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How Young Men Can Cast a Bigger Vision

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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May 7, 2024 2:00 am

How Young Men Can Cast a Bigger Vision

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 7, 2024 2:00 am

Young men seem to be floundering quite a bit in today’s culture. Author Brant Hansen has some great ideas to help you take responsibility, find the right kind of ambition, and cast a bigger vision for your life. He’ll help guys to better manage or set aside the distractions of technology and things to put more emphasis on building personal relationships, including marriage.

 

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And unfortunately, in church culture, I would say, we kind of just default to, well, just stand up, be a man. But what does that mean?

Like specifically, what's a beautiful specific vision? Well, that's Brandt Hansen. He's our guest today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. He's going to help us understand God's great plan for young men and how important they are for us as a society and culture. Thanks for joining us.

I'm John Fuller. John, it seems today that so many young men are aimlessly wandering, maybe through gaming or literally just wandering through the streets. You know, what to do? What do we do?

It's an epidemic and it is a sense of purposelessness. And I think today we're going to hit this topic with a great guest who's written a wonderful book, The Young Men We Need. And, you know, with a father of two young men, I'm really interested in what we're going to talk about.

Yeah, I'm leaning in as well. And Brandt Hansen is a syndicated radio host on more than 200 radio stations. He's the author of a number of books. And as you said, Jim, the one that's going to form the foundation for our conversation today, The Young Men We Need, God's Purpose for Every Guy and How You Can Live It Out. And stop by focusonthefamily.com slash broadcast for all the details about Brandt and the book.

Brandt, welcome back to Focus. It's good to have you. Thank you. I'm always honored to talk to you guys. It's always fun to see you. And, you know, I love your writing style and it's just, it's real fresh and it's raw and it's right out there. And you do a great job articulating ideas.

Thanks. I try to write in a funny way, but that's always in the eye of the beholder too. That's the truth.

What may be funny to me may not, but sometimes it works. Let's start with the scripture. We're focused on the family. I mean, that's our core is our commitment to Christ. And we think everything is built upon that, the family, everything.

But you look at Psalm 199, it says, how can a young man keep his way pure by guarding it according to your word? That's pretty bad. That's it, isn't it? It is in a, but guys aren't told who they're supposed to be. They're not. What do they hear in the culture?

What, what are they supposed to be with air quotes? Well, this is just it. There's no, there's no actual vision for it, but there's the larger culture has no clue and won't articulate any sort of specific thing about masculinity. We know that. And, but the other thing that even a lot of Christian guys are going to is Andrew Tate. If you don't know much about him, like he's the just epitome of selfishness using women. It's exactly the opposite of what we would want to say, but literally in Christian schools, a lot of guys are bending towards that and they idolize him. Why do you think that is? I mean, it's an interesting inverse reaction to what we would hope for, obviously, but what, what's creating that appetite in young men to go. So kind of core and baseless, they want to know who they're supposed to be.

Yeah. And he's giving them a vision and in the absence of a better vision, it's something, I mean, guys want to know, like, what is my mission? Like, who, who am I?

And some of them will openly say like, I'm following him because no one else is showing me any model. And unfortunately in church culture, I would say we kind of just default to, well, just stand up, be a man. But what does that mean?

Like specifically, what's a beautiful specific vision. Let me ask you this too, though. I mean, in that regard, we hear a lot about the feminization of the church, you know, that men don't feel comfortable so much going to church and the way that it's structured and it's kind of like school. You got to sit still and listen. And that's not something we typically do. Well, even as adult males, it doesn't resonate with a lot of young guys. And this is one of the things I write about. And I think it's great news. I talk about your spiritual life.

What does it actually look like? Because guys will a lot of times think that God has abandoned them, or maybe he's not real because they don't feel him. Like we're supposed to feel feelings. I mean, we're like our whole culture is based on emotions, but that seeps into church culture too.

And that's not bad. I mean, emotion is a good thing. No, but for a lot of guys, and for some women too, it might be more analytical. If they're not feeling it, you feel like you must not be spiritual.

