Casting a Vision for Your Family
About the Guest
Randy Stinson talks about the importance of a father casting a vision for his family, and then leading them in practical ways to get them to their goals.
Casting a Vision for Your Family
Bob: If you ask most guys, “What makes a man a real man?” you’ll probably get some interesting responses. Here’s Dr. Randy Stinson.
Randy: It’s not about who can bench press the most or who can kill the most deer—it’s about dominion. In Genesis 1 and 2, God tells Adam and Eve to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it. So, one of the ways that masculinity expresses itself is by the sheer order that we are or are not bringing to our areas of dominion and areas that God has given us. I’ll ask men all the time: “What’s your garage look like?” “What’s the trunk of your car look like?” Those are some indicators of whether or not you are exercising dominion in the little spaces that God has given you. He’s saying to exercise dominion over it.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 26th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.
We’re going to talk today about what makes a man a man and about how you can step up and embrace those biblical character qualities.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You love lists, and I’ve got to tell you—there’s a list in the book that we’re talking about today, A Guide to Biblical Manhood, that I felt like tearing this out of the book and just thumb-tacking it up on a wall so I could refer to it—“Twenty-Five Things a Dad Should Teach a Boy.” Did you see this list?
Dennis: You know—I missed that list. I thought you were talking about the character qualities we’re to build—
Dennis: —into our sons.
Bob: That’s a great list, but here—let me just read a few of these “Twenty-Five Things a Dad Should Teach a Boy.” This is on page 88 of A Guide to Biblical Manhood:
“Teach him how to speak in public; there is power in the spoken word. Teach him to read good books; leaders are readers. Teach him to play an instrument, especially because of the discipline required. Play individual, two-person, and team sports. Teach him to build a fire. Teach him to camp out—pitch the tent / cook stuff over the fire—the whole thing. Teach him to tie a knot—a bowline, a square knot, a taut-line, and other classic knots.”
Dennis: I’d also teach them how to tie a tie—that’d be a good one.
Bob: That would be good.
Bob: “Teach him how to use basic tools—a hammer, a saw, a wrench, and a screwdriver. Teach him how to paint a room—how to trim it / the whole thing.”
Dennis: Yes, we did that. One time one of our kids stole some money from us—
Dennis: —and we got our porch painted. [Laughter] So, that was a double for us—we taught them how to paint and how to provide restitution.
Bob: “Teach your sons how to handle a gun / how to handle a knife for safety, for protection, for sport; how to be a gentleman.”
Bob: “…how to grow stuff—and not just a Chia Pet”; “…how to iron a shirt”; “…how to manage his money”; “…how to shake a hand with a good firm grip.”
Dennis: I really agree with that one, by the way.
Bob: “…how to give a man a hug—skip the side hugs—go with the arms, spread eagle, with bold backslaps.” [Laughter] “Teach him how to keep his word.”
Dennis: You’ve got to lock beards—going back to the hug—
Bob: Yes; that’s right.
Dennis: —I think that’s what has to happen there.
Bob: “Teach him how to dress like a gentleman—coordinate his pants, his shirts, his jackets, his belts, and his socks.”
Dennis: No, Barbara does that for me. [Laughter]
Bob: “Teach him how to tip appropriately: ‘What’s the right tip to leave?’ Teach him to serve others,” and “Teach him how to handle loss.” That’s a good list; isn’t it?
Dennis: It is a great list.
Bob: I just feel like I got to tear that out and put it up and say, “You know, I need to remember some of these things with my boys.”
Dennis: Why don’t we put this on the website?
Bob: No, make them buy the book! [Laughter]
Bob: Make them buy the book.
Dennis: —they can buy the book; but let’s put it on the website, and people can download it. They’ll get the book, too, because Dr. Randy Stinson has really crowded a lot of truth and a lot of good stuff in this book, A Guide to Biblical Manhood. Randy, welcome back to the broadcast.
Randy: Thanks, glad to be here.
Dennis: Randy is the father of seven. He and his wife Danna have been married for 20 years. He is the Dean of the School of Church Ministries and the Vice President for Academic Innovation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Randy, back in the—almost near the back of the book—you outline nine areas for dads, in terms of building boys and helping boys become real, mature men with great character qualities, that you think are even more important than that list of 25 Bob just gave our listeners.
