[E171] Dads Talk About: Fear

Episode 171 December 12, 2023 00:29:02
[E171] Dads Talk About: Fear
Empowered to Connect Podcast
[E171] Dads Talk About: Fear

Dec 12 2023 | 00:29:02

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Show Notes

Today one of our Cultivate Connection Facilitators, Todd Maino, joins Mo and JD to talk about fear. What did we fear as dads early on? What did we fear as dads early on? What settled out and what persisted? How do we process fear and how can we use what we've learned in our parenting journeys to help our kids learn to process their fears in a way that will lead to healing and growth?? All that and more today as 3 Dads Talk About Fear.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing centered approach to engagement and well being for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD Wilson, and I am your host. And today on the show, we've got Tod Mayno and Mo oner. We're continuing our dad's talk about series. And today, talking about fears. Just a light topic for your listen today. This is a topic that obviously invades not just dads, but all of us. All of humanity in some way, shape or form is shaped and molded by our fears to some extent. And so we want to talk about some of the unique fears that dads might face, but as well as just how, when each of us kind of began unpacking those fears and seeing those fears present in our lives, how was the process of unpacking that? What was the process of beginning to dismantle those fears and to understand them better and to see how they're shaping us and to figure out what might be off in our perceptions based on where those fears were? And so Todd Mayno, who's a facilitator for cause of the connection in Arkansas, he joined us to talk with us today, as well as Mo oninger, executive director of empower to connect. So Tod and Mo talk a bunch about this, both parenting young adults. And so there's a unique perspective there in Mo's situation, parenting young adults and also parenting elementary age kids, too. And so just a really unique perspective and really grateful for both of them joining us today. So without any further ado, here they are now, Todd Mayno and Moinger. Well, all right, as promised, we're here with Tod Mayno and Mo Ottinger. We're talking about today fear, and particularly from a dad's perspective. But as I said with the last dad's episode, just because there's dads talking on the screen does not mean this is not also applicable to any parent who's here. So if you're a mom, an uncle, grandparent, an aunt, sister, whatever, stick around, too. There's something that everybody can glean from. So, but we're going to talk with Todd about just parenting fears. And what are some of the things that we have worked through ourselves? What are some of the things that we see often and wanted to get Tod's perspective. As you'll hear in a second, they're doing tons of stuff where they are in their community. And so, Tod, if you will, just kind of, before we get started, will you just kind of introduce yourself and how you guys got connected to etc. [00:02:32] Speaker B: Yeah. My name is Todd Mayno and I am in Arkansas and I currently serve as a kids pastor at a local church. My wife is a counselor and her boss, she's with living well counseling in Arkansas, and her boss came to her about going to the etc. Training and wondered if we would want to do that together. She brought it to me and like, oh, this is, we started, we did our training in the spring and summer of this current year and finished it up and have loved it. [00:03:05] Speaker A: Awesome. So let's start kind of by framing this conversation. When we think about fear. It's a wide ranging topic, obviously. And one of the elements of this is that we know that fear, particularly in kids who've experienced trauma, can run rampant and can guide a lot of decision making and a lot of thought processes and all of that. So it's imperative for parents to understand this. But as we say so often, basically every time we talk about parenting, unfortunately, it starts with looking inward, right? So it means that before we can walk our kids through facing their fears, we've got to face our own. And so I wonder if, when we bring this conversation up, if there's any kind of initial thoughts you have of when you began kind of looking inward in your parenting journey or even working on your own self, what was it for you that you had to work through there? [00:04:11] Speaker B: It's an interesting question. I was thinking about when we were thinking on the topic, I was thinking about this very point. I was terrified to even have children to begin with, to the point that for several years I had convinced myself I didn't even want children. That really was rooted in some of it was selfishness just because I enjoyed whatever life I was living. But part of it was because I was nervous about being a good dad. And that really terrified me. I didn't have a good example personally in my own biological father. And so I was extremely fearful of being a good dad or being able to be a good dad, rather, and even on another level, being a good dad, to say, a son over a daughter, I thought, okay, so someday, if I do have children, I really want a daughter over a son. All these things went through my mind, and all of it was rooted in. [00:05:03] Speaker A: Fear, man, so finish the story. So play that out so you're in that spot, and then from there to then, kids being your life. [00:05:15] Speaker B: So eventually, this is how it happened. It was a conviction in my heart. The Lord convicted me about children. And I'm careful when I share this story because I have friends who've dealt with fertility issues and struggled with that in really difficult times trying to have a child. But for me and my particular story, the Lord pressed deeply on my heart and I said, okay, I just surrendered. And that month we conceived, and I think often about what is so important that I needed my heart to break and I needed to be in a place of submission to concede to having children. Right. And from there, that fear began to stifle because I realized, okay, these were just made up thoughts in my mind that were tearing me apart. So then I shifted from that to, okay, I want to do it right, and then you're fearful of making sure you do everything exactly like you're supposed to do. And how can I be a good parent? And what