The culture is at war with masculinity—but God has not changed! Join me today for a few minutes as veteran parents and authors Hal and Melanie Young offer encouragement that will meet you right where you are.
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Colossians 3:8-10
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Hal and Melanie Young are the parents of six boys and two girls, and award-winning authors of eight books on parenting, marriage, and Biblical family life. Their podcast “Making Biblical Family Life Practical” can be found on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network, iTunes, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.
[Heidi] Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Thanks for tuning in today. Today is Friday, October 25th. This is episode number 836.
It’s Meet My Friend Friday and as usual I’ve got some people on the show today who are going to bless and encourage you. My friends Hal and Melanie Young are here with me today and we’re going to talk about how to raise boys to be men.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right you guys. So I am actually coming to the end of my really busy speaking season. I’ve got one event coming up in California in early December, but if you want to see where I’m going to be next year, my 2020 schedule is up. You can see it at HeidiStJohn.com/events. We are booking my women’s conference Faith That Speaks for 2021 right now. And if you’re interested in bringing that conference to your neck of the woods, we would love to hear from you. So, come and reach out to us. You can fill out the speaker request form and I will link back to that in the show notes today.
All right, without further ado, I want to go ahead and introduce my friends to you: Hal and Melanie Young are here on the podcast with me again. They are the parents of six boys and two girls. They are award-winning authors and they just happen to be friends of mine and they’ve got some practical wisdom for you on how to raise real men. Hal and Melanie Young, welcome to the podcast.
[Hal] Hey, it’s great to be here Heidi. Really appreciate it.
[Melanie] Yeah, we love talking with you Heidi.
[Heidi] Well, I love talking with you. It’s fun, since I haven’t seen you now for a couple of months. We’ve been off the road, so there you go. This is a great little how do you do.
You guys have a pretty cool anniversary coming up of Raising Real Men and I think it’s fascinating to talk about Raising Real Men, as opposed to what we’re doing now and how the culture has really shifted to be very antagonistic toward men and toward masculinity. And are you guys coming? Is it the 10th anniversary of Raising Real Men that’s coming up?
[Melanie] It is. In January will be the 10th anniversary of our first book, Raising Real Man. And we’ve decided to do a second edition because things have changed in the past 10 years. We’ve seen an explosion of porn use among teenagers. We’ve seen the whole transgender thing, which wasn’t even on the radar 10 years ago. It’s become a huge issue in all of our local cities. Parents are really struggling with preteen and teen issues and launching kids. They’re taking a beating. And so, we’ve done a second edition. It’s going to be released in January officially, but we do have advance copies on our website.
[Heidi] That is awesome. And really I want to kind of, I want to touch on this and sort of camp out on it for a little while because I always tell people that when I was raising my 28 year old daughter, the world was a different place and we are raising our eight year old in a very different and it requires that parents have different tools in their toolbox if they’re going to be effective. And it’s not just with raising boys, it’s just raising children in general because really children are under attack in the culture right now. We see this everywhere we go. What are some of the differences that you are really hitting on that are different in the second edition of Raising Real Men?
[Hal] Well, I think one of the things that we just have to recognize is that the culture has shifted and shifted quickly and that’s the unexpected thing. Militarily, it’s traditional that the army goes and fights the last war, you know? They go in expecting to be fighting the same battle they had a generation ago, and it’s changed so quickly. Even between our older kids and our younger kids, we’re in the same boat as you are.
[Melanie] Our oldest is 29; our youngest is 10. We’re in the same thing. We’re seeing that the things that were just assumed when our children, our 29 year old-
[Melanie] Yes, is no longer assumed. Everything’s changed. And so especially I think sexuality issues is much bigger on most parent’s radar now than it was 20 years ago.
[Heidi] So when you talk to the parents, let’s say they come up to you at a conference and they say, “Listen, my son has been going to,” I don’t know what it is. Boy Scouts, you can’t even really send an the Boy Scouts anymore. You know, “my son’s been doing, he’s been gaming online or playing online or whatever. And he has begun recently to doubt his gender” that he is … I remember you guys, I mean, maybe you do too.
I remember when I first heard about transgenderism and I literally was like, nah, nobody’s going to. Nobody’s going to fall for that. Boy, we are such a deceived people. We really are and our kids are so susceptible to this lie. I mean, you guys saw Mattel came out with gender neutral neutral dolls a couple of weeks ago and so these kids are really being bombarded with it, inundated with it, and it’s causing them to question their identity. Can you talk to the parents who, because I know, I mean there’s going to be around 100,000 people are going to listen to this podcast and you know that a lot of them are struggling with this inside their homes.
What encouragement, how can you reach those parents who say, hey, my kids are coming to me and they say they’re struggling with their gender identity?
