Todd is the Co-founder and Executive Director of MenLiving and is the host of Zen Parenting Radio. Todd is a life and leadership coach for men. Todd is a member of The Mankind Project, and a blogger for The Good Men Project. Todd is married to Cathy and are the parents of three wonderful teenage daughters.
395: Taking Men & Boys Out Of The "Man Box"
We’re learning more and more about the “man-box” and how harmful it is to men, boys, and all of society. Men are lonely and disconnected and many are in crisis. What do we need to do to address it? How do we raise our boys so they aren’t hamstrung by toxic masculinity? Todd Adams comes on the Mindful Mama Podcast to help us parse out these issues
Taking Men & Boys Out of the "Man Box" - Todd Adams 
*This is an auto-generated transcript*
[00:00:00] Todd Adams: We are taught by societal conditioning that it's not okay to be sad. It's not okay to be afraid. It is okay to be angry because that's a masculine emotion, right? Like it's manly to be angry, but it's not manly to be fearful or sad.
[00:00:23] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 390. Today we're talking about taking men and boys out of the man box with Todd Adam.
Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clarke- Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.
I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20. I'm the creator of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the best selling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and raising Kind Confident Kids.
Welcome back to the Mindful Mama Podcast. Hey, listen, if you haven't done so yet, hit the subscribe button so you don't miss any of these. And if you've ever gotten any value from this podcast please do me a favor, go over to Apple Podcasts or Spotify and leave us a rating and review. It helps the podcast grow more.
It takes 30 seconds, and I hugely appreciate. In just a moment, we're going to be talking to Todd Adams, co-founder and Executive Director of Men Living, and the host of Zen Parenting Radio. Todd is a life and leadership coach for men. He's the member of the Mankind Project and a blogger for The Good Men Project.
And Todd is married to Kathy and they are the parents of three wonderful teenage daughters. And we're gonna talk about what happens when disconnected men show up in relationships, and what can we do to raise their consciousnesses. How can we raise boys so they are not in the man box? We're gonna talk about all of this and more, so join me at the table as I talk to Todd Adams.
Todd, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast again. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited. It's so funny to talk to you without Kathy, your wife.
[00:02:33] Todd Adams: It's always a little scarier with how Kathy, because Kathy is a wonderful podcaster, and I just riff off of everything she says, and I always have this anxiety, fear like, oh, it's all on me now.
I gotta come up with all this stuff. Yeah. It better
[00:02:46] Hunter: be good. Todd. No pressure. Yeah, no pressure. I'm excited to talk to you about. Men fatherhood and things like that. And you've been talking about this for a long time, but I'm just curious about how it how you started to become interested in studying about this sort of lack of connection that men had in their relationships.
[00:03:05] Todd Adams: Yeah. I could make this an hour long story or a two minute story. Let's go two minutes. Normal child, not normal childhood, an interesting childhood, but had a bunch of friends, went to college, had a bunch of friends, drank beer, did all the. And then in my twenties I went to work and I drank more beer with my friends and there was a specific weekend that was especially impactful.
I went to a place called Galen, Illinois, which is about two and a half hours west with my college buddies. And we drank and we gambled and we. Did all this silly stuff that happens in guy culture and upon returning home, my wife who knows these men, because we went to college together, she said, how are the guys?
I said, great. How was the weekend? It was great. And then she started asking me specific questions about the guys what's going on in their worlds? And I'm, I realized after a 72 hour stint with these guys, I did not have a single moment of honest, authentic conversation with them. And meanwhile, my wife will go out for a few hours with her girlfriends and just know everything.
And I'm like, so I had this like scary moment looking into my future like, wow, if this is. The connection that I'm gonna have with these guys, and it's only gonna be based on superficialness and surfacey stuff. My, my life is gonna be less meaningful. I love my wife and I have all these wonder, wonderful conversations with her, but I needed something more than that.
So I decided, I wrote an email on a flight home from Vegas to a buddy of mine, and I said, how about we start a Ben's group and. On board and the only rules were to not drink and not watch sports. So I had three or four buddies in my room in my living room. Kathy was nice enough to go upstairs with our three daughters and we just had an authentic conversation.