is that going to look like? And what if this and what if that? And what happens someday when my children start to ask me, did I do this when I was a teenager or whatever, right. All of those things kind of swell up, doing the job right. And really stewarding my family. Well, it's a big. [00:06:43] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. You know, mo, obviously you are more veteran parent than I have, older kids than I do. And so you've been at this for a long, long time is what I'm saying. [00:06:56] Speaker C: And the old man. Yes, young. [00:07:00] Speaker A: And, Jd, what for you? Do you remember some of those earliest kind of moments for you, of fear in parenting? Or were there certain things that stuck out more than others as you began that journey? [00:07:15] Speaker C: Man, I think so much of the fear I see, I saw in myself that I see in others is kind of this controlling the outcome or controlling the result, this belief that we have complete control over all the things. And there is this fear of, okay, when my kiddo is 18. [00:07:56] Speaker B: I see. [00:07:56] Speaker C: It so often with families, I'll say myself is included in this is just so often when we begin the parenting journey, it's this, oh, no, my child is doing this. And so we can't be fully present with them. We're projecting. Well, if they get mad now when I tell no, well, when they're working a job and their boss tells them something, they're going to get fired. And so instead of looking at my three year old in the middle of target, not projecting, oh, my 23 year old working a job. And so I think oftentimes fear for myself and I see with dads is not being able to really just take a deep breath and be in that fully present place with the child that we're in the future. Right. We're going to places that now that kid pitching a fit right now doesn't make them a bad, out of control teenager or on. [00:09:08] Speaker A: And, yeah, well, I made faces when you said that, because that hit super close to home. And I think, for me, one of the things that I wish I would have realized earlier, but that controlled a ton of my early parenting moments was just kind of two things that folded up into the same emotion, which was, one, I wanted everyone to think I was a good parent. I didn't want to be looked at as a bad parent. To me, that was being a failure. And what I was assigning as parenting success wasn't just obedience, but it was obedience with a happy heart, like our kids joyfully obeying me. Early on, I was able to get some of the desired results, but it was having to come through so much stress and wringing of hands and using power and all of that. And there's no peace in that. There was no joy in that and for any of us that were involved. Right. And so I think realizing that when the proverbial meltdown and target came, I was equally as terrified of one day a kid getting fired from a job for having a meltdown like that at their job as I was, that somebody on the other aisle over was going to look over and be like, I knew that guy was a fraud. [00:10:32] Speaker B: Right. [00:10:33] Speaker A: Was immediately where I would go in all those moments. And I can say it now, and in a sober minded moment when I'm not dealing with, it's like, well, that's ridiculous. And I never think that of other parents when I see it happening. But it would be a very real sense of panic inside me when it would happen then. Yeah. [00:10:55] Speaker C: So past that. [00:10:59] Speaker A: Yeah, everything's fine now. That was old me. [00:11:05] Speaker B: I don't know that that always goes away, though, right? I mean, you want to move past it, but what you said about wanting other people to think you're a good parent, I don't know that ever goes away. I told you I'm a kids pastor, right? So I've been in the light of ministry, specifically in a professional sense, for all of my career. And there's this added level of the pastor's kids or the minister's kids, and they're looked at through a different lens often. And so then that pressure weighs heavily on you. And I'm fighting against the fear of making sure they represent well, which is really just my pride, when I really need to deal with how to parent them, where they are and who they are and who we are as a family and in our context and all of those things. But, man, that stuff always has to be stamped down, I think, because it feels like embarrassment. If people really knew how I felt about my own parenting, I'd be embarrassed by that, right? [00:12:10] Speaker A: Or whatever. Totally. Well, and I was being sarcastic. For me, it never goes away. It is always something that has to be kept in check, because regardless of how well I might be able to manage it now or remind myself of the truth in the moment, there is still that kind of cringing that I have to fight off. I will say the beautiful thing in that is that as I've been able to learn why we need to do that, the power of being present with kids in those moments, it has helped to help me to be more vigilant about stamping those things down as time has gone. [00:12:55] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. But I mean, it's responding thoughtfully too, right? That's the opportunity to respond thoughtfully in the moment when those things surface and rise to the top and you start to think less soberly, as you mentioned. Right, right. Anyway, I'm sorry, what were you going to ask? [00:13:15] Speaker A: No, I was going to. When? When we start this conversation in a parenting context within community, mo shared before about kind of some of the things that have come up a lot when they've taught the parenting class, like the. Etc. Parenting class, or cultivate connection, there tends to be a lot of the same questions that come up. I wonder if, along that same vein, are there, know as you guys work with parents in the community and in your church, all that, are there some of the same fears that you feel like comes to the surface a lot within the parents you guys are working with? [00:13:46] Speaker B: Yeah, I think so. I imagine it's a common fear of all parents to get it right. Right. Maybe even the worst parent. Worst by my standard. Right. Whatever that standard is, even whatever we might call the worst parent. Deep down inside there's this fear of getting it right. I would imagine some don't express that and some express it better than others. But