Randy: That’s right.
Dennis: Share with us a few of those character qualities we need to build into our sons.
Randy: Yes, one of the challenges that I have seen in the lives of young men—that are on our campus and that I’ve been speaking to around the country—is they don’t necessarily have good leadership instincts, partially because so many of our young men are growing up without dads in the home or dads that are in the home and absent.
One of the things that they’ll say to me is: “We understand, biblically, that we’re supposed to lead. We understand, biblically, we have certain responsibilities; but we’re not sure what it looks like.” Here, in the back of the book, are just some markers / some ways that a man can see how he’s doing.
One of those is just in the sheer area of vision. A leader of anything—particularly the leader in the home—has got to articulate the plan: “Where are we going? What kinds of qualities do we want this family to have? What do we want to be characterized by? What are the things that we want to accomplish? What kinds of things do we want to instill in our children? What kind of marriage do we want to have?”
It’s a fundamental part of leadership of just giving a vision. This should be done in conjunction with a man’s wife and come up with a grand plan of: “This is what we want this thing to look like, 15 years or 20 years from now.”
Bob: Let me take you back to when you got married. Did you have a vision for what the Stinson family was going to be?
Randy: I didn’t have the same vision I have now, 20 years later. I had a 22-year-old’s vision of what that ought to be. We did have some people / some families in our lives that we thought were compelling homes that we were going to try to model, but—yes, we had a plan.
Bob: I mean, I’m just thinking back on my own life, when I was 23 / when I got married.
Bob: I really wasn’t seeing the big picture. I don’t think most guys do. How do you help a young man see farther than he is naturally seeing at that age?
Randy: Yes; well, I think you have to have a young man that respects another man that’s been down the road further than he has. That’s the whole challenge—is to convince a young man that there’s much more to do. If he wants certain things out of his marriage and his family, now is the time to decide what those things are. Those things are not going to just happen on their own.
They need to be articulated, written down, and then, moved to the next step of mapping out how you might get there.
Bob: So, do you have a vision statement for the Stinson family today?
Randy: We do have something like a vision statement. I’ve got what’s called the Stinson Family Plan. It’s about 700 words / just a few pages. We’ve mapped out four broad areas: our relationship with God, our relationships in the home with each other, our relationship to our church, and our relationship to our community. In those four broad areas, we’ve come up with a handful of goals and objectives that we are going to put into place.
We want to, you know—in our relationship with God, our relationship with each other / we have the husband and wife relationship—we have a few goals there. We’re going to do certain things to cultivate that. We’re going to have a date night. We’re going to be reading books. We’re going to have mentors in our life. It’s not a complicated document—this is not a manual. It’s a broad confession of faith for our home.
Bob: But it’s a lot farther down the road than a lot of guys are, who have never even stopped to consider what that document ought to look like.
Randy: I think—yes; I think that’s true. A lot of men are successes at work, but they’re failures at home. Part of the reason is that I don’t think men realize how much of what they typically do on a regular basis at work transfers into the home in terms of how you might do the same kind of planning and leading that you’re already doing. You already know how to do it—you just haven’t done it for the most important place in your life.
Dennis: And you said something really important that I want to make sure men heard. You talked about finding a mentor—someone who was ahead of you in the race of life—and getting near them. Bob, you know I just finished a book called Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood. In that book, I talk about five steps a man should take. The fourth step, up the stairs, that a man should make is that step of being a mentor and having a mentor.
Dennis: So, Bob, I was going to ask you—you said you didn’t have a vision when you started out—“How did you get one?” I mean, somehow, someone stimulated you to a higher vision / a higher call than the one you had.
Bob: Well, I’d say it probably has happened somewhat haphazardly and more reactively than proactively. One of the things, looking back—you know, if I could go back—we’re getting ready to, at our church, get some older guys together and put on a little workshop called “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” [Laughter] and just help the younger men with some of those things.
