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The Real Men's Club - Vol. 1, Week 3

Owing in part to the number of absent fathers, many men have grown up with enabling or overbearing mothers. Todd discusses the effects of the "mama wound" and how men should deal with it.

Todd WagnerOct 14, 2004

In This Series (5)
The Real Men's Club - Vol. 1, Week 5
Todd WagnerOct 28, 2004
The Real Men's Club - Vol. 1, Week 4
Todd WagnerOct 21, 2004
The Real Men's Club - Vol. 1, Week 3
Todd WagnerOct 14, 2004
The Real Men's Club - Vol. 1, Week 2
Todd WagnerOct 7, 2004
The Real Men's Club - Vol. 1, Week 1
Todd WagnerSep 30, 2004

That song talks about a lot of things. It really ties together a lot of where we're going. A lot of men grow up in a world that is dominated by women because of a daddy that's absent. In that particular song, Daddy was absent because of something that took him away tragically (apparently) at a young age.

That young boy, you could see, he was looking. He saw some other kids who had a role model, somebody loving him, somebody shepherding him along. Not a mommy who was desperate and needy who really treated him in a way a mom shouldn't treat his son sometimes where she needed him in a way because there's a hole in her life.

What we're going to talk about today is another thing that explains why we are the way we are that inhibits us and affects our ability to act like real men, the men that God wants us to be. So we're glad that you're here, and we're going to tackle another one of these wounds. Let's take a look at this first little idea.

We said this last week, but just the reality of this life is that we all have been disappointed or wounded in ways that challenge. I want to say this again. Just because you didn't grow up with a daddy, just because your dad was absent or abusive, just because society is making it more difficult and increasing difficult not just to be men but to even become a man, that doesn't mean that we have to be men who don't act like men. I'll say it this way. Predisposition towards somethings does not make you predetermined to be that something.

I want to let you know that what I'm going to talk about next week, I think is the most significant challenge we all have that keeps us from acting like men. The first week, I talked about how society and things have changed in society and affected us in a way that makes it difficult for us to know what it means to act like a man, to be a man. Last week, I talked about what I think is the most severely self and deeply penetrating emotional, if you will, almost psychological wound that men get, and that's an absent or abusive daddy.

Today, we're going to talk about the third, which is when you have either an enabling or overbearing mama that almost always comes because of some daddy that's not there to play that significant role. I want to say all these things, this predisposition, and even the one I'm going to talk about next week which is a far deeper effect in our life than anything emotional or psychological, but there's something else that keeps us from being like men.

We're going to address that next week. I would highly encourage you, if you have a guy who hasn't been here yet, he's not going to feel out of step if he comes next week. Have him throw in with us. But I would tell you that all this other stuff that we're talking about explains a little bit of why we are the way that we are but is never an excuse for being anything less than what God intended us to be.

All of us have things in our life, like that kid in that video, that disappointed or wounded him in ways that challenged him from leading a life that was strong and healthy and productive. When you get there at the bottom at the end of those quotes, it says, "For men to understand what it means to act like men, they have to face the realities that affect why they are the way they are, including society, an absent or abusive dad, or an enabling or overbearing mama."

Do you see that quote there by David Blankenhorn? He wrote a little book that a lot of these ideas were pulled from called Fatherless America. Especially what I talked about last week. It says, "The most urgent domestic challenge facing the United States as the close of the twentieth century is the re-creation of fatherhood as a vital social role for men."

I do think that's a societal key element that we have to, as men, begin to break that chain and start to step up and not use our absent or abusive fathers as an excuse that we can't be men and certainly to be that role model or father to our own children, or a role model to others who are not our kids.

A guy named James McKinsey, who was the head of McKinsey & Company (a well-known consulting agency), served on presidential cabinets. McKinsey, at a certain point in his life… The higher he got and the more advanced he became in positions of power and political influence and on the national stage, the emptier and emptier he became.

So he went back and looked for things in his life to give him that sense of meaning, and specifically went back to his own children. He was trying to do a little inventory in his life. He said to his kids, "I would like you to all write me a letter that describes your relationship with me." He says it was the most humbling thing he ever did, because of the letters he got back, he had to come to find out that in most cases he had no relationship with his kids. He was an absent daddy. His kids felt that effect, and he felt that effect as a man.

No man will ever rise above the opinion of his children, and that's just a fact. The world can talk about you a certain way, but in your heart of hearts, you know if you're not a man to those who are primary in your life…if you're married, your wife and your children. If not, those who you share life with. If the folks who know you best don't know you to be a man of integrity and strength and nobility and honor who lives for a cause that's greater for yourself, no matter what the world says about you, you know how empty and shallow your life is. It's become increasingly meaningless.

