Burgess and Amin. Southside Rabbi is their podcast. But not as good as David and Meg.

President of Family Life. Come on now. I just want to say this before we dive in, because we do want to reflect on this week. It's been a powerful week. And if you have not listened to this past week, I just want to encourage you.

All four episodes have been amazing and taking us into some deeper places. But before we go there, we just recently heard from a listener who left a review on Apple podcast. And they said this, this podcast, I lack words to even describe how amazing it is and the impact it has had on me. I want to have dinner with these two. And they're talking about you, David. And I just I do want to thank you both for the way you pour out your heart and your soul into conversations and point people to Jesus over and over again. And she goes on. I want to have dinner with these two.

I want to know about them and learn more from them at times. I listen with regret on how many opportunities I have missed with my own kids and spouse, but the regret is soon replaced with hope. I cannot get the years back that I wasted, but I can begin in the present.

And I'm just going to stop there again. Listening to Family Life today can sometimes you end up getting burdens on your shoulders. And what I love about what you guys do and the guests that come on, there's freedom in the gospel. Jesus doesn't want the burdens to add up.

He actually wants to empower us with His Spirit inside of us to be able to go live out in the present day. So she continues, I can begin in the present. I do not cry often, but I got extremely emotional listening to the interview with the ESPN anchor who prayed on national television. That was Dana Olofsky hearing and story about the friend saying she was ugly, which she was beautiful.

She is beautiful. And most recently, their interview with their son. I want to be that parent who empowers my children. I truly wish I could adequately explain my feelings that I have for this podcast. It is a blessing. And I just want to say it is a blessing for us at Family Life when we get to hear from you as listeners.

And so do go leave a review. Tell us what's ministering to you. Tell us ways that topics you want us to dive into. Tell us what's encouraging you and how God is meeting you. We love getting to hear from you. And also, it's just a moment as you as listeners, especially those of you who are family life partners and give to help this be a podcast and on radio across the nation and the world.

Thank you for giving that allows lives to continue to be changed like this listener. I want to go hang out with her. I'd hang out with her any time.

Well, if she's buying, we're going out to lunch. It's awesome to you know, because you sit in here and there's no feedback. It's not like preaching. You don't know if you're, you know, preaching, you know, you're bombing or you're winning. And here it's just like you send it out and you trust God.

And he's impacting people like this lady, which is awesome. All right. Let's talk. Father's Day is in a couple of days. So this weekend, ladies, you know that, right? You're going to take care of us. I'm just going to make sure I get my tie or my I don't think today is socks.

And you know what? I love my socks that I get. Yeah. Power socks. Is that what you get them? Because you've got some socks. Did you ever wear a tie?

I don't know where I got that idea. We got our cards. The cards always have a tie.

Yeah, that's kind of the assumed gift. But I don't know if I've ever given you a tie. I like the sock idea, though. That's a good one. If you wrapped a tie around a motorcycle, that'd be nice. Anyway. Dream big.

Why not? So KB and I mean, the last couple of days talked a lot about men. And we even got into fatherhood because I don't know if you remember, but KB is on his way that evening to watch his son sing. And so let's just talk about some thoughts and reflections on those two days. One of the thoughts is at the very beginning, they were sharing some statistics really about the crisis of men in our culture today.

Weren't those powerful? I mean, it's scary. It is scary. I mean, it's so scary to think not only, you know, the term toxic masculinity, but men are failing these days. I'm not saying it's not a general term, not everybody, but the numbers are escalating in a dangerous way. When you heard those thoughts, here's my question.

Why? What do you think's happening? Well, I think that there's not one factor that controls everything. But one of the also stats that they started talking about was fathers and the father's presence. And what happens to those stats in the homes where a father is present, even going, they talked about even going back into kids that end up in the NICU. And when a father is around, they end up getting out sooner. That was fascinating.

Wasn't that like an infant? And I think we can all always think like, OK, an absent father, you know, but I think we got to go back and you can be absent a lot of ways. It's not just physically present.

There's emotional presence. And a passive man will end up being likely a passive husband and father in silence someday. And I think some of the roots of is we end up being silent when it comes to the things that matter most, of the roots of character in our own lives.