That's what I thought. Everybody else is feeling something. A lot of young guys don't get it. It doesn't click for them. They're not having that same experience in a worship service. And it's not their fault. It's just that real spirituality, when I'm trying to tell young guys, and they can get this, it's not emotion. It's loyalty. That's what God is looking for in all it has to do. That's why an Andrew Tate is actually taking, because or a Joe Rogan or people that are speaking forcefully into male culture about being male. Yeah, just here's a vision.

They're giving it. I think it's a horrible one. It's one that it's one that betrays what our real role is, what I try to sketch out in this book. That's the whole point of the book is like, what is this specific vision that I can shoot for? And it's a beautiful one. Like it's that people around you will benefit from this. You don't benefit from the Andrew Tate model, the people around you suffer. Yeah.

Men have a fork in the road. Either you're a taker or a giver. And how do you figure out which is what you want to be? And of course the word of God is about being selfless and giving of all kinds of things, talent, treasure, time, family. So the vision I'm trying to sketch out is the idea of what Adam was given to do. He's a keeper of the garden. That's what he was supposed to do. He actually didn't defend the garden against the enemy that was in it.

He failed, but that was his job. And it means creating a space where the vulnerable can thrive. It means protecting people around you. It means like if you have a garden, there's species that are vulnerable that can't grow in the wild, but because you're there, they get to bloom and flourish like that.

Everybody's got a garden and this is your job. Your sphere of influence is the people around you get to thrive because you're there and they're protected because you're there. They're more secure, not less secure. See around Andrew Tate, you're less secure, but around a keeper of the garden, the people around you are more secure because you're there. And to the extent that you make them aware of that, they become aware that you're a point of security. They're drawn to you.

Yeah, and that's the big goal and we'll unpack that a little bit more. Let's start with toxic masculinity and what that means. I don't know that many men understand what that means.

Somehow I'm toxic. Well, I think it's of course it's thrown around and that's the problem. It's like this one size fits all thing. No one really knows exactly what it means, but I think there can be toxic masculinity to the extent that if you're trying to be intimidating to innocent people, to vulnerable people. Yeah, the bully thing. Yeah, you make them insecure. You make people feel insecure around you versus secure.

At the deepest level, that's what that is I think. Conversely, there are counselor friends of mine who say they see more toxic masculinity in terms of what they call toxic passivity where people feel insecure around a dad or a husband because they are afraid he won't show up and he doesn't. He just doesn't.

He just has checked out. So it's actually still toxic and it still makes people feel insecure, but it's different. I think that's a difficult one because I think men, when we feel under pressure in your marriage or work perhaps, we tend to back up. It's just one of our almost like instincts is to get quiet, back up, let's keep the peace.

We don't want to rock the boat. However you want to describe that and that's not healthy. No, that phrasing that they put on there of the toxic passivity helped me. That's true. I don't check out like that.

My wife needs to know that I'm engaged and if she suspects I'm not or that I wouldn't rise to the occasion or if I'm too quiet that I make her wonder does he really love me? That's a problem. Well and then again therapists will start telling you that when you quiet down and you shut down, your wife's going to start prodding you on purpose to get some kind of response because you're just so passive.

So then that's not healthy. No, that's a vicious cycle but one of the things that struck me, I was reading another book and a guy said I can become the threat to my wife with my words. Like you can pat yourself on the back like I'd defend against an intruder if you came in but he said most of the time I'm the intruder. It's my lack of words or my sarcasm. When I do talk I cut her down.

I'm the problem, he said. So I think there's something to that but on both of those ends the problem is you're making people around you less secure but if you exude security and your wife doesn't have to worry about, I tell young guys this, if you get married your wife's going to want you to be a focus of security, a provider of security and if you're not she's going to resent you but if you are she's going to find you wildly attractive. It's really true.