There's a story told about a guy who, like James McKinsey, was extremely well known publicly. When it came time for his funeral, the place they did the memorial was packed, filled with folks, and the man's three sons were sitting up front. Afterward, person after person after person came up to these young men and said, "You have to be so proud of your dad to hear the testimonies of others who stood up today and talked about how your dad had a major influence in their life."

Those kids decided they weren't going to sit there and play games and honor their dad in a way they felt like they shouldn't. They looked at person after person and said, "Let me tell you why this room was filled with folks today who talked about how great my dad was in their life. Because he was never home for us. I'm glad my dad blessed you all, but I want to tell you something. There are a lot of folks who could have led your company. There are a lot of folks who could have been involved in the civic duties that my dad was, but I only had one daddy. The reason this room is full today is because everybody else was impressed with my daddy, and we didn't have one."

That affects us as men. When you have a guy who is supposed to be your primary role model, your primary shaper of vision as to what a man should be, somebody who comes alongside you and gives you a sense of glory, the man you admire more than anything else in the world who tells you you have what it takes and you can make it, and that's not there, that is a difficult thing to overcome, but it doesn't make it impossible.

It maybe predisposes you to certain responses (we talked about that last week), but it doesn't predetermine that you can't be this kind of man. I'm going to tell you that one of the things that happens when Daddy is absent is that Mama has to step in and play a role that Mama wasn't built to play. When Daddy is absent, the role that Daddy is supposed to play in Mama's life, Mama often wants you to play in a way that can affect your ability to act like a man, and that's what we're going to talk about specifically today.

I want to read one quote. The editor of Men's Health magazine said this. This gives you a little idea of some of what the confusion that is out there and some of the societal influences that are out there. By 2013, female college grads will outnumber men getting degrees by three to two. He says that means for every entry-level job men will be outnumbered by women who are just as hungry to get in the door.

Is this a crisis for men? No, but it does mean we need to find a new way to measure our suitability for the opposite sex. He goes onto say traditional male roles are shifting. They've shifted. If it's not stability, a home, and the comfort of a warm paycheck that women want from us anymore, what do we have to offer? That was the question he threw out.

I want to let you guys know something. You have a lot to offer. You have something to offer not just to the opposite sex that will make you an attractive mate to them, but something this world needs that if we don't step up and play that role, it will affect our world in ways that our world will not get over.

Specifically, for women, I will tell you that God shaped them to want from us partnership. God shaped them to want from us a protector. Somebody who like a son will be validated, not ultimately have his meaning and significance completely fulfilled in any human, but in a way that God says is appropriate as an image-bearer of who God the Father is. In like ways, a woman has an image bearer who shows how she is cherished and how she is valued and how she is cared for and how she should be led in a self-sacrificial way.

When men don't do those kinds of things, there is chaos. When order is broken, when we move the boundaries that God set, there's a bill to pay. I will tell you this. When you step up and play that role, there will always be a world that responds to it. I want to tell you when you find a guy who acts like a man, it is inspiring to other men, and it is endearing to women.

In our society, you have a bunch of women who say, "Testicles and tires." Right? I had a guy who came up afterward and said, "Todd, you know that old joke isn't 'testicles and tires,' it's 'tits and tires.'" Men's Club is going to be on tape. Turn it off, ladies, if you're listening to see what your husband is talking about. But the old joke is if you have anything with tits and tires, you're going to have problems with.

But the way that we have heard it and the way other women are talking about it as we talked about it the very first week is, "If it has testicles or tires it's going to give you problems. That's because we're not acting like men. What we do when we abandon the role that God asks us to play is we don't become endearing to women; we become like that quote I talked about that first week. Men are like farts. You have to hold your breath and walk through them. The best you can hope to get is to learn how long you can hold your breath and put up with the stench that they bring.

When a man abandons his role and either becomes passive or dominating and dictatorial and abusive and suppressing, I don't blame women for feeling that way. But I'm going to tell you, you give a woman a man who will serve her, honor her, value her, order his life for the best interests of her and the world that she lives in, you're not going to find a woman who speaks poorly of mankind. So why aren't we in that role?

It's because we've lost our vision as to what a man should be. It's because our primary role model of what a man should be is often absent or abusive, and we hate him. Sometimes, it's because we're forced into a role by Mama because Daddy isn't there, and we've lost our vision. Now, watch this. This is the problem.