And we couldn't hide behind sports or alcohol. That's what got me started with it. And it's been slowly picking up steam ever since since 12 years ago. And I'm sure we'll talk a little bit about men living, but now I'm the executive director of a organization for men, and we're just trying to connect to ourselves and each other in a more authentic way.
This whole idea that
[00:05:16] Hunter: You went, you were with Sid with them for 72 hours and you didn't really know anything about their lives after. That is shocking to me in some ways, but also this is a piece about, this is something about men's culture and for you that was a real problem.
Do you think? Is a problem for most men or do you think this is something that men are content with the status quo, or is this just something that is like a way of being that has evolved out of our cultural expectations?
[00:05:49] Todd Adams: I think that's a really good question. Do I think that they're okay with the status quo?
My answer is no. Most guys are not yet. Also, most guys are unwilling to step into that space or initiate. One story I sometimes tell is, I did this Y M C A father daughter weekend. And I've been going for years and years and it was just so surfacey and it was so unfulfilling to me. So one year I got sick of the surface of the conversation, cuz all we talked about with the other dads was, how's work?
Or what do you think about the Bears or the Cubs or the White Sox or the bowls? And I just found myself getting really bored. So this year I decided I'm just gonna lean in with. With vulnerability off the bat with men that I've never met, just to, as a science experiment, just to see what might happen.
Wait, what'd you say? They'd be like, how you doing, Todd? I'm like, actually, I'm doing okay, but I'm struggling a little bit because I'm having a hard time really communicating well with my wife because she feels like I'm not carrying my weight. I feel like I am, and sometimes I just have some sadness around that and I get.
And some men like turn around and walk away as quickly as possible because they're not used to another man sharing any, with any sense of vulnerability. But most guys are like, oh, it's gonna be one of those. They don't say this, but, oh, it's gonna be a conversation like that. And they're willing, but somebody just needs to make a move.
Somebody needs to initiate it. And I decided I was gonna be the initiator. And it was scary because I'm vulnerable with guys. I know guys, I don't know. And but it was a really fulfilling weekend for me and it was a much better weekend because I got to know guys more authentically. And we talked about our fears and our challenges and our struggles, struggles versus all the other boring work sports stuff that we would talk about ad nauseum.
[00:07:33] Hunter: is the idea of the man box, right? Like this idea that men can't express their feelings. Can you just describe what this is that is like holding men back from like just being honest and authentic and vulnerable.
[00:07:49] Todd Adams: Yeah it's I think, I dunno, sometimes I say it and it doesn't land well, but we've been lied.
I judge, the story I make up is that we as men and boys have been lied to most of our life. When we show up coming out of our mother's womb, we come as this whole person with all these different emotions, fear, anger, sadness, joy all of it. And over time we are taught. Societal conditionings that it's not okay.
It's not okay to be sad. It's not okay to be. It is okay to be angry because that's a masculine emotion, right? Like it's manly to be angry, but it's not manly to be fearful or sad, and it's something that we're conditioned to believe in. And there's times I also am a one-on-one coach and there's guys that I try to bring them back to that place.
Of a whole being. A whole being with a whole range of emotional expression. And believe me, I'm not an expert at this. I still sometimes struggle trying to allow these feelings to come through in its most authentic expression, but I'm getting much better at it in my middle age. I just turned 50 last May.
But the guys will say to me, I don't know how to do that. And I say, actually, you do. You used to be an expert at this when you were two years old when your needs weren't getting met. You get afraid, you get sad, you get angry over time. You have forgotten how to do it, but you do know how to do it. And the problem with the man box is we get ostracized.
So it makes sense of why we shut down and only live within the man box. And the man box is simply, it's a way to box us in to what it means to be a man. I'm only how much money I have on my bank account, or I'm only how many athletic trophies are in my trophy cabinet, or I am how many romantic partners I have.