Bob: Because, if I knew then what I know now, I’d start off a whole lot more proactively and stop to think, “Okay; I’ve got a limited number of years.” You know, when you’re 23, it feels like you’ve got—oh, man! —a lifetime ahead of you. When you get to be in your 50s, you start to go, “This goes fast!” and most of the time you are reacting rather than being intentional.
That’s where I think Randy’s coaching here is so helpful to men—to say: “Okay; let’s pull back for a minute. Let’s think like you’d think about it as a business and go: ‘If we want to succeed as a business, what do we have to do? What’s our ten-year plan need to look like?’” and then start mapping some things out.
Dennis: Yes, I’ve got a friend whose name is Chip. Chip lives in St. Louis. He has a number of children. His children, every once in a while, will go: “Dad, can’t we just go someplace and just have fun? [Laughter] You’re always being intentional! You’re always adding some direction to what we’re doing.” He had just gone on a vacation with his kids over a holiday. He told me—he said, “I laid some boundaries out for what we were going to do as we were on our vacation: ‘This time is all about loving God wholeheartedly. We’re going to talk about that as we go on our vacation together.’”
What he’s doing, Bob—is what you were talking about. He’s being intentional about having fun / having some experiences. I mean, it was great vacation they went on—
Dennis: —but he was adding some spiritual markers along the way. That vision you’re talking about, Randy, can be as simple as that—just providing a little direction.
Bob: So, a dad starts off with vision and then offers some specifics about what that vision ought to look like; right?
Randy: That’s right; and how he’s going to accomplish it because a vision, without any steps to accomplish it, is just a bunch of good ideas. Even lost people want a good marriage—so, everybody wants a strong marriage: “What are some things you are going to put that into place?” Again, you are not mapping out every date you’re going to go on; but our direction for a strong marriage is: “We’re going to get away for three nights twice a year. We’re going to go on a date night once a week,”—it usually ends up being three a month.
Dennis: Yes; right.
Randy: “We’re going to read books on marriage together,” and “We’re going to have”—again, as you mentioned—“mentors or older people in our lives that we ask questions of all the time.” That’s it—there are about five or six things we are going to do. That’s not all we’re going to do, but those are the things that get scheduled in / that get mapped out. It provides the feet to the vision.
Bob: You say that modeling and instruction are essential components for a dad who is trying to pass on masculinity to his boys; right?
Randy: Yes; absolutely. It’s like a lot of things—I mean, masculinity is caught. There has to be this intentional instruction. One of the wisest things a dad can do for his sons is help them anticipate all sorts of things that they are going to encounter. We’ve taken four of our children through Passport2Purity®. That’s one of the key things—is deciding, ahead of time: “What you’re going to do when you are going to face these inevitable challenges and temptations.”
Randy: So, it’s my responsibility to help the boys, in this case, anticipate: “Here’s where you are going to be tempted. Here are things that are going to challenge you. Here are what some boys are going to want to talk about. Here’s what somebody is going to watch when you go to their house. Somebody is going to put their iPhone in front of you and say ‘Look at this.’ Let’s talk about what we’re going to do in those situations and many more.”
Some of our most fun conversations—they’ll always ask—now, the boys come up with scenarios: “What would happen if this happened?” “What would happen if this . . .” Some of it is just impossible: “What would happen if a bear came out and had a chain saw—what would you do?” [Laughter] You know, I don’t—but it is part of our grammar now in our home. Some of them are funny like that, but others are real-life scenarios that they’re—you kind of teach them to anticipate as you’re doing that.
Dennis: I want to pull a question out of the book that you’re familiar with, but I don’t want you to answer it—
Randy: Oh, my word.
Dennis: —like the book answers it; but you just mentioned masculinity. I think there is a lot of fuzzy thinking today about “What is truly a godly masculinity?” What if your son came to you and said, “Dad, what does it mean to be a masculine man and not a woman?” How would you answer him?
Randy: I would say that—I mean, the way that we define it in our home is—a God-given inclination to lead, provide, and protect, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, for gospel purposes that is for the good of others. Men are supposed to be even self-neglectful for the good of others; and in terms of leadership, provision, and protection—it is also about dominion.