We just recently heard we were at a conference together and we heard Crawford Lawrence say at a conference we were recently at, you better have more in the cupboard than what you put on the counter. And I think a lot of times we as men, we end up growing past not just passive, but end up getting silent. And what we're speaking over our sons or what we're willing to speak to when it comes to character that we put on the counter. Let me ask you guys and maybe Meg, you can reflect on this, too. As women, that is super frustrating.

Like we are married to good men, but sometimes women are longing for their men to not be as passive or to like contribute in our home. Why do you guys think men are? Is there a fear in something?

What do you think? I think two things came to my mind. I don't know what you guys think, but first is fear. You're afraid.

I mean, we know we've talked about this many times here when we got married. I did not know I had a fear of conflict and I didn't even know the origin was probably watching mom and dad fight when they got drunk and it got abusive and it ended up in divorce. So as a little boy, I process don't fight. And so I would run from conflict.

That was passivity. I was afraid and I had to grow into, in a sense, becoming a man. I think the other side of it is we don't know what to do.

We feel equipped in work areas, maybe even educated and trained in certain areas. And then it comes to relationships or parenting. Raising my boys, there were times I was passive because I'm like, I'm not sure what to do. So what do I do?

Nothing, which is terrible. But there's that passivity. And, you know, we've talked for decades about a vision of manhood has something to do with rejecting that, stepping into your fear.

Even if you don't know what to say or do, say, do something, just act. And I think that contributes to our wives and, you know, our partners feeling like they're supported and it impacts our kids if we step up and do something. Similarly, I mean, just the fear. I think those things actually go hand in hand. Like it's the fear of not knowing exactly how to do that right. Also, you know, I think that men want to be successful. They want to do things right and be seen as strong. And I mean, it's like the things that we actually long for from our men are the things they also desire to be, I think.

I do too. But I think sometimes it's like that, well, I'm not sure if I'm going to do it right or do it adequately or fully. So I don't know, maybe it's easier to take the safe route, you know, and not step into that. Because I mean, I feel like when I see you step into that, it does take a lot of courage, you know, to put yourself out there and lead in that way and step up into that space.

It takes a sense of boldness that sometimes it's easier to take the path abroad. As a woman listener, let me just encourage you when your husband steps into an area or he's vocal or he does attempt to not be passive and he's attempting to engage. Oh, it's so easy for us to critique that. Oh, he shouldn't have done that.

And I'm the man. That was me. Like, you shouldn't have said it like that. You shouldn't have done it like that.

And I would say lead with thank you for stepping in. Right. You know, maybe he didn't do it perfectly, but maybe later, later you can get to that. Much later. Yeah. But just to say thank you because he's trying sometimes his best.

Yeah. You know, we often, I think, hesitate from internet to places where there's not a confidence around adequacy. Because deep down, and you said it the other day, there is this, do I have what it takes in this space? I'm going to go veer toward those spaces where I know I got a shot of having what it takes. One of the things I think I've had to learn is the liminal space of not knowing what to do. But with your spouse or with your kid, especially as they grow into teenagers and they have their thoughts of their own, being able to be just in it where you're not solving it yet, you're going to need to take action. You're going to need to get there. Yeah. But you're not coming with solution, which I think we often do as can default to when we're trying to step up as a man and take initiative, reject passivity, but that liminal space of that you don't know what to do.

How do you move toward and just hold that space with your spouse or with your kid and just be in it and not rush to something? And I think I'm an activator. I'm strategic, you know, with all the assessments. Let's go. Let's go do something.

And I have had to learn I can end up doing more damage sometimes that way. Just sit in it. Take a moment. Seek to understand what the real issue is.

And now let's let's discover together what we need to go do instead of me. Sometimes I can just go trouncing ahead and dragging back along with me, like, come on, let's go do something about this. And sometimes you got to act because it's just time.

Other times, how do you discern together and then go take action that there's more depth to the action you're taking? Do you find it's easier as a man to lead stronger in the professional job space than it is at home? Oh, for sure.

Undoubtedly. Because ultimately, I'll try to enter in with my kid or the things are piling up at home that I'm probably not. I mean, I'm just thinking about my garage this morning. It is a mess. And every time I walk through it, I'm like, I'm avoiding. I got to own up to this, you know, and it's not only your fault.