I am only how tough I am. And that's really not a good way of being a human being. We are humans that have a whole range of emotion. And most of us just squash it down and we have since forgotten how to tap back into that. And so yeah, the spaces that I create, either with a one L coaching or with Men Living, which is the group that I am executive director of, we try to create these spaces to be able to hold some of these different versions of what it means to be a man.
And it's a wonderful thing. It's something really gratifying. So
[00:10:16] Hunter: it sounds like it's incredibly needed. At least for me, when I was given the cultural message like, oh, you're as a female you're not allowed to feel anger. It was like this, like expressions of I end up making all these paintings that were all these expressions of like aggression and exploring it and things like that.
Just to have it, not have a whole range of emotions not be expressed as a human. It's like toxic to your body to, to have that happen. I had to express that in some way, but like I know from a lot of people it's these emotions are sublimated and then it's like, how does it come out then?
[00:10:55] Todd Adams: Yeah, and it's something that we push down and the same goes for you Hunter obviously are talking about from the female perspective, and you guys were trained and conditioned to be people pleasers and not rock the boat. And us guys were invited to. Get our needs met and be angry and all that.
But we weren't allowed to have that gentle, softer side of us. And sometimes when I talk on podcasts or talk to groups of people, this is not all about men and boys. This is about women and girls and non-binary obviously. But it's a both and like I, I spend a lot of my time trying to, You know our, so our vision of men living is a world of healthy, connected men.
And our mission is to create spaces where men can connect, heal, drive. And I spend a lot of my time trying to support the men out there. And there's a lot of times, cuz I have three daughters, there's a lot of times where people be like, what about the women out there? And I'm like, we need to help the women and the girls as well.
Like we're all taught these lies. And as somebody who has the father of three daughters, I'm trying to get as many men out there that have a little bit more maturity. So that if my daughters end up wanting to be with a man as a romantic partner, they have the biggest pool of guys out there that know how to act from a place of mature masculinity, which is a term I use quite often.
And that's just being able to experience a whole range of emotions, being responsible, not blaming, not being victims, and everything else. So that's my hope and that's what I'm trying.
[00:12:37] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break
when men are like stuck in the man box and they're disconnected from their feelings and all that stuff. How does that affect men in fatherhood and also in marriage?
[00:12:55] Todd Adams: I think it would be a little presumptuous for me to speak on behalf of all of the men out there, but I can tell you what it, how I experienced it.
My first daughter was born in 2003, and it was March 31st, 2003. And after that, two days later, I went back to work. And nothing changed for me. And I know that my whole, my wife's whole world turned upside down and it's really and I think we are getting better at it. Just having breakfast with a friend of mine, he gets three months paternity leave, but even heat in 2023 is getting made fun of what do you have to do? You can't feed the baby as long as she's nursing and everything else. And there are these things that, that we as guys are trained we value our career and our business and our ability to provide and it's important for. Any couple to be able to provide, but we, I judge that we sometimes overvalue it.
Like my time would've been so much better spent staying home with my wife for an extended period of time so that I can just bless her and appreciate her and support her and nurture her. But instead, I just went back to work where my world didn't change one iota and hers turned upside down and it was a tricky time for us to navigate.
It was such an inequality in that. So I don't know how I got on that topic, but it's something that I thought of. Yeah,
[00:14:18] Hunter: yeah. Thinking about, yeah, thinking about fatherhood and that's, I guess that's changing bit by bit over time and things like that, yeah. My husband took his whole 12 weeks and in his German company, they were totally fine with that.
That was very normal, and that was totally okay, but that was not totally. Like what everybody did around us was fairly progressive for him to take the whole time. But I can't even imagine having, being alone by myself during that time. I would be like a fruit
[00:14:48] Todd Adams: cake. And that's just the first, that's just the when your children are just born I've, you have a 16 year old, I have a 20 year old and the way I show up in my daughter's lives I, I wanna model what I hope that they end up cultivating in their romantic relationships.
And what I'm say, what I mean by that is I wanna be able to model what a healthy relationship looks like. So I'm married to an amazing woman named Kathy, and my kids are gonna grow up thinking whatever I show them is normal. So if I'm a domestic abuser, they're gonna think that, and I, and all I do is yell at my wife and think that my only job is to make money to keep a roof over her head and food on the table.