It’s not about who can bench press the most or who can kill the most deer—those things are good—it’s about Genesis 1 and 2. God tells Adam and Eve to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it. So, one of the ways that masculinity expresses itself is by the sheer order that we are or are not bringing to our areas of dominion and areas that God has given us. I’ll ask men, all the time: “What’s your garage look like?” “What’s the trunk of your car look like?” “What’s the backseat of your car?” “What does your office look like?” Those are some indicators of whether or not dominion—you are exercising dominion in the little spaces that God has given you.
Dennis: He’s saying, “Exercise dominion over—
Bob: Okay; I’m leaving now. I’m leaving. [Laughter]
Dennis: You said a lot of good stuff on this broadcast.
Bob: I’m stepping out right now!
Dennis: You have really meddled now! You’ve tied my masculinity to my garage. [Laughter]
Randy: It is order and dominion.
Bob: Your car and my office—we’re out of here. We’re done! [Laughter]
Dennis: But I like what you said. In fact, I want you to give that definition again. You said, “A godly man provides.”
Randy: “He leads, provides, and protects. He has an inclination to do those things for the good of others, under the Lordship of Christ, for gospel purposes in a way to serve others.” It’s a gift to others.
Dennis: He’s representing God as he does good—
Randy: That’s right.
Dennis: —for other people.
Randy: That’s right.
Bob: Somebody who would say to you: “Shouldn’t a woman lead, and protect, and provide too? Why is that what God calls men to?”
Randy: Well, there is a real sense, of course, in which—yes, a mom, in an earthquake, is going to cover her child and be sacrificial.
There are—it’s not to the same degree, and it’s not with the same weight of responsibility. The Bible affirms those three things for men. Men go to war / men provide. It’s part of the biblical pattern—it’s part of direct biblical instruction. It doesn’t mean that women aren’t going to do some of those things; but it means that they are not going to do them to the same degree or have the same accountability to God for the over-arching leadership, provision, and protection—particularly, in the home and in the church.
Dennis: You also believe, if a father is really going to develop his son into a man, he’s got to correct him. Now, I think, a lot of times, as dads, we lose sight of the objective of manhood—and sacrifice it on the altar of popularity, and doing the fun thing, or ignoring correction and just kind of walking by mistakes. You really believe correction is a part of developing a young man into a full-blown man.
Randy: Sure. Correction is part of the Christian life. We’re supposed to be able to speak into each other’s lives that way and speak the truth in love. I think where a lot of dads miss it is—they’re speaking the truth, but there’s not love. They’re authoritative; but they don’t laugh or have fun, as you mentioned earlier.
Randy: So, the climate in our home is—we have very high standards, but we also laugh a lot. I do things that are silly and funny, and I am the primary laughter-bringer into the home. I’m not the lamp-shade-on-the-head kind of a guy, but I do know what’s funny. I know what my kids think is funny, and I do those things! And I’m not going to do any of those things here. [Laughter]
Yes; having a high standard—but also having love, and affection, and laughter—all of those things. The more of those other things you have, the higher the standard you can hold. Your children will rise to it, and they won’t resent it. They will enjoy what comes with it.
Dennis: What was a funny moment in your family that you can share, here on FamilyLife Today?
I mean, you’ve got a smirk on your face. [Laughter] You can just tell you’re hiding a lot of fun moments, here from our listeners—that they’re not going to get a chance to hear. Got one you can share?
Randy: Alright; we have just come off a 12-day vacation. I have been cramped up with my kids in a van, in a camper, in other people’s homes. On the way home, there’s a video on YouTube where this guy is exaggerating all these hand dance movements. In the Sonny’s parking lot—we have our whole family in the van / people walking everywhere. I got out of the van—in front of the van—and did all of those exaggerated little dance moves.
Bob: You were dancing; huh? [Laughter]
Randy: You know, that’s not the Baptist thing to do; but trust me—[Laughter]—a Baptist would be offended by this—but not because it was dancing but because it was so humiliating.
Bob: Because of what it looked like.
Randy: So, everybody in the car laughed. It was just one of those moments.