There's a secret. Yeah, I mean that's a way to get guys attention but it's not the reason to fulfill this keeper of the garden idea but if I'm talking to young guys like do you do understand women will find you more attractive if you're a source of security and they see you that way like just so you know because they deeply know deep down this is what you're for. Yeah and it's a core need for everybody actually. So the question becomes the golden question here halfway in, a third of the way in, how can a young man take initiative to be keepers and protectors in their respective gardens? Yeah, the thing I start with is that thing I said about the spiritual life. Like first of all God is looking for loyalty so you just keep showing up and talking with him. I'm telling guys he wants to partner with you in life. He's always been looking for partners. Abraham, Adam, Eve, like it's he's looking to partner with you so you just keep talking to him you keep showing up even if you sin and you are a sinner you still show up you don't slink away in shame. What does it mean to partner? I mean sometimes we can over complicate that I think God the older I get the more I realize the simpler it is and we can over complicate that that means I do I need to form an LLC with God and do I talk to my accountant about that you know I'm being facetious but I mean why do we make it so difficult to wake up every morning and say come Holy Spirit let's go to work today. Right and talk to God about what you're what's on your mind what you're doing in life together Dallas Willard said that's the definition of prayer is you and God talking about what you're doing in life together well I can do that I can keep showing up and over time what happens as you continue that you change you become a different sort of person so I would start with that there's a lot of things I unpack in the book about seeking wisdom how to do that how to the importance of rejecting fake stuff which is a real problem as you know but if you're not if like you can fall into these traps one thing I tell them is your schedule determines a lot of the temptations that you face so you can be really discouraged spiritually like I'm such a failure I keep falling into this yeah man you need to have more stuff on your schedule it's true like meaning yeah right exactly you're left with your computer in your in your house for two right it really at times it's just changing your your calendar yeah that can take care of this I used an example of kids I was a youth leader took him on a missions trip to build a house these were guys I was discipling so we were pretty close we talk about stuff and they always struggle with lust that was always a big topic always you know always and we did this week-long project it was with a co-ed group and at the end of the week this was in the in the desert in Mexico I said hey you guys struggled a lot with lust this week and they were like I hadn't even thought about it they're like no we've been too busy like we're building the house we're coming back it's hot out like it we're busy morning till night and they laughed about we've been laughing we've been having a great time we've been doing something important funny how it doesn't become like sometimes those issues leave when you can alter your schedule a little bit that's so true what's your message to guys about why it's important to protect the vulnerable I mean I think it's in our heart to do that as men but you're right the messages today are all over the map we don't know what we're supposed to be right women are more assertive and you know a lot of people think that's very good more women are in master's programs more women in college fewer men are going to those programs now so when you look the message for young men in their 20s let's say it's kind of difficult to figure out what am I supposed to be exactly I just read an article in Vox which is like a progressive right and they were they were having the same conversation like who in the world are guys supposed to be we don't have a model for that so you talk about protecting the vulnerable that's like old-fashioned yeah but it's what you're made for and little boys will understand that little kids if you tell like little kids stop picking on your sister you're supposed to be her defender but you're betraying your role yeah they it clicks because we're made for this and even in that article they said that men are really good protectors and providers when they're at their best like yeah imagine and when that clicks with a kid a guy at least you have the picture even if you don't fulfill it they can go oh that's what I'm supposed to do yeah Brent I want to come back to the what you talked about isolation because I think a we didn't spend enough time on that because it's a well of difficulty you also combine that isolation with something you phrase sexual supernormal stimuli describe what that is and how that traps us yeah it's so wild I'll talk to guys about this like so in nature there's there's a guy Dutch guy I can't remember his name it doesn't matter on something yeah it was yeah I'm on something and he did this study with male stickleback fish which I don't know what those are like apparently they'll attack these other kinds of fish and they have red markings when they the fishes that they attack he's like what if I enhance those red markings what would happen they went wild and attacked like crazy just by seeing this this red he did it with butterflies where he created this fake butterfly and use vivid colors even more than a butterfly and it didn't really look like a butterfly but look just enough that males were driven wild and they kept trying to mate with this fake little thing that he made was so colorful and this occurs in nature all the time if you want to do these experiments but the thing was there were real female butterflies right there available and they ignored