Forming an unhealthy, emotional intimacy with mom, even when it's created unintentionally, can affect our healthy development as men. That's right underneath the problem. That's my thesis, if you will, today. If you have an unhealthy, emotional intimacy with Mom that's over the line that takes the place of what ultimately should rule your life… If you wear a WWMD bracelet (what would Mama do or what would Mama have me do so I don't hurt her), that will affect your healthy development and your ability to act like men.

We're doing this again because I'm trying to explain to you some of the reason why men are the way we are. It is predisposition; it is not predetermative. These are never to be excuses. I want you to let you know there are deeper rooted reasons than some of these sociological, anthropological reasons, and that's what we're going to focus on next week. Nonetheless, we want to acknowledge these things and learn to courageously face them.

Most men grow up in a world dominated by women. Often, when you have that unhealthy, emotional attachment to Mom, you can't break, it can affect you in ways that you never imagined. It can come alongside and make you like this. A little Norman Bates-ish. Obviously, not very many of us, when Mom dies, are so emotionally warped and wacked out and bonded to her that we stuff her, dress her, and move her around the house, put her clothes on, and kill any woman who threatens to take Mama's place. That's not what I'm trying to say this morning.

Even though you may not be Normal Bates-ish in your obsession with pleasing your mom and keeping close to her, if you have a relationship that even kilters a little bit off-center, it can affect you in ways that we need to address and talk about this morning. It's very subtle and disguised. That's what I want to say next.

The effects of an enabling or overbearing mom are subtle and often very disguised. If a father wound is like a machete that just hacks at you and lops off a major appendage or pierces in a way that you can clearly see how Daddy's absence or abuse is affecting a boy, a Mama wound is like a razor cut. It's clean, but it's still very, very much there. It causes all kind of problems of pain and can limit the healthy life that you're intended to live.

Moms are experts at being manipulative and letting you know that you're not meeting their needs. "Daddy doesn't meet my needs," and a lot of women say, "I'm going to raise me a man who will love me. I'm going to raise me a man who will honor me. I'm going to raise me a man who will value me because my jerk of a husband doesn't do it, so I'm going to make this boy love me." Often times, Mom will become so controlling and manipulative in a way she is doing that and trying to love a son, she can get him off course and affect him in a major, major way.

It's like a guy called his mom one time down there in Florida and said, "Mom, how are you doing?" She goes, "I'm not doing too good, Son." He says, "Well, why is that?"

"I haven't eaten in five days, Son. It's been five days since I've eaten."

"Mom, why haven't you eaten in five days?"

"I was afraid that my mouth would be full if you called me."

You're like, "Gah, Mom. Lay off. Put some food in your mouth." Some of us just have Moms who manipulate us like that. That might be way over the top. Obviously, it's supposed to be a little bit of a joke. But you have women who start to make you feel that way. "Don't you love your mom anymore?" It's amazing how many moms can even do that in a way that is divisive in a relationship.

That's why…let me just tell you…where ever you go for marital counseling, don't go to your mom, all right? She's going to say, "Awe, Sugar. I told you no one's going to love you like your mommy. I told you. I told you you were going to make a mistake if you went anywhere else."

Fun little clip… A show that has really captured and caught on with society in a big way is that show Everybody Loves Raymond. Everybody Loves Raymond is a show that talks about this specific dysfunction as well as anything I've ever seen. You have a mom, Marie, who will not let go.

Back early in the show, Ray's brother, Robert, was still living at home. This is one of the shows where he had actually got married, moved out, and then moved back in with Mama, and he's fed up with it. Even though Ray is still living underneath the presence of an overbearing mom, he says, "I'm trying to break out, even though I live across the street from mom. Robert, you moved back in. Get out." Watch this little bit.

[Video]

Marie: You hungry, dear?

Ray: No.

Marie: I've got pancakes.

Ray: No, I'm late to work.

Marie: All right.

Ray: Can I get them to go?

Marie: Yeah, give me a second. Okay, let's go, Frank! Kitchen isn't open all day.

Frank: Unlike your mouth. Hey, what was with all that racket last night?

Robert: What racket?

Frank: Like around 9:00. I heard your girlfriend talking.

Robert: Amy talking is racket?

Frank: Well, she's not talking to me, so yeah, racket.

Robert: So I'm not allowed to talk to people anymore?

Marie: Of course you are, dear. By the way, I agree with what Amy was saying. You are not pathetic.

Robert: You were spying on us?

Marie: I was passing an air vent. You're so cute, Yogi.

Frank: She calls you Yogi.

Marie: You got some syrup on your chin.

Frank: Do you call her Boo Boo?

Marie: Let me get it.

Robert: No, stop it Mom.

Marie: Stop fiddling.