[Melanie] I think the first thing is to remember to react in kindness and love because if we freak out, they will go somewhere else. And so we can’t freak out. We’ve got to be there for our kids. We’ve got to respond in kindness and love. Now what does that look like? We believe that the Bible is the word of God and that God made us and he made us in two genders. The advice we give our kids is going to be different than the world’s, but a couple of things parents need to keep in mind is that a child who could not be trusted to make their own decisions about what to wear or what to eat or what to do during the day…. if your child, if you gave them the freedom to eat whatever they wanted and they’d eat ice cream for supper, then they are not mature enough to decide anything life changing. Anything at all. And it is ridiculous to put these kids in the position of making life changing decisions when they’re not mature enough to decide to wear a coat when it’s cold outside.
[Heidi] It’s really true. And it’s kind of a different question, right? I mean, I feel like we didn’t see it coming. Maybe we should have, but I feel like we didn’t see it coming. We didn’t see the struggle, but God did. God saw it. His word hasn’t changed.
[Hal] And that’s an important thing to remember it not only the unchanging nature of God’s word and the goodness of his creation, but just look at history and recognize the church has grown and thrived and prospered in even much worse, much more degraded cultures than ours is turning into. So this is not something unprecedented.
[Melanie] Well, if you read the 12 Caesars and the description of what was going on in ancient Rome, you realize they were dealing with many of the same issues we’re dealing with now. And yet the church grew and thrived during that by sticking to the word of God. And so we lovingly take our children to God’s word and we say, look honey, this is what God … This is creation. This is what God made. And he made you good.
[Hal] And you touched on something earlier too, that it’s really important and we listened to our kids and that we keep ourselves in check long enough to say, “Well honey, why do you feel that way?”
[Hal] Because you know what? It feels real to them. And this is really boiling up around their preteens and our teenagers, which is a time which they are very confused. Their brains are remodeling. There’s a lot of stuff going on that they don’t understand and they’re being blown about whether these cultural winds, they need us to be the place of stability and place of safety, not to affirm everything they feel, but to say, “Honey, hat’s prompting this? Help me to understand.”
[Melanie] Well, let me give you an example from a young child. Very frequently moms will ask me, they’ll say, “I don’t know what to do, my little preschooler wants to dress up and he wants to wear my clothes and he wants to wear my pajamas and my jewelry”. And she thinks that this is a gender issue. But what it is, let’s face it, women’s clothes are fancier, and jewelry is sparkly and looks exciting. And if you instead get him a king’s crown with fake jewels on it and a velvety cloak and he can pretend to be a king, he’s perfectly happy, which proves it wasn’t about gender at all.
And so we need to sit down with our kids and as people are giving them the wrong answers.
[Hal] Well, okay, let’s look a generation or two ago. What would you tell a young girl who really, really wanted to go hunting with Daddy, who really would rather play baseball with her brothers than play dolls with with her sisters?
[Heidi] I was just going to say, I think that was me.
[Hal] You know, in previous generations we would say, okay, this is a girl. Maybe she’s a little bit of a tomboy, but she’s still a girl, for goodness sake. That doesn’t change anything. The same that you say, hey, this boy doesn’t want to go out hunting. alligators with dad, he would really rather stay home and learn Latin and study his books. You don’t say, oh, he’s not masculine. You just say, okay, he’s got a scholarly bent. He’s a different kind of boy, but guess what? He is still a boy, through and through and so in previous generations we understood that.
[Melanie] We understood that it’s all right to have a wide range of women. Some women like to hunt and fish and shoot and ride horses. That was me.
[Melanie] And I still, I read military fiction for fun. You know? I hate chick flicks. I’m just that woman.
[Heidi] Nothing wrong with that. And it doesn’t make you any less a woman.
[Melanie] Exactly. And there are guys who will end up being our historians and they love beautiful things and maybe they’re going to be florists, but they still can be true men and husbands and fathers. And I feel like we’re just doing this generation such a disservice by telling them they can’t be normal and be the gender God created.
[Heidi] Well, I asked a question over at my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago and I said, how many of you women were tomboys who are thankful the culture didn’t try to turn you into an actual boy?
And I think that’s really where we are in the culture right now. A young boy says, hey, I like something that we might have traditionally considered more of a feminine pursuit. Like, maybe he is a little more scholarly, he doesn’t want to go out and hunt and fish and whatever. But instead of just saying, oh, like you were just saying how instead of saying, oh, he’s got a bent this way, that’s cool, we’re actually trying to turn him into an actual girl and we’re harming our kids by doing that. And it sounds to me like what you guys are saying is listen, parents, you can’t put your head in the sand. You can’t run away and pretend like this isn’t happening. You can’t attack your kids. You need to be able to look at it clear-eyed through the lens of Scripture and love your child the way God says to love them, and that is where healing begins.