Let's be honest. I mean, this morning with the Lord, I really was processing something totally different. And all these analogies of things I'm avoiding, things I'm not putting away. Why aren't that going back in a box? Why did I just move that out? You know, it's a home front space and it's very reflected to sometimes how I end up avoiding or just keeping all these tabs open at home.

Where at work, you can close a tab, you know, you can and you can leave it, you know. One of our sons just called us this week and he says, my garage is a reflection of my life. So hilarious.

That's exactly what he said. He goes, my life is a mess, I'm not disciplined, so is my garage. So he said last Saturday, he goes, I got out there with my son. I was out there for three hours because I realized, like, look at that. That garage is my life. It might take us like 12 hours, but we might have to tackle it now. You got kids in the house, you got to get them out there.

They will. But I also think that part of it is like, you know, at home, you're so known, you know, like all the walls are down. Everybody knows your flaws, your weak spots. And so, I mean, I think there's a difference between when you're, you know, in your workspace and certainly there's a different level of what intimacy and how well and they know our buttons. You know, our kids know the things that, you know, make me lose my temper or whatever it is. But I think, you know, that space, it's harder because you feel more vulnerable to their response because they know all of you, you know, and their response ends up affecting. Am I a good dad?

Am I a good father? And I will say, like we have kids both in the front nine and the back nine. And I forget, you know, the golf analogy of the first nine years and the second nine years. And they're different. The front nine, you get to control is the wrong word, but you get to set the tone a lot.

You're still shaping. The back nine, you're giving them more agency, but yet you want to have more control. And yet there's this push pull and there's a lot more influence they have on you and how you view yourself as a father, if we're talking fatherhood, but father and mother. And then that ends up, it kind of like ends in a good way.

They're becoming adults. It's what you want is to release them. But then we do have to adjust how we father. Yet we can end up, I think, shutting down on the back nine because you end up the problems get too big and complex and you end up just you have to be the enforcer sometimes with consequences. But then that becomes all we are and it gets complicated.

Let me go back to what you said. I'm intrigued by that when you said we don't have to know all the answers. Sometimes we just hold space with them. I'm thinking that could resonate with somebody saying like, so you mean I don't have to have all the answers and know what to do?

So if you're having a discussion or you're even in this dilemma with one of your kids or your family, what could that look like? Are you saying, hey, I don't know. What do you think that looks like?

So I have a visual that helps me and it doesn't always happen. But I think we were at some retreat and someone showed this video and it's from Inside Out, you know, that movie. The family's moved and the little girl ran away and she's come back. And they basically, this kid had been avoiding all the grief and all the challenge that she had been facing and giving up hockey or the new hockey team wasn't what it was in the former place.

They find her and they bring her back. And there's this moment where they're having this exchange. And then they just hold, you know, they have an exchange and a conversation and then she lets out this sigh. And it was like, that's actually sometimes the very first thing. And I, as an activator, have had to wait.

How do I have a conversation, stay in it long enough where the kid can go? Because that's ultimately where they need my presence first to go, I'm with you no matter what. And yes, you messed up here or life is overwhelming. And yeah, that grade.

That's a hard one or that demerit you got or whatever it could be. I'm still here. OK. Now, now that I can be present with you because they're just being flooded with all these own narratives that are going on in their head. It's a scary thing as a father to go, I am giving them their scripts that they're going to play in their head when they're 45 like me.

That is daunting and can be paralyzing as a parent. But OK, presence is there. And that visual from inside out, it doesn't happen every time. But I kind of wait for that. And then it's amazing how God starts bringing solutions, you know, and you can start talking solutions after there's been that release. I'm thinking we need that as well. That moment where we can go.

Yes. I've said this here before, but when we went to the weekend, remember, as an engaged couple, it was the first vision I'd ever been given for God's plan for marriage. But I'll never forget Sunday morning, sitting in there with the men, talking about what a godly husband looks like and a godly dad at that time. And we get married two weeks later and on our honeymoon night, well, no, the next night, we had a honeymoon night, then we flew to Boston.

And we're going to have our honeymoon in that area. And I literally, we walked around the subway, Boston, got back to our hotel room and I just started sobbing uncontrollably. And Ann's like, who is this man I married and what's going on? And I figured it out. I was overwhelmed. I saw, I heard what a vision of what God wanted me to be as a man. And I'm like, I'm not that guy. I can't be that guy.