And Gunnar, my 15-year-old son, said, “What did you do that for?” I said, “Sometimes, you’ve just got to prove you got the courage just to do something.”
Dennis: Kind of loosen up. You got to break out!
Randy: “I did it, and you laughed at it”;—and that was my point—“and so did those people driving by. They don’t even know what I was doing or why I was doing it, but everybody got a laugh out of that.”
Dennis: You’ve got four teenagers. So, when you do something like that, it really does need to be funny.
Bob: But I just want to do know—did Dr. Mohler—did he hear about this, and you’ve still got your job at the seminary?
Randy: Well, he’ll have to hear about it on the broadcast that he listens to faithfully every day. [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, Randy, I think what you’ve given us is a balanced perspective of developing our boys into men and being intentional about doing it. It’s not just going to happen. In fact, if you’re not intentional about developing your sons, the world will be. It will imprint a type of “masculinity” that’s not real masculinity—but is selfish, doesn’t respect women, doesn’t know how to deny self for another person—
Dennis: —and do something good for them. If we don’t push back against it, the natural bent of our son’s flesh and heart is to want to satisfy his own wants, needs, and desires. The world is going to say, “Have at it!”
Dennis: “This is what it’s all about,” but the Bible and Jesus Christ call us in the opposite direction.
Randy: That’s right.
Dennis: You can almost know it’s biblical because it really calls us in a different direction than the culture does. I really appreciate what you’ve done here in your book—really calling men to stand up and step up to real godly manhood. Thanks for being with us.
Randy: Thank you.
Bob: Yes; and I ought to just point out that, on the cover of your book, there is a picture of a guy lying flat on the ground. Underneath it, it says, “Stand up!”—A Guide to Biblical Manhood. We’ve got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
We’ve got copies of Dennis’ book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, there as well. A lot of guys have been through our video series, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood®. The video series is out as well.
We take this whole issue seriously. We believe that this is a part of God’s design for marriage and family—that each of us understand our identity in Christ, and our identity as male and female, and the distinctiveness of that. I’d encourage folks—get a copy of Randy’s book, A Guide to Biblical Manhood /get a copy of Dennis’ book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood. Get together with some guys and go through the Stepping Up video series.
You can find out more about all of these resources when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY. The website—FamilyLifeToday.com. You can call us if you have any questions, or if you’d like to place an order over the phone—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Now, we would like to wish a very special anniversary to some friends of ours, who live out in Fairfield, California, and listen to KFIA: Stephen and Teri Lamb have been married 32 years today: “Happy anniversary to the Lambs! Congratulations on 32 years together!”
FamilyLife is all about anniversaries. In fact, we’re the Proud Sponsor of Anniversaries. This is our 40th year as a ministry, and we’re celebrating that fact. More than that, we want to celebrate all of the hundreds of thousands of anniversaries that have happened over the years because of the work that God has done through the ministry of FamilyLife Today. So “Congratulations to the Lambs!” “Congratulations to all of you who are celebrating today or who will have an anniversary this year.” We’d like to help you celebrate your anniversary this year. We’ve got some special ideas and tips for you on how to make this the best anniversary celebration ever.
Just go to FamilyLifeToday.com and leave us your anniversary date. We’ll get in touch with you about a month before your anniversary with some ideas and some suggestions on how you can have a great anniversary this year.
And let me ask you to consider—when you do go to our website—think about becoming a Legacy Partner. All this month, we’ve been asking listeners to consider becoming one of 20 new families in your state who support the ministry of FamilyLife Today on a monthly basis. We’re looking for 20 new Legacy Partners in every state. If you’d consider doing that and you want to find out more about what it means to be a Legacy Partner, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “DONATE,” and the information is available there. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “I’d like to find out more about becoming a Legacy Partner.” We appreciate you even considering that and joining with us as we seek to provide practical biblical help and hope for your marriage and your family, day in and day out, here at Family Life, and through the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in church this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to consider one of the most controversial issues of our day. We’re going to hear what Dr. Crawford Loritts has to say about what the Bible says about homosexuality. It’s a powerful message, and I hope you can tune in for it.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. Have a great weekend! We’ll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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