[Melanie] It absolutely does. Healing begins in relationship and listening to your children and understanding their battle and coming alongside them and discipling them instead of attack or anger. There’s no need for any of that. We don’t need anger and fear. The Lord says perfect love casts out fear. We don’t have to be afraid. Instead, we go to the Lord in prayer and we disciple our kids and we help them because you know what? If we build that relationship of trust with our kids, then they’ll trust us when we advise them on these things.
[Heidi] It’s really true. And you guys, one of the things I love about your heart toward parents, particularly in a culture, and this is something how I’d love to hear your view on, you guys are tackling some tough subjects and at the podcast I talk about, well you know it’s me, so I talk about hard stuff all the time cause I feel like that’s the real stuff. Can we please just talk about the real things? And one of the things I’m seeing is an attack against masculinity as a general rule.
So we’re looking at some, we call it toxic masculinity, we’re trying to change our, we’re trying to feminize our boys. Can you speak to what you as a man have observed, not only in the culture as it impacts you, but also as it impacts our children and how we can come against it and help our boys actually celebrate their masculinity. Because women, you know, Melanie, I know you and I’ve talked about this before. I appreciate a real man. I love that my husband can get up on a ladder and fix things. I love that he’s stronger than me. He makes me feel safe and protected, which is the role of a man. God has made us different.
So when you look at the culture now Hal, and you see how it’s shifted, how do you respond to that? How do you teach your boys to respond to it?
[Hal] You know, wow, we could talk for a couple of hours now, but really, truly, when I see all this stuff out there about toxic masculinity, guess what? Some guys are toxic guys. You know what? There are also toxic women.
[Heidi] Yeah, you’re right.
[Hal] So let’s get away from toxic people and let’s ask, what does God intend when he says, I’ve created you to be a man. I’ve created you to be a woman. And what’s the relationship we see? Well you know, I’m so glad that after having six boys and bless us, I mean that was wonderful, but having girls in the home has been so important for them to say, “you know what? There are some expectations that you as a man have as honor-bound and scripturally mandated, the way that you treat girls, the way you treat women. Whether they’re your relatives, whether they’re strangers on the street, wherever you meet them, there are certain things” and that’s one of the things we teach our boys. For example, God’s given you more strength. God’s given you more aggressive nature.
[Melanie] And that means you have to learn to control it and submit it to Christ.
[Hal] Bingo. You are honor bound to roll with the punch, not to strike back. You know what? And that’s one of the things we teach our boys. You always have to take that restraint because God has given you, what did they say to Spider Man? With great power comes great responsibility.
Son, this is reality. This isn’t the comic books.
[Melanie] And I think when we blur that line of men and women, there’s no difference, it really endangers women because-
[Heidi] Yeah. Boy, that’s for sure.
[Melanie] Yeah. We take away that protection. We take away that “young man, you’re stronger. You need to control yourself. You’re more aggressive, you need to control yourself”. And instead of teaching our boys to see that as a duty and an honor to be strong, to be mighty, to use it for protection and provision. But instead, young men, if they don’t think there’s a difference, why shouldn’t they punch the young woman? And that’s wrong.
[Heidi] Well, and I think something that you said Melanie, I heard Hal touch on it also is this word of honor, which we do not use in the culture anymore. I love how that you said we teach our kids that you are honor bound. What do you mean by that? Like, let’s talk to the mom and dad right now who have a three and a seven and eight year old boys at home and you’re trying to teach them this idea of being a man that is bound by honor. What does that mean?
[Hal] Well, you know, that’s one of those things that’s an expectation that we have in our family culture. And there are just certain things … When they’re young, they’re small things. Like for example, to say, “Guys, it’s our duty as the men to take out the trash.” I’m not going to make your sister take out the garbage because that’s what guys do. We step up, we take out … We do the yucky jobs, you know? And we kill the bugs and we-
[Heidi] That’s right.
[Melanie] Where you’ve been given special qualities, you are obligated to use those to help. Like as a mom, God made me nurturing and I have an obligation to be not to my kids. And so we teach our boys that God has made you for a purpose. He made you strong for a reason. He made you aggressive for a reason, so that you could be a protector, not a bully or a tyrant.
And when we teach them what God has made and the reasons why God made them, then our boys are stirred when we talk about honor, when we talk about doing what’s right and righteousness and standing up for truth. Our boys want to be that. God’s put that in on them and when we teach them those things, I think it stirs them up for good works.