the female butterflies and they went for this fake super out of this world like accentuated exaggerated fake well that's tragic but that's what we do that's what our culture is set up to do that's yeah it's terrible it is but that's that's something that once I think a young guy starts to figure out like wait I'm being sold a bill of goods here this isn't a real woman this is pixels this is right this is an image it's not a real person and I'm not having a real relationship but that's the trick it's like that's the supernormal stimulation now you can't relate to a real woman yeah it's a total deceit and it's also the integrity you were talking about what's the integrity of that ethic that sexual ethic right to go for something false or to go for something God created in terms of it being real which is literally life-giving literally life-giving yeah and will help you grow up and be the man that you wanted to be like those that image will never do that it's never gonna call you out on things you need to improve in yeah it just doesn't so you're being you're being it's a sucker punch you're being given this you're like hey look over here and you find out you've missed your life you know one when kernels of feedback I'll put it that way that we will receive is you know parents perhaps of adult children in their 20s that made a decision to live with their girlfriend or boyfriend you know and it's always the phrase you know we we we want to get married we just want to kind of test it out to make sure we're compatible you had somebody call you I think and ask that very or make that very same statement what did you suggest to them in terms of yeah their situation on my radio show I asked him this happens quite a bit because it's such a common it's very common today and I asked why are you gonna get married oh yeah we're getting married we're gonna eventually get married well what are you waiting for well you know we're financially we have a two-year-old together okay so you have a son with her right yep so you're having sex with you obviously your body is saying we are one but you don't have the guts to actually walk that out spiritually like why not just say to her and your son you're safe with me for the rest of my life something like your body's writing checks that your soul won't cash yeah I think that's a great way to put it I think I stole that from Tim Keller who got it from somebody else but it's so brilliant cuz it's like why is this lack of integrity that your body is doing something that you're not backing up spiritually right you you're withholding yourself but you're offering your body well that's that's literally disintegration it's dis integrity right you want all these things in line with each other so that you become who you could have been it should be like an integrated person you know it's interesting because I don't think we understand the depth of integrity and what that actually means you know one of the things I've tried to teach my boys in the dating situation is you know you have got to remember that girl you're dating most likely will not be your wife and you need to respect her in that regard because she's somebody else's future wife right so you need to respect her body in such a way as a Christian that you're not doing things you shouldn't do she should be safe with you your girlfriend your sister your whoever like when you're taking advantage of her for your own thrill that's a betrayal of your role you're now the threat in the garden so how do we get young men to be ambitious toward the right things I mean if we're so clouded as a Christian culture within this bigger clouded culture how do we lay out the breadcrumbs for younger men as dads as mentors how do we help them how do we help ourselves first of all to know we're leading in a direction that's right and positive you know I'm usually a guy who's like well there's you know I don't know or maybe let's look at this and that and in this case I don't think it's complex I really don't didn't you have a friend with a sports car that kind of illustrated this oh sure yeah well I talk a lot about contentment in the book too about having the audacity to say look there's stuff in life that's really awesome and beautiful and I don't have to own it that's a beautiful woman I don't have to own her that's a beautiful car I that's cool I don't have to own it but I've learned that from friends that have gotten stuff within a week my friend got a sports car it was super hot and I was like that's amazing I'm trying to build him up and he's like he's an automotive engineer he said yeah it was for the first few days and then I'm like maybe I should have gotten a better like faster so it's already expensive it's already not meeting the need yeah so like teaching contentment is really good talking about that stuff but honestly about leaving them breadcrumbs about how to do this if they have to be given this vision first and then all that stuff makes sense so to say you shouldn't live together well why really if they haven't been told because you're supposed to protect this woman not betray her hmm you're supposed to be her provider of security why won't you commit to her why will you just use her body and not actually commit to her once you've got that vision in a larger picture the other stuff makes sense but but absent that it's just a bunch of rules or fuddy-duddy ideas or something so Brent I appreciate so much what you're saying and I'm feeling a little convicted here because maybe I haven't modeled this so well maybe maybe I've made some bad decisions maybe I feed those appetites I don't deny them enough so how do I how do I believably model and and help a younger guy in my life to see this is the vision and it's attainable even though I've messed up along the way I think there's something really powerful about a guy who apologizes and it doesn't have to be a big weepy thing but just