Robert: No, you stop it.

Marie: No, you stop.

Robert: Okay, that's it.

Marie: Okay.

Robert: All right? I'm moving out.

Marie: Moving out? That's ridiculous.

Frank: What are you going to do? Tie a little polka dot hanky around a stick and hop a freight train?

Robert: I have a car. You can stop laughing now, Ma.

Ray: Hey, do it. Do it, man. Go.

Marie: Hey, you. You be quiet. Robby's very happy here. You stay with your mother, honey, you'll be fine.

Frank: He's not going anywhere.

Robert: Oh yes, I am.

Marie: Don't be silly. Let's remember what happened the last time you pulled a stunt like this.

Robert: I got married, Ma. Okay? I moved out because I got married.

Marie: That's right. You got married. And? What happened with that? You lost all your money to that awful woman with the three different eye shadows. The point is, you were miserable, and we welcomed you back into this house, and we made you whole again. Remember that?

Robert: Yeah.

Marie: And now you want to go out on your own again? Is that really the smartest thing? Good. Craziness settled.

[End of Video]

There you go. What's the difference between a Rottweiler and an enabling or overbearing mom? Eventually, the Rottweiler will let go. That's the difference. I mean that. Some of you guys are out there, and your mom still has you. She gets on that scruff of your neck, and it's like, "grr-grr-grr. I haven't eaten in five days because I was hoping that you would call. I didn't want to be distracted, and my mouth to be full so I could talk to my little boy. How are you doing? Oh yeah, and look what happened the last time you did that. Don't be crazy. When you come home, I can make you whole. Come here, you have something on your face. Come here."

Some of you guys are going, "That sounds really familiar." That was the laughter of familiarity there. That wasn't just craziness. It's amazing. How's that affect us? So let me just tell you a little bit about this right here. It is not a wound that is caused by abuse or neglect that we're talking about here. It's disguised as care and over attention.

It's something that starts to happen in your life. Suddenly, you don't even know what's happened because you're getting all kinds of love. You're not getting neglected. Isn't it great that my mama cares for me? Let me tell you what's going on right here. It looks like love, and yet inside, you don't even know what's happening. There's this rage in a way that goes on inside of you. It looks like love, but it feels like control. It starts with an absent father.

Women who have men who don't step up and play the role of men decide they're going to raise a man who they can respect who will love them. What they do subtly is they let you know, "Don't follow this role model that I don't like. You be the man I'm about to make you to be." How many times have you heard a woman say something like this? My wife has said this different times kiddingly.

"I have to get me a wife," which is her way of saying, "Somebody who will do my clothes, somebody who will feed me, somebody who clean my house, somebody who will make sure I'm where I'm supposed to be. Somebody who will be the social chairman for the Wagner household." When I hear my wife say that, I start to think. She does it kiddingly, but I look at some other women who are out there who are doing just that.

How many times have you heard women say, "All the good men out there are dating each other." What they mean by that is the guys who are clean, the guys who care about fashion, and the guys who will fill up their social calendar. They want them a wife. No, they don't. What they want is a man who has nobility to him. They want a man who is loving. They want a man who is going to serve them. They want a man who is going to lead them and protect them.

That's not going to be the two things men become when they have this woman who acts like they're loving them, but really it feels like control. Like the kid who came home from school one day and said, "Mom, I got a part in the play." She goes, "That is just awesome." He goes, "Yeah, it's a play about a family, and I got the part of a husband." She goes, "You go back there right now, and you tell that teacher you want a speaking part."

This wound comes and is inflicted by this a needy and a hurting mom. I put down this. Many of them are married single mothers, and they're filling this hole. Let me just say. This is a great clip. You talk a mom who means well. This is from ESPN's top 25 sports bloopers of all time. Watch this. It starts in the ring.

[Video]

I love it. Tyson goes, "Oh, Ma!" What are you doing? You're ruining my life. The amazing thing is that's a real fight. Tony Wilson was in this bout. He was getting his clock cleaned, and Mama jumped in the ring, Charlie Steiner said, with her high-heeled sneaker. I doubt that's what it was. She starts beating this brother. The referee breaks it up, drives the guy back. They get orders saying Tony Wilson came back and won the fight. But did he really win the fight? Boy, yo' mama came in the ring.

It's crazy. What kind of mother does that? You know what's amazing? A lot of your mothers. After the very first week, I talked about this in just one sentence when I talked about the five different wounds we're going to talk about. I had a guy who came up to me who goes, "You wouldn't believe what I face." He goes, "I've got a business. I hire men. These guys are 20-something, 30-something, 40-something-year-old guys, many of them who live with their mom." It's a courier service.