That's gonna be normal to them. So instead, what I'm doing my best to show them is a fully developed human being. It's challenge that gets scared. That is sad, that is joyful sometimes for us guys. It's hard for us to even experience joy and to express joy. And that's a main tenant of men living is can we express all of our emotions?
And I'm a work in progress and I judge, we're all works in progress. But what I'm trying to do is just get the message out there to the guys. If they think that there is something missing in their lives that there is ways to do it. And and it's a growth mindset and some guys are into growth mindsets and other guys just wanna stay stuck where they are and complain about their families and their partners and everything else.
So it's it's a one day at a time type of thing for. Let's
[00:16:23] Hunter: lay it out for the guys, say a father's listening or, and this is yeah, Todd. Okay, sure. Sounds, sounds lovely for someone like you, but let's what are the advantages to moving from the old school? Away from some of the old school masculinity things, cuz in some ways you could say that there's a lot of advantages.
You didn't have to deal with all those like disgusting poopy diapers. You were like hanging out and talking to adults rather than being, like having your brain being scrambled by a two-year-old. Like why should men want to embrace all their.
[00:17:01] Todd Adams: The numbers of the numbers and one in seven men in America don't have a single friend.
Men are three times more likely to overdose from drugs. Men are four times more likely to die by suicide. Men are 12 times more likely to be incarcerated. So there is a crisis of how would it, what it means to show up as a man. What you get out of it is to be fully alive, is to be energetic, is. The only way that we can experience this aliveness is if we're fully ourselves.
And the minute that we push emotions down, it gets stuck somewhere in our body. So this is really at the risk of our own health. So when we talk about what's the advantage of doing it differently, you can live longer, you can be healthier. I just heard a podcast and the guy said a stat, like it's more healthy.
A man to be with friends than it is to be a smoker. So in other words, if you take two men, one guy happens to smoke cigarettes two packs a day and another one happens to have friends or has, is socially connected. It's better to be socially connected and if you are, and smoke cigarettes, then to not smoke cigarettes and not have any social connection with other.
That's just one example that I just heard on a podcast. So the idea is that our health is at risk of, if we are not willing to connect with other human beings in an authentic way. And I judge that most guys are just stuck in their friendships, whether it's their romantic partnerships or with.
Other peers and it's something that I'm trying my best to rewrite that script with a lot of other really important people out there working on this movement of healthy masculinity
[00:18:46] Hunter: and the, yeah, those numbers are pretty staggering. I think and that re the repressed emotion thing is like pretty impressive.
I've learned recently a lot, some, someone in my life about. The unconscious. Can you know about psychosomatic illness? How real illnesses, real pain, things like back pain, things like gastrointestinal pain can be created by the unconscious that doesn't want to feel or express certain feelings. And we're seeing that happen to people in my life and that, that's it.
It can create real pain to distract from feeling feelings because we may be unwilling to feel difficult
[00:19:22] Todd Adams: feeling. Yeah. And what we try to do is it starts with emotional literacy. Do us guys know the difference? Do we know about joy, fear, sadness, and like all the nuances between them.
So it starts with just being emotionally literate and then it goes to emotionally intelligent. Can you identify an emotion in your body? Do you have the ability to. Can you gain wisdom by whatever that emotion is there to teach you? As I understand fear is just an emotion that happens inside of us that something needs to be known.
Anger means a boundary's been crossed, so can we gain wisdom from whatever the anger is teaching us? Joy means something needs to be expressed, something needs to be fully expressed. Sadness means something needs to be let go of. These are some of the things that I was never taught in. I had to be taught in my adulthood yeah, cuz I thought emotions are a distraction when in fact they give us a lot of information if we can just unblock ourselves.
And that's a, it's an uphill battle for most of us guys, and we're just trying to start that conversation. It's can we work on feelings and body sensations and emotions as opposed to just telling stories about our experiences.
[00:20:35] Hunter: And these, this is the pathway to connecting authentically with other people when men are going through a crisis of loneliness.