[Hal] And so you teach them the contrast. You teach them the difference between confidence and arrogance. You teach them the difference between the strength to protect and the strength to bully, to abuse. You talk about these kinds of things and you give them examples. And one of the things I found as my sons grew older, it wasn’t so much a matter of discipline within the home. It became a matter of “I’m coaching you for life. I want you to succeed in life, son. And that means when you step out of this home and you’re talking to young women on your college campus, you’re interacting with women in the workplace, here’s some things you need to keep in mind and always hold close to your heart that these are the values that you’ve been taught and that the scriptures mandate about the way that you interact with other people”.
[Heidi] Yeah, and it’s a beautiful truth too because once we teach our children that we operate the way God wants us to in God’s economy through the lens of God’s word, it really does set them apart. There is a difference and we can tell it here.
Everywhere we go, I know you guys have experienced this out on the road. It is a blessing for us to come in contact with a young man who is honor bound, who is living his life to please the Lord the way that God wants and this world needs more godly men, not less. Right?
[Melanie] That is for sure.
[Heidi] So you guys touched on a lot of different topics, in the next couple of minutes. We’ve got about two minutes left. What are the other topics that you’re touching on in the new version, the revised version of Raising Real Men?
[Melanie] One of the things we talk about is the critical importance of the preteen stage, of maintaining the parent child relationship during that stage to lay a foundation for the teen years. We went into a little bit more detail about that.
There’s been people swung wide, to wide extremes on this in the Christian movement from you, anything goes, to strict legalism and so we talk about what is the word actually say about this and how can we operate within the liberty that God has given us in a way that glorifies God?
[Heidi] I love it.
[Melanie] And lots of just basic, “how do you deal with the noise? How do you teach them manners? How do you keep your boys adventurous without them breaking their necks?” Just lots of ordinary stuff about raising boys.
[Heidi] Yeah. I saw a video the other day that my son in law posted on Facebook of him with our two grandsons, who I think or three and six now. And they’re at the top of the stairs in a big cardboard box. And he’s at the bottom of the stairs, filming them, coming down the steps. And I howled. I laughed so hard. I told my daughter, I’m like, yeah, stitches are in your future.
[Hal] Yep. We’ve been there. Yep. Had the wallboards repaired to prove it.
[Heidi] It’s good though, because we’re letting them be boys. And I think that’s one of the things I love about your ministry is you are saying, you know that we can embrace our kids, especially our boys. I know that’s really the focus of this book and a lot of your ministry. We can embrace our boys to become the men that God wants them to be, to really say, hey, this is how God made me. And it’s not only his design, it is my heart to please him and be the man that he wants me to be. It’s a precious gift we can give our sons.
[Melanie] To be good men and to be compassionate men, to have the hard virtues and the soft virtues, too.
[Hal] Well, the ultimate example is the ultimate man, Jesus Christ. And when we point our sons to Christ to say, you know what? We see the good shepherd who is gentle, who submits to God’s will and who lays down his life for the flock. We also see that he’s the one who’s coming to judge the earth, that will rule, judge over the earth and he’ll smite the nations with a rod of iron and he’s the one who spoke truth to power, if you want to use modern terminology, and would preach the truth in the face of angry moms and when they picked up stones to kill him, he would just simply part the crowd and move on. He was not afraid of them. He was always about the truth and always about his father’s business. You know what? We’ve got a wide range of behaviors and characters that are exhibited in Jesus Christ and if our sons attain to anything like that, then we’ve succeeded as parents.
[Melanie] That’s right.
[Heidi] I love it. Hal and Mel Young, thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can listeners find this revised version of Raising Real Men?
[Melanie] Okay. They can find it at our website, at RaisingRealMen.com, and if they go to RaisingRealMen.com/Heidi, then we’ll give them some freebies and give them a discount on the new edition.
[Heidi] Ooh, I like that, so you guys, don’t misspell my name, okay? Or the link won’t work. So it’s H-E-I-D-I.
[Melanie] Yes. And they can find our podcast at HalAndMelanie.com/radio.
[Heidi] Yeah, I’m coming on your podcast at some point, I think in November.
[Melanie] That’s right.
[Heidi] We’re trying. All right my friends, well, you guys are incredible encouragers for parents, especially as we’re raising our children in a very confusing age. Thanks for pointing listeners back to the authority of the Bible and to the love of Jesus. You guys are precious.
[Hal] Thanks so much, Heidi. We do appreciate it.
[Melanie] Thanks, Heidi, we so appreciate your ministry, too.
[Heidi] You’re very welcome. For more information on Hal and Melanie and their ministry to parents, I will link back to all things Hal and Melanie Young in the show notes today and we hope you’ll hop on over there. You can find the transcript and links to their books and a link to their link with my name in it so you won’t misspell it. Have a great day everybody. Thanks for tuning in and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
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Heidi St. John
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