He says, "When we have problems at work, I can't believe that they show up to talk to our human resource people with their mother." You look there, you go, "Oh, come on. I'd never do that." I'm telling you it's, happening. Maybe you don't drag your mom to those meetings with you, but you're acting in ways that you are dragging your mom with you. You expect somebody to come in and rescue you or somebody to come in and enable what you're doing because somebody just loves you and always pinches your cheek and said, "That's my boy."

It comes from ignorant moms who think they're helping their sons when, in fact, what they're really doing is smothering them. I'm going to tell you it's our job and our responsibility to help mom in her role with us and to break some of that chain. Let me just read you this little quote right here that's there. It starts on the front page, and we'll flip over. It says this.

"When mothers lead the family because the fathers fail to lead—either by absenting themselves from the home or by taking a passive role—boys are deprived of the most important natural model of manliness. Growing up mainly under the supervision of women, many experience insecurity over their identity as men. One tendency for boys growing up in such circumstances is to rebel against women who are authorities over them and become socially disruptive…"

I'll leave this for a second. What happens and what he's saying right there is guys become, in a sense, abusive towards women. They'll say, "I'll show Mom, I'll show women that I don't need them. I'll show them I'm a man, and I'll sexually overpower women, or I will move on and not have any good close relationships with women in my life. The women in my life I'll put down and move away. I won't let them control and manipulate me."

He goes on to say they are "…irresponsible in family and work commitments, overly assertive about their manly prowess, especially in sexual areas, or leading lives characterized by violence and crime, alcoholism, and other addictions.

Another tendency for young men is to identify with the adult women who are authorities in their lives and learn to behave or react in ways that are more appropriate to women than to men. To the extent that young males take either option, they do not learn the discipline, the responsibility, and the character involved in being a man."

This is written by a guy who was talking about the crisis in black manhood because of the absent father, which creates an overbearing or enabling mama in many of those communities. The fact is, it doesn't just happen in our inner cities. We have married single moms in the suburbs, and the same problems are taking effect and taking root.

What's the result? I already gave it to you a little bit, but I'll just do this right here. Firstly, the feminization of man. In other words, we are called to back off what we are really intended to be. A boy never hears, "Jump! Go for it," but they are to be careful to death their entire life.

Listen, I'm not against car seats, and I'm not against helmets when you ride a bike. Good innovations. I'm glad we have them. But when I was a kid, we didn't even know what a helmet was until you played about two years of football. Then they gave you one. We were out there riding our bikes, and I have to tell you. Today, some of these moms… I've watched them out there with their boy, and it's like they have them like they're about to go out and play an NFL game, they're so wrapped up in armor. They're careful to make sure the little boy doesn't skin his knee.

I want to tell something. Little boys should skin their knees. I'm not saying kids shouldn't wear a helmet when they ride their bike, but what I'm saying is a lot of this, "Be careful to death" mentality that is out there. Why? "I can't let anything happen to my man who's going to make me feel significant and loved like no man has. I'm going to raise him to do it."

What you have is what's called child-centered parenting. This is the problem that dysfunctional relationships in marriage create when parents stop getting their needs met in appropriate ways. If they've had their needs ultimately met in a relationship with God who designed them, as they serve each other and have their needs met there, they can then serve their kids.

But what happens is too many folks don't have their needs met in a relationship with God. They don't have their needs met in a relationship with each other, and then they start to say, "I'm going to have my needs met through my boy or through my little girl." It's child-centered parenting in a way that doesn't allow them to play the role they need to in their life. When you have a void of the role that God said will help shape who we should be and that thing is removed, there's always a price to pay. One of the things we're going to see right here is the feminization of men.

Secondly, indecisiveness of men. "Don't disappoint your mother. Do you know how that would make me feel?" So you live your life going, "I'm not going to let anybody down. I'm not going to hurt my mom. I don't want to do anything that's going to make her feel ashamed." Let me run you through something real quick to show you this is not some small idea right here.

At the very bottom, it says this. This is what happens when you have this wound. "Men become overly passive, apathetic, isolated, afraid, making decisions based on emotions, or they become dominant in regard to women and lazy, demanding, or abusive with their leadership." That's the idea. Do you see that?

I'm going to walk through, and I'm going to give you, very quickly, a guy named Paul Meier who wrote a book called, Christian Child-Rearing and Personality Development. He went through, and he said you want to create a guy who has problems with addictions, sexual orientation, and contributing positively to society, this is the way you do it. Now, this is just his observation of years of shepherding people through the pains that come. I want to zip through these real quick. Here we go.