[00:20:43] Todd Adams: Yeah. It's happened like we're recording this on February 14th, yesterday there was a shooting at Michigan State University. And this is all over the news, not just that the c d C just came out with, and this is talking about you. What's most important is not, it's not for us guys, it's for the females out there.
Like I would hope that the females out there want us to do this work around it, and the CDC just came out with a report yesterday, or maybe it was the day before. Said that one of five girls said in 2021 that they recently had experienced sexual violence, and I'm guessing 90%, 95%, 99% happened at the hands of a man.
And I don't wanna be perceived as a man basher. I love the men's groups that I'm in and all that, and it's usually a small minority of men that are causing the most amount of harm. What I hope to do is be able to raise a bunch of men that when they see something that. Miss say that there's a fraternity party.
And my hope is not just for guys to not be a perpetrator of sexual violence, but to actually stand up and when they see something, they notice something and they do something. And that's something that doesn't happen as often. I have one daughter on a college campus, I have another one going their next ball, and I'm scared for them.
Think about that ratio. One of five girls said in 2021 that they experienced sexual violence. It's not the women out there that are making these mistakes. You turn on the news most of the time it's a man making a mistake. And like I said, it's not man bashing, it's a small minority of men.
But can the good guys? Stand up and raise the bar for everybody. That's what I'm hoping we could
[00:22:22] Hunter: do. Yeah I look at all of those things and it's always like a man who can't express their feelings, can't tolerate difficult feelings, can't tolerate different things like that. All right. So there's obviously a crisis for men in themselves who want to just have more connection and more life, a deeper connection to life and their families and things like that.
But also like our society. So if we're thinking. Parents you have three girls, but this is, this starts in the family, right? This starts our culture, starts in our families. So we wanna, and I imagine for a lot of people it's hard to think about raising a child to, or boy, to not be in this man box.
I imagine men have a lot of fear about that. Can we talk about how do we start to transmit and change things for the next generat?
[00:23:08] Todd Adams: My wife and I have been doing a podcast for a long time, and one of the things that I've come to realize is that the best way to teach is not what you say to your kids.
It's by modeling the behavior that you wanna see very informally. I came up with this idea like most of. Parenting influence for me is say 70% of, is it I'm modeling, has nothing to do with what I say. Maybe 25% is not what I say, but how do I say it from what energy am I saying something from? And then 5% has to do with what I, the actual words that come out of my mouth yet.
A podcast host who's been talking to a lot of Parenting groups for a long time, everybody's what do I say to my kids when I do this? Or what do I say to my kids when they're on their iPad all day? And my response is always okay, how are you? What behavior are you modeling? And then from what energy are you trying to connect with your kid from as opposed to just telling 'em why they shouldn't be on their phone all day?
So for me, I always am trying to spend most of my energy trying to. And then what's left over. Just having some cultivates, some self-awareness. Okay, am I in a position to connect with my kid and can I do it from a conscious place? And if I can't, it's time for me to make a shift before I engage with my kid.
Because if I try to engage with my kid, whether they're eight years old or 18 years old, from this kind of reactive place, it's probably not gonna go very far. So those are some of the things that I try my best to practice and then talk to other people about it if they want to. Okay,
[00:24:43] Hunter: so modeling is key.
So for the moms out there who have husbands at home, men, they may want to raise their partner's consciousness, right? Because they know that the, whatever their, the father of their children is modeling is making an impact, right? Fatherhood matters, it's important, right? So what kind of conversations. Women have with their partners to raise their consciousness or men have with their male partners.
[00:25:12] Todd Adams: Yeah, I think we did a podcast one time and I think we title it. How do I get my partner to dot, dot.like cuz whenever we're at a conference or First question. First of all, most of the times we have a conference or host live events. It's dominated by females, which drives me nuts. And I'm trying to raise an awareness so that guys will invest in fatherhood the way that the females in my experience are investing in their mother.
And one of the first questions that I always get is like, how do I get my husband to join your men's group? Or how do I get my husband to have some self-awareness? And first of all, it's not an easy question to answer, and I'm always inviting whoever asks that question to have some self-awareness for yourself first.