He deserves a husband and I hope to be a dad. And I was just so overwhelmed. And as I look back, it was my moment to go, you know, it was like, I don't think I can do this. And I think that still happens for us as guys. I'm sure it does for women too, but we get afraid and we're like, I don't know if I can parent this way. I don't know if I can step into this conversation with my 17-year-old son or daughter. That has to happen and passivity means I'm not going to.

But it's almost like a prayer. Okay, God, I don't want to be a passive dad. I don't want to be a passive husband. I'm going to step into this.

Here we go. And trust him to see what happens. And that's a vision of manhood that families respond to. It's scary, but man, everybody rallies around that.

Even when you do it wrong and it may go left, but you're moving, you're being active and you're being a man. Totally. I think about that, Dave, and I just go, this morning we had an interaction with one of our kids. And it was a rough one.

And right before they left, he came up to his mom, to Meg, and looked her in the eye and sincerely just apologized. And we didn't ask for it. I've had to ask for it before. You know, like, you need to go do that. And it was just one of those moments of, I mean, we're coming in here pretty ragtagged out because it was a hard morning.

And yet, okay, he got that from somewhere. And I think, you know, when you boil it all down, this can be overwhelming. As men, as fathers, we have to have courage to step into hard things.

We do. Yet one of the things you can model most that gets really simple, that can be hard, it can be a hard thing at times, is are you modeling that when you fail and when stuff comes out of you sideways, they see you repair with your spouse and with your wife. They see you repair with a kid and you go back to them. I'm not saying that's all that it sums up to be, but when I think of the practical next step to what can feel daunting, that's one of the best ways to reject passivity. I think another thing that happened this morning, actually, because I do think it requires what you're talking about is humility. The humility and the compassion and the tenderness that's required to say, when we failed, go back to them and say, we're sorry. And you were seeing him live that out, which meant, obviously, the world to me. But the other thing that happened is right after that, there was this little pause after I said, I forgive you. And then there was a silence. And then David said, we really love you, bud. And he just kind of stopped and looked David in the eyes and said, you know, Hanks, I love you all, too. And it was like just stopping to take a minute to say, you know, no matter what has happened this morning, we love you so much.

I think that's what you said, actually. We love you so much. And I think, you know, we say we love you to our kids for sure and want to communicate that. But in the moments that are really hard, sometimes it's harder to say it in that moment, you know.

But I feel like you stopped and took a moment to move toward him in an even deeper way, you know. And I think we think of, you know, men showing up as leaders, as having all the right things to say or being wise. And yes, certainly God will give us the wisdom that we need when we ask Him for it.

Thank goodness He promises that. But it's also showing up with tenderness, compassion, humility. I mean, I feel like some of the best times that you're leading us is when you're showing up with humility. As women, I did this so poorly for so many years is I would compare Dave to other dads or men, especially Dennis Rainey.

And I never quite measured up. But let me, if you're struggling with that, like I wish my husband were like dot, dot, dot. Can I just encourage you to champion the man that he is, to champion the father that he is? Dave isn't supposed to be Dennis Rainey.

He's supposed to be Dave Wilson. And I think I've learned the hard way that when I can champion, I see the great things that you do or the dad that you are, it breathes life into you. Oh, yeah. And so I think think about who is your husband and start championing who he is instead of even maybe you're not saying it out loud, but you're comparing him in your mind. I think one way to do that, like getting really practical, is if you don't know what your husband desires to be, like maybe there are things that he wishes he did differently or things that he's passionate about. You know, ask him, you know, what is it that you hope to be in our family or for our kids? And then find ways to come alongside him in those things.

And ask, how can I help you? Yes, I mean, I remember, you know, there's a season where David was like, I really want to get time alone with each of our kids, but it's just really hard to make it happen. So he's like, okay, I'm putting in the calendar breakfast with this kid at least once a month, you know, and, you know, kind of it was kind of falling off the calendar, not happening.

And it's like, I have a choice. Am I going to nag him and say, hey, you're not doing that thing you want to do? Or am I going to find ways to help make this possible and come alongside him and say, okay, why don't I take the other kids to get donuts and then you can have time with this one? That's good.