How to develop a drug addict or alcoholic. Have Mom do this.

  1. Spoil him. Give him everything he wants if you can afford it.

  2. When he does wrong, you may nag him, but don't ever spank him.

  3. Foster his dependence on you so drugs or alcohol can replace you when he's older.

  4. Protect him from your husband and from those mean teachers who threaten to spank him from time to time. Sue them if you have to.

  5. Make all his decisions for him since you are a lot older and wiser than he is. He might make mistakes and learn from them if you don't.

  6. Criticize Daddy openly so your son can lose his own self-respect and confidence.

  7. Always bail him out of trouble so he will like you. Besides, he might harm your reputation if he gets a police record.

  8. Never let him suffer the consequences of his own behavior. Always step in and solve his problems for him, so you can depend on you and run to you when the going gets tough.Then when he's older and still hasn't learned how to solve his own problems, he can continue to run from them through heroin or alcohol.

  9. Just to play it safe, make sure to dominate your husband. Drive him to drink too if you can.Let Daddy do have an impact on him. Let Dad get away from that woman.

Did you see that commercial, I think it's a Bud commercial, with that guy and the NFL official who's just sitting there, and the coach is just yelling in his ear? The guy goes, "How do these guys do this? What training do they get in order to enable them to shut off that kind of abuse," and then it has that guy sitting on the couch drinking his Bud. His wife is right in his ear saying, "You worthless, no good… Why don't you get up and do something?" That's the idea.

10 . Take a lot of prescription drugs yourself, so that taking non-prescription drugs won't be a major step for him. In other words, you medicate your own life. That's how to develop that in your son.

He goes on to say this. Do you want to know how to develop a homosexual? Start by using the 10 easy steps to raise an alcoholic and then add this. "Show love for your son by protecting him very carefully. Don't let him play football or baseball with the other boys—he might get hurt! Don't let him be a newspaper boy or patrol boy; he might catch pneumonia out in the bad weather." Next, he says, "Be sure he spends a lot of time with you and little with his father (or any other adult males)" Do those other 10 things I listed, and that's how you raise a homosexual.

Do you see what's absent? What he's saying right there is that kids who grow up in these kinds of homes are predisposed to addictions because they're not used to facing the realities of their problems. They're not used to dealing with things like God intended us to as men, but we're rescued from them. When there's nothing there to rescue from them, Mama isn't there, so Mama becomes some Wild Turkey, or Mama becomes this needle I can poke in my body, someplace I can go to escape from the pain like Mama always said, "Come over here. I'll comfort you." You get the idea?

Then you want to know how to have a homosexual? He goes to it that way. I'll give you one more. This is how to raise a sociopathic criminal. This is what Meier says he sees again and again in how to do this.

"As usual, start with the ten easy steps the alcoholic's mother uses, with the following exceptions and additions: Never spank your child. Physical punishment is a thing of the past. In fact, spanking is now considered immoral and is even against the law in Sweden… Let your child express himself any way he feels. He'll learn from your example how to behave—he doesn't need any discipline. […] Don't run his life; let him run yours. Let him manipulate you and play on your guilt if he doesn't get his own way."

In other words, let this kid never experience any consequences. Be that enabling mom. Do you see the idea? I could go through this, but you start to see that needy moms are the ones who often show us and teach us that this is the way you get through life in ways that can predispose us towards a lot of dysfunction that is out there: feminization and indecisiveness.

What also happens is you have men who look to their wives to play the role Mom played, and it drives women crazy. They want to marry Mom. They want somebody to take care of them, comfort them, and the woman's going, "I married you to lead me, not to be your mom." You have wild women and passive men, and the women are going, "I'm going to raise me a boy who's going to love me right."

Women love this kind of men who are sensitive, and they hate them all that at the same time. By the way, sensitive isn't a bad thing, but overly sensitive and driven by emotions and feelings, and aren't driven by stability and a course of what is right. Do you see the quote there by that one lady, Margo Kaufman? "The only thing worse than a man you can't control is a man you can."

One woman says, "I try to keep people who lie, break promises, and need a 24-hour mom to a minimum. That's why I haven't married," because that's what she sees her girlfriends already having. What's the solution? The solution is simply this. The solution is you have to face the truth with confidence. Don't use your past as an excuse. Instead, exercise faith. In other words, you have to believe you were created to lead, to love, to provide, to protect.

Gain a clear understanding of what it means to be a man and remind yourself who men are ultimately accountable to in life. Let me give you a hint. It isn't Mama. What I mean by that, guys, is you are called to honor your mother, but don't let your Mama take that verse out of context and beat you over the head when she says, "You always do what your mama tells you to do." No, you don't.