Because as much as you wanna say that you have control over your partner and how they show up, you don. What we do have control over is our own experience and our own influence and not anybody else's. So once again, it actually goes back to modeling for one thing, can you be in this conscious place and interact from with your husband in this example, from a place of consciousness?
Cuz a lot of the times the wife in this particular situation will be like, start complaining why their husband spends whatever all the time in the garage and not engaging with their kid or complaining about what. And what happens to us guys is we get really defensive and we withdraw.
And I know I'm speaking for a lot of people, which I probably shouldn't be doing. I should speak for my own experience if Kathy, and it rarely happens. But if Kathy's criticizing me from this unconscious place, I just get defensive. Not much is gonna happen. So the idea is, can you approach your partner from a place of curiosity, openness, collaboration, understanding what.
Your husband tick, and my guess is your husband probably was raised in this man box and he thinks that his value is predicated upon how much he gets accomplished in a day. And it has nothing to do with having difficult conversations with your kids, has to do with how you showed up at work that day.
So it's one of those things like if you can show up in those interactions where you really want your husband to shift a stuck mindset to a growth mindset. It has to do with the energy that you're showing up with. And can you do it? Because if it comes out from a reactionary defensive posture, it's probably gonna go sideways pretty quick.
And that's one thing I would share is just own your experience and to be able to se do it through a sense of openness and just know that this happens a lot. I get a lot. Wives and mothers coming to Kathy and I and saying I just wish my husband were more conscious and took more of his own responsibility in this household.
And I feel for them. And just know that we're trying to do our best to raise the, and elevate the consciousness of the guys out there. And sometimes the woman, the wife, is the best influence.
[00:28:03] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.
Yeah. So I'm imagining in this situation, like dear listener say you are listening to Todd and you're saying, I want my husband to be waking up to get outta the man box. He's lonely. He is suffering, he's not connecting with his kids. I can see these things, right? And maybe he's reactionary and you may be seeing all these things and you are frustra.
May. What I'm hearing from what you're saying, Todd, is like this idea of look at yourself self-awareness. How is this making you feel and how is it affecting you? Are you worried for him and his safety? Under your frustration and irritation?
Is there worries there? Sadness is there grief over loss connect. What's really there and then how can you communicate that from the heart rather than picking apart somebody's flaws. That those real connecting things, is that kinda
[00:29:11] Todd Adams: what you're saying? Yeah, and I think what you're sharing is an important point is I sometimes invite people to use inarguable language.
So in other words, language that is really hard to argue with. So I. How come you're spending more time, so much time in the garage and I'm just making that example up and not spending more time with your kids? You can use an arguable language. Right now I'm feeling a little afraid and sad because I know that you're out there and I need some more help.
And I am just feeling sheer from your feeling state versus from a lens of criticism and judgment. Because if you're really trying to get a guy to listen, criticism and judgment is not the best way of doing it. Sometimes I just invite people to share their own experience. It makes it hard to argue. It's I'm just really scared and I'm afraid that we're moving in the wrong direction and I need help and I need you to be able to support me.
And I'm w I'm here to support you. And can you look at the world through a lens of this very limited version of what fatherhood looks like? And as I'm talking like from the Weiss perspective we were taught that the nurturing is not our job. If you can go in knowing that, that might help you to empathize a bit, because I'm guessing most of the dads out there that are not showing up as the best version of themselves had a really crappy role model from their own father.
And that doesn't mean that their own father is a bad guy. He did what he did the best he could with what he had. But more ideas, can we like evolve the society in a way to invite men? Not just have these masculine traits, which is strength and firmness, and boundaries and focus, and these softer ways about us, which is the soft, the gentle, the nurturing.
What I'm trying to do in my own life and any man who is willing to listen is can we like decide what needs to show up at any specific moment. So if my daughter is struggling with a friend at school, Can I be really empathetic in nurturing and soft and not try to fix their problem? And then there's other times when we do need to show up in this very kind of masculine way of strength and looking at something and just getting the job done.