go you know what I was thinking the other day I haven't always been what I should have been and I think it's this keeper of the garden thing but I'm gonna try to walk that out now and I want to be a source of security for people now I understand that but it's never too late to change I think younger guys we have a ton of respect for that I would I had there's guys older than me no yeah but I had a lot of guy he was probably 20 years older than me and I was talking about talking the way you talk to your wife and making her feel secure and he said at the end of this like little small group he's like I have I have had a marriage for over 40 years and I've been a sarcastic jerk that stops today I don't remember having that conversation with you no I mean it's true I mean some of us developed a skill set and it's just man it's our sword I know I know I know whip it out so fast we don't even know we've taken it out of the sheath but how awesome is it he's like that stops today like you can still rethink you can repent you can change and I don't think less of him I'm like dude I have so much respect for that yeah you're gonna change and your wife's gonna benefit she's gonna get to flourish and bloom as a result of you being a better keeper of your garden that's awesome well and you know what's fundamentally true is when we aim at something we have a higher likelihood we're gonna hit it I think the aimlessness is what most of us are feeling in a culture that doesn't give direction or gives poor direction right wrong direction and then we in the church I mean we've got to do the job of lifting our young men up to say here's the goal and what you're seeing in these social leaders that are taking guys down a darker path of like true toxic masculinity you know we've got to get in there and arrest that and tell young men there's a better way and it's going to connect with your heart yes exactly that's why I'm of course you write a book you're gonna like hey everybody I hope you read it like it I'm more wound up about this than I am anything else well that's interesting yeah because you write about a lot of different topics I'm really wound up about it because I see this and I see everyone suffering as a result of guys not knowing what their role is supposed to be everybody and guys feel depressed there's death the deaths of despair suicide rates it's three out of four it's men yeah like you don't know it's very enlivening when you know what your mission is but you're gonna feel meaningless if you're just doing meaningless stuff yeah it's but that's what young guys are largely doing I'm like give them a better picture so that they could oh that's actually going to energize them yeah well that's what your book does let's lend that we'll end on a high note a funny note it should be this analogy you had trying to find toilet paper during the pandemic it's a funny illustration of being aimless but go ahead well I was talking about just being ripped off like it's swindled in life but yeah during covid there's the toilet paper shortage and all that so we went on amazon and ordered at a very high rate like 50 bucks I can't remember for 12 rolls of toilet paper like at least we'll have some delivered to us we get it all 12 rolls can fit in a shoebox it was mini mini rolls toilet paper for elves is what we got and I was like what this is hilarious but it's it's so illustrative honestly of what how evil works in the world yeah because you get you get sold something and it turns out it drains the life out of you it doesn't give you life and nobody should mess with toilet paper no that's the other takeaway that's my next book actually it's called nobody should mess with is that what it says no that's not gonna be the title I mean that's like you you gotta count on that delivery yeah you totally do and when it showed up for like no it's not it then you had to wait a month for more right so you're out in the garden like picking up leaves and things it's crazy great you've done a great job the young men we need god's purpose for every guy and how you can live it out I mean this is something not only us older guys need to do and embrace but we got to model it like you said John and we need to point younger men in the direction to go talk about it develop a mentoring group in your church let alone talking to your own sons about what the goal is and you've done a wonderful job so this is a resource you should get if you can make a gift of any amount to focus on the family we'll send it as our way of saying thank you for your involvement in the ministry and then you got a great resource to read and to talk about with the men and the young men in your life so get a hold of us if you can make that a monthly gift that's great it helps the budget if you can't afford it we'll send it to you because we believe in the content like Brent said it's something that burns at the top of his list on the important things that we need to embrace in the culture you want to change the culture change the way and the goals for what men need to be about yeah get in touch with us today our number is 800 the letter a and the word family 800-232-6459 or stop by the show notes for all the details about how to donate and get a copy of this great book Brent once again well done it's so good to see you and thanks for your attitude and just the way you approach these things thank you appreciate you guys a lot and thank you for joining us today for Focus on the Family with Jim Daly I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ hey everybody here the latest episode of my life becomes sloppy sentiment and truth without love becomes hard and can be vicious doctor Lennox will help you overcome barriers when sharing your faith on the next refocus with Jim Daly.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-07 05:05:06 / 2024-05-07 05:16:32 / 11

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