You do what God designed you to do and anytime you get manipulated or loved or controlled or cajoled into anything other than that, it's going to affect your life in a negative way. So you might need to go and find a place to be instructed in manly responsibilities (what it means to act like a man, what it means to have the spirit of a man) if you didn't get that from home.

That's part of where we're headed in this thing. Right now, we're doing a little explaining why we are the way we are. I, frankly, hesitate doing some of this, but what I want to let you know is the reason these things are worth talking about is because they are the opposite of what God says should be.

What I hope you start to figure out is the reason our world is in the state it is is because we have left the design of our Designer that tells us if men act like this and are loving, servant leaders, and women act like this and are completing helpers, and responders who love and partner with equal dignity and equal value before God, made in his image but play their role and delighting in being valued and cherished and honored by men who have their best interest in mind.

Together, they love each other, create a secure environment and raise up a kid in the way that is right. When he is old, he will not depart from it. He won't be a drug addict, probably. If you raise a child in the way they need to go, you won't depart from it. That's a principle that is true. Because of the problem we're going to talk about next week, there are some of us who are raised in great homes who still go down a dark road.

The reason so many more of us do is not only do we have this thing in our heart which pulls us away from the light, we have a society that is encouraging us to be less than the light that God intended us to be. So we have to face the truth.

You know what? Some of the reasons I am the way I am is because I was enabled as a child. My daddy was absent to show me what a man does. But, I'm going to start now be a confident man, a man will faith, who will exercise faith and know there is a Father God who wants to parent me and show me this is what it means to be a man. I'm not going to let Mama hold me down. Look at this little verse right here when I said, "Hint: it isn't Mama."

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat [not of Mama] so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences."

Paul is saying, "I'm imploring you and begging you to act like men because you're going to have to give an account as to whether or not you did." Confess your history, guys (this is what you have to do), of settling for less than you were created for. You have become less than the man you were intended to be because you have either become overfeminine, you become indecisive because the world told you that women are sick of you and men like you making mistakes, so you don't want to be one of those bad men who Mama always talked about.

So you really don't do anything because you don't want to make mistakes, you don't want to lead. We need guys who will get out there and lead, who will be men, who will do it with wisdom, who will do it with a vision that is loving and that is transcendent in its purpose. In other words, better than what's for them because we're not just going to leave women behind and walk all over them because we're stronger and able to show them how much we don't need them.

We're not supposed to folks, frankly, who are guided primarily by our emotions, but we are to be yoked with others who will help us consider the emotional impact of what we do. But it's our job ultimately to factor in the emotions and to go to truth and with sensitivity and compassion in a way that will endear us to women because they will see us, in a loving way, understand the difficulty of what we're asking people to do, but we will press on anyway, and they will follow, and they will be glad there is somebody who won't let them just go, "We shouldn't do it this way."

They did a study a number of years ago with the way little boys and little girls, before we screw them up, are wired in their DNA. They did it with Four Square. They watched them. They watched the way little boys play Four Square. They get out there, and they are competing. They want to win. It's a big deal to them. They make rules, and they hold people to it. They drive guys out, and they say, "Go to the end of the line, I am king."

Then they watched the way little girls played Four Square. For little girls, what primarily motivates them is what? It's the relationship. Who really cares who the king is? They get out there, and they play Four Square, and they go, "Yeah, it wasn't exactly in, but that's okay." Rules of the game slowly just broke off, and they loved each other because the primary thing was that they maintained the relationship.

What God intends is that there is sensitivity where relationship matters, but where truth stands. When men become what women should be, we have a society that doesn't have rules, and men are growing up in a way where they stop leading, and our society moves into chaos. Likewise, when we forget that relationship matters, and we just become abusive, dictatorial, and dominant, people are crushed and run over. God doesn't intend for that to happen either.

We're talking about what it means to act like a man which means you honor your wife, you value her input, you let her speak strongly into your worldview, and how you make decisions, and then you lead. Sometimes it's going to hurt them, but you say, "This is why it's right. Do you understand that I've heard you? We have to go forward together. If it'll help you, let's get some other folks together to make sure I'm leading in a way that rings of wisdom.

But we're not going to stay in this weak, dead church anymore. We're not going to support this fake religion and just be societally appropriate by where we attend on Sunday. Honey, we're going to go somewhere and make a difference like God intended us to make a difference. God didn't want us to show up, shut up, and pay up. God wanted us to be engaged with other people and be salt and light in this society, and not just be moving through this little thing in a limp-wristed way."