Without any type of distraction because there's times when I need to show up as that as a man. So this is not just the getting all the guys to soften up, it's getting guys to realize what energy needs to show up in a specific moment. And that starts with self-awareness. It's hard to make those decisions unless we're first.
Noticing what's happening in the moment, who's in front of us, and how do we best navigate the situation? And it's like it's a muscle that you need to continue to flex and work out because there's times when I get lost and I just show up as the stoic version of myself when it actually, the situation called on for something much more gentle and takes a lot of practice for.
[00:32:09] Hunter: So what I'm hearing you saying is that we're inviting the men not to demonize the traditional masculine qualities of strength and et cetera but to also invite in, also, invite in the softness, also invite in the gentleness, and to practice discernment about what. They're seeing, and we're also looking at the same thing with our voice, right?
This idea of not to say they're wrong and bad for having those things that are traditionally celebrated, like the, necessarily like the energy and the aggressive energy. They're not like bad people for having that. But also it's also welcome for them to have all of their feelings. Yeah.
[00:32:54] Todd Adams: It's really can we get a three-dimensional view of what it means to be a man? For some reason, I always think of this story. I was in my community right outside of our movie theater one time, and there were these two younger boys who were probably about four years old, holding hands, walking down the street and like I almost started tearing up because I just thought it was so beautiful to see Men, boys, two boys, like showing physical affection towards one another.
And the reason I got sad is because I knew that I didn't know, but I'm guessing the minute they got to kindergarten or first grade, they got beat out of them because the homophobic calls would start coming out. And that connection that we all can feel in non-romantic same sex relationships is a beautiful thing.
Like my. My male friends, I hug them and we embrace, and I feel very confident in my masculinity when I do that. Like the fact that I can drop into my heart is a special gift and I wanna celebrate that. And most guys are trying to never, ever be vulnerable or show up with any site type. Behavior in that regard.
So it is a tricky thing that we're trying to navigate. I do think we're getting better. It's just if we wait, cuz I think there's incremental changes going on. I think we're moving in the right direction, but it'll be another a hundred years before we get to the point where I think that there is equality in this world.
This is not an equal world. I think that the fact that I was born a white straight man, I have been given so many privileges that I never earned. And I am put in a position to succeed all the time. And God forbid you're a female or if you're a person of color you gotta work a lot harder to get to the same place.
And part of my vision for this world is that we have a lot more ability to come at it from a similar place. So I'm trying to use the very privilege that I was given that didn't, that I didn't earn, and try to manifest that into raising people of color and females and non-binary into this world.
[00:35:00] Hunter: Okay, so let's imagine a dad is listening to this and he's saying, oh my gosh, this is me.
I've been living in this man box. I'm lonely, I'm disconnected, but what the heck do I do? Where do men start? Okay, if I have to look at myself, I have to build self-awareness. I'm hearing you say that, but that's a little bit nebulous. Where does somebody.
[00:35:24] Todd Adams: There's so many different ways somebody could start.
But if my message is resonating with the man right now, I would first say that look at other men that you hold in high regard that men that you respect, and look at what they do and find some of the qualities that they do and know that there's a reason you're attracted to those qualities. The modeling that I was talking about earlier, this is a great way to kinda identify yeah, like whether it's an uncle or a dad or a coworker that you look up to for whatever reason.
Odds are, you're probably appreciating not the stoic nature of them. You're probably noticing that they actually are a full human being that can act from a whole range of emotions. If there's a guy says, where do I start? I would be like, call a friend and talk to him and be vulnerable. And sometimes that's really.
Obviously we have a whole bunch of resources firstname.lastname@example.org. We have six meetings a week where guys can connect authentically with each other. They're facilitated by certified facilitators, so that's one thing I wanna be out there. We also have something called Men Living Connect, where you fill out a profile, and the platform itself matches you up with guys you have in common with.
All we're really trying to do is make it easier for guys to make friends. I could say that when I started having kids, most. Friends from college in the past kind of fell off and I needed to find a new group of friends because geography moves around and things like that. We are an international men's organization and we have guys from all over the world, not just the United States, from all over the world.