And I don't always do that well either, but yeah, just knowing them and helping them and breathing life rather than, like you said, it's tempting to say you're not doing it. Yeah, I have two closing thoughts. And if you have others, jump in. You know, I have one, Dave, and then pass it to you for the close. This is good, man.

We got going on this. I like it. If you're a father who this conversation's heaping on shame or pressure, I just invite you to hear what we told our son that Jesus, well, really God, your father is saying to you. And that is, I love you so very much. That's how he views you. And he's a good father that will keep showing you how to be a great father. And he knows you're going to need help in order to live this out. And so he's giving you the helper in the Holy Spirit, putting inside divine resources for you to live this out. That was one of my thoughts.

Exactly. You know, I had this thought that as a pastor for 30 years, we'd have Mother's Day and Father's Day, and we always made those special moments. But over the years, we realized, hey, on Mother's Day, all we do is say, moms, you're incredible. And on Father's Day, all we do is say, guys, step up.

I mean, it sort of took that tone. And we're like, wait a minute. Guys beat themselves up. They feel like failures.

Maybe they've even been told they're failures. And I just wanted to remind the men, if you're feeling like you have been too passive and you've made mistakes, when you said earlier, David, or Meg, you said what David said to your son, I thought that's what God's saying to us, to that dad. If you're a good willed man, you're trying your best, and we're going to make mistakes. God is looking at you and saying, he's not saying step it up, reject passivity.

He's saying, I love you. Keep going. It's so, so good what you're doing. I just want what you just said.

I'm just echoing what David said. If you're that dad, I hope you stop the car right now or stop your workout right now and just pause for a second and receive that from the Lord. And the only other thought is this, just for you guys, it's like we're in a different stage, obviously, as empty nesters and grandparents now, the morning you just had, you're going to want again someday, as hard as it was. And I know, I can imagine. But will they?

No, I mean, you won't want that. But you'll want those kids back in the home and they're not going to be there and it's going to be a little quieter and it's awesome. Reminder. But those are precious moments, as hard as it is. And I bet you tonight, when they get home from school, there'll even be some more words about that.

But man, way to go. I mean, stopping in the middle of that thing and reminding him that he's loved, man, I didn't do that often. That's a great dad move. And maybe that's a move some dad needs to make today with their kids. And I'm also thinking of maybe you're remarried, you're in a blended family, but the father of your children is not in your life as much or the kids' lives as much.

And you're really disappointed in that. Let me encourage you to still champion the dad of your kids to say, hey, thanks for the time you've put in or here are the things that I really appreciate that you've done right. So because he's still their dad.

And I'm thinking as maybe a dad that's not as involved in their kids' lives because of a divorce, because maybe you're not even living in close proximity to your kids, even your adult children. Man, they still need you. And so I don't want you to beat yourself up, but I want to remind you that God is still he's if anyone is championing you, it is our Father God who continues to cheer for you, pursue you, see you and listen to this part.

And he loves you no matter what. We're Dave and Ann Wilson, and you've been listening to Family Life today. We've been talking with president of Family Life, David and Meg Robbins. And, you know, Family Life has a great resource for parents to go through with their teens together, and it's called Passport to Identity. A mom can take a weekend trip with her daughter or a dad, his son, and listen to the material together and talk about being who God has called him or her to be.

You can find out more and grab a copy of Passport to Identity at familylifetoday.com. And you might not know this about Family Life, but we're donor supported. That means that conversations like today's get into people's homes and cars because of financial partners who believe in reaching others with God's plan for families. And right now, when you partner financially with Family Life to help more conversations like today's get into more homes, we want to send you, as our thanks, a copy of Cissy Goff's book, The Worry-Free Parent.

Sounds like a good book, doesn't it? The Worry-Free Parent. Living in confidence so your kids can too. You can partner with us at familylifetoday.com or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Or you can mail your donation to Family Life, 100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. Make sure to let us know you'd like a copy of The Worry-Free Parent by Cissy Goff. And let me say thanks for partnering with Family Life. And if you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation, would you share it with them from wherever you get your podcasts? And while you're there, you can help others learn about Family Life today by leaving us a review. We're Ann and Dave Wilson, and 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 / 2024-06-14 07:38:01 / 2024-06-14 07:50:59 / 13

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