Face the truth. Exercise faith. Gain a clear understanding of what it means to be a man who is ultimately accountable to more than just Mama. Confess your history of settling for less than you were created for. The next one is to be a man. What I mean by that is you have to leave your child behind. That's what's I'm talking about right here, guys.

Some of you had a tough childhood. Some of you were victims of absent daddy, and some of you were victims of an enabling and overbearing mom, and you still got that Rottweiler who is grabbing you by the scruff of your neck. What I want to say to you is this. It's time to quit using that as an excuse and move on. You be a man. You have to leave your child behind.

Gently, lovingly, but clearly, break up with Mom. I mean that. Let me give you the example of Jesus Christ, because when Christ was going through the stages of puberty, his mom said, "Where were you? Oy." In Scripture, we see that Joseph dies when Jesus is still somewhat of a young man. He had an absent father, but he didn't just melt because he had a Father who gave him stability and a course to run on.

There was a time when Joseph and Mary were alive that Jesus started to say, "There's a course I'm running on that is rooted in truth. You should've known where I was. I was at my Father's house in the temple, learning truth and principles, getting a vision for what it means to be a man, getting a vision for what it means to live for a transcendent cause. I didn't mean to bring fear into your life, but you should've known where to look for me."

A little bit later, the very first miracle. Jesus hadn't done anything on the scene yet to display who he was. They're at a wedding, and Jesus' mom sees these people about to suffer incredible, societal discomfort because they're about to run out of wine. She walks up to Jesus, and she says, "They're out of wine. I've seen what you can do. Do it now, here."

Anybody know what Jesus said to her? He looked her right in the eye and said, "Woman, what have I to do with you?" Which means, "I'm not running, Mama, on your schedule. I am serving God and doing what I should do when it's time to do it. When it's time, I'll do it, but I'm not going to do it because you, Mama, think I should do it."

A little bit later, people said, "Jesus, don't know you know your family's out there? They think you're crazy." He says, "Who's my mother? Who are my brothers? They're not going to ultimately drive who I am." I'm telling you. Leave your child behind. Break up with Mom, and you learn what it means to be a man. You start to honor your mom and dad by listening to them, but you honor them most by being the man God created you to be and being a source of glory to their eyes.

I'll close with this. A confident man addresses the realities of his past and the responsibilities of his present. Face it. You sit down. You tell your mom, "Look, Mom. I love you. I want to call you and tell you I love you, but I'm not going to run my life by your schedule anymore. I shouldn't have ever done it. I'm not angry at you, Mom. I think you really have my best interests in mind, but your wound disguised as love as all about control. I know, Mom, you want more for me than what you think is best. You want what is best for me."

"But honey, who knows better for you than your mother?" Answer: somebody who is perfect. He has a vision for your life that will build into you nobility, that will build into you a transcendent cause, that will make you somebody that the world is inspired by and endeared to, and a code of conduct that will show you how to live in such a way that others go, "That is right. That's the way men should live," and that's where we're headed together.

Father, I thank you for these men, and I pray that we would avail ourselves to what we have, opportunities to connect with some other guys to process some of this stuff, to talk about some of this stuff, and to be men who are shaped mostly by you. We thank you for the moms we had and for the dads we had, even in all their imperfection.

But we want to now leave our child behind, talk about it with other guys so they can understand why we react innately the way that we do from some of the societal and, if you will, psychological, anthropological reasons that are affecting us. At the end of the day, it's time for us, Father, to say you are the one who wants to speak primarily in our lives, and may we be found where Jesus was found, at the Father's house getting instructed on what it means to be a man.

I pray that we'd say in a loving way to our mom, "Mom, this isn't about you anymore. I don't give an account to you. I give an account to God. When I do what God wants me to do, you're going to have a son like you've never even dreamed would be possible to have, and some woman is going to have a husband who she never, in her wildest dreams, imagined that she would have. It will be good, as you intended."

Father, I pray we have the courage to keep going back and facing the reality of our past, but in the midst of that, we also and primarily focus on the responsibilities of our present. We don't use anything in our life as excuses, but we become men who inspire others and endear ourselves to a world that is looking for leaders. May we, Father, act like tender, loving, servant, warrior leaders, just like you were. May you be glorified in the result. Amen.


About 'The Real Men's Club, Volume 1'

(Fall 2004) There is a different Men's Club in town - a place where men of strength and integrity are willing to face the truth even if it involves pain from present or past troubled relationships or circumstances. At this club there are men who are willing to live their lives with honor. Men who are responding to a noble call. A call to live for a something greater than their own pleasure, prominence or gain.