And it's just easy to connect with them in a chat. These days it's easy to connect, whether it's on Zoom or Discord or Slack or some of the profile, some of the platforms that we have. So there's a lot of different ways of doing it, but the first act is vulnerability. You gotta reach out and ask and.
Have that conversation and I don't know what got me to the point where I just wanted to do something about it. I'm, I feel grateful that I took that idea and I ran with it and found a bunch of other guys with me that wanna help me grow the organization and that's why I want to come out and talk to you.
And cuz I know your audience is probably mostly female, it's my guess, right? Yep. Mostly. And, yeah. My message to the females out there is a scared little boy inside each one of us, men, including me, and we just need acceptance. We need to be able to accept ourselves. We need acceptance from the people that are most important in our lives.
And if we, if you can start with that, then you might be onto something as far as moving in the right direction.
[00:37:52] Hunter: So it, the man box is about disconnection, right? It's about strength through disconnection and independence rather than interdependence. And what you're saying is take those steps towards interdependence.
Create those connections. Don't let those connections die keep cultivating them and maybe take that brief step to go deeper than talking about the game or the ipa.
[00:38:20] Todd Adams: Yeah. And it starts with vulnerability and it's really scared to be vulnerable. We're taught since we were five years old, that vulnerability equals weakness.
And if you believe vulnerability to be a strength, but you don't have the ability to really put yourself out there, just do it a little bit. Like what? What's the smallest baby step you could do to step into some vulnerability? Because until we as guys can start, Vulnerability, which I consider like a superpower, and I was taught most of my life that vulnerability is a weakness.
Vulnerability is a superpower. It's the only way that we can truly connect with other human beings. Just ask yourself what's one small step that a guy out there can do to try to step into that vulnerability.
[00:39:05] Hunter: Thank you so much for your vulnerability for talking to all the, to the Mindful, Mama audience and for talking to me today.
I really appreciate it. As Todd, you and Kathy have been incredible influences in my life and great teachers for me, and I really appreciate you taking the time to come here on the podcast today, but also to just do the work that you've done in this world. Is really awesome and is making an impact.
[00:39:32] Todd Adams: thank you. Thank you so much and I appreciate being side by side with you on this Parenting journey with you. We've been friends for a long time and I just really, truly do appreciate you giving me the space to share this really important message. So thanks.
[00:39:53] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening. I am so glad we got to have this important conversation with Todd. I really enjoy his presence a lot. And I hope you did too. And listen, if you loved this episode, if you got something out of it, please go over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and review like this wonderful review we got from NPS in NYC five star.
Wonderful podcast for hectic, stressful times. They wrote patience, mindfulness, and keeping it real, and staying focused on the positive. These are all lessons I'm constantly receiving from this wonderful podcast. Hunter provides such a strong voice of reason and calm, grateful for this community. Yay.
Thank you so much. NPS and nyc. Really appreci. If you enjoy the Mindful Mama podcast, please subscribe and leave your rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It helps the podcast grow more, and if you haven't done so yet, please do that. It makes such a big difference, and I hope this was an enlightening episode for you.
I think that this is such an important issue to talk about. It's a big shift that's happening and as with everything, her Parenting really makes a difference in them, and. The attitudes and things we bring into the home. So I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it gave you some food for thought. Maybe you have a man in your life that you wanna share it with, that would be awesome.
I love that. And I wish you a great week. I wish you peace and ease and great conversations and rest and calm and fun and dancing. So I will be trying to practice all those things too, and I can't wait to talk to you again next week. Thanks so much for listening.
[00:41:50] Todd Adams: I'd say
[00:41:51] Hunter: definitely do
[00:41:51] Todd Adams: it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse, it's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.
It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like. Acting more with them and not feeling like you yelling all the time, or you're like, why isn't things working? I would say definitely into it. It's so worth it.
It'll change you no matter what age someone's child is. It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to.
Everything in your Parenting,
[00:42:54] Hunter: are you frustrated by parent? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?
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