I think in my context, we see fears of passing on traits and behaviors, whether maybe it's a history of addiction or a family battle that's gone on and that passes on. I think fear of that happening rises up. I think, too, in my context, there are parents that I've seen, at least in my experiences, that are one of their fears, whether we might see it as superficial or not, their fear of the defending, for lack of a better term, of their child. Right. They're a little more concerned about the impact of how their child perceives their friendship versus the impact of the responsibility of parenting. And I think that fear sometimes trumps sometimes responsibility. And then there's just, like, real fears of, like, my child's getting sick or my child has got behavioral choices that I don't understand, and I don't know how to deal with that. How do I work through that? So those things rise up. And we have a pretty large foster community in our area. And so my wife and I are doing a. We're actually doing an empowered connect course right now. And several of those parents have fosters in their home. So that's a pretty significant population of our particular context. So they're dealing with fears on getting that right from an angle that they have maybe no experience in yet. And they're learning as they. [00:15:47] Speaker A: Mo, you know, for you guys, I think when we're thinking about specifically. So Tod's sharing about having a class know parents of kids in foster care who are in their home and new. And that's been obviously part of y'all's context in our community here is shepherding families in that situation for a long time. What do you feel? Know, there's the intersection sometimes where a parent's fear and a child's fear clash. Right. And a lot of times is where conflict will come from. And any advice for those situations as parents begin to maybe even become aware of this, how can they begin identifying kind of where those fears are and how to disarm them? [00:16:27] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, we would say at the core of our work, one of the core tenets is felt safety. And I think when you think about your home, when you think about a relationship with a child. [00:16:44] Speaker B: It is the. [00:16:45] Speaker C: Emotional safety a child needs, as well as the physical safety that that child needs. And I don't just say safety, I say felt safety. And so they can be in a home that has got a security system and doors locked, and they still do not feel safe. And so we talk about connection at the core of relationship and our desire for connection and our hardwiring for connection, realizing that trust and felt safety is. [00:17:17] Speaker A: At the core of building that connection. [00:17:20] Speaker C: Building that connection, to have kiddos that have experienced adverse childhood experiences, have experienced early loss or trauma, even our own stories, and allowing, like I shared earlier, our own fears, our fears of being a good dad, our fears of, hey, how my kiddo could turn out years. Felt safety is happening when we can be fully present, when we can meet emotional needs, which means we've got to be attuned to those emotions and being able to be fully present for our kiddo. And so I think at the core is trust and felt safety and how do we provide a home? How do we provide a relationship with our child that we can meet them in the midst of that and provide that. [00:18:25] Speaker A: Yeah. Tod for you guys, you talked about, you kind of pause your story when you first became a parent, right. And so you're beginning to have these fears, and you're beginning to sort of quell those as you go. Were there new fears that popped up as your parenting journey continued? How did that go, and how did you begin kind of doing that work internally to process where you were? [00:18:51] Speaker B: Yeah. A lot of my internal work came with recognizing the contrast between the influence of my own father and my grandfather and my grandfather. He had all of the attributes and characteristics that I needed to have that modeled. So navigating that personally was extremely helpful to me. [00:19:19] Speaker A: Right. [00:19:19] Speaker B: Because it's just putting away the fear and realizing, okay, the contrast of fear. Not to sound super spiritual, but I think of it like repentance. Right. You're repenting from that fear, and so you're turning from that fear, which is often manifested into something bigger, and I'm talking on an adult level, right. Something bigger than it maybe necessarily is. And the contrast of that is confidence. Right. For me, it's confidence. It's like, well, all right, well, wait a minute. I can be confident here, and I can build on this confidence in this place. And it's not too unlike scaffolding, really, that we use with kids. We teach parents to do that with kids and building one skill upon another and doing that internally, it's like, okay, well, how can I micro goal this thing out and develop better confidence for myself and my own parenting? So I think over the course, and I didn't say this in an introduction, but we're a blended family. So I have five biologicals. Heather has two biologicals. We have seven total that we have under our care. And we fostered one child also a year before he was adopted out. And that was a beautiful time. But all of those things come together. Right? So that's a whole new direction of fears, probably for me right now. Let me back up. Navigating the broken pieces required a different kind of care than previously. So at that point, fear is tied very closely to guilt and operating out of guilt and that actually breeding more fear for their future and their brokenness and the difficulties and the challenges and what does co parenting look like, and how do we do all this together? That's a whole new brand of fear for me. Anyway, in my context. And so I spent some time in counseling, for example. I spent a lot of time pressing into the word and really looking at what it means to abide in Christ and attachment. For me, attachment theory fits nicely with my faith. It just dovetails beautifully. And hanging on to that helped me navigate just the personal work of my own fears. It may have been more than you were asking for, but. [00:21:54] Speaker A: No, definitely not. No, that was great. As we start kind of wrapping up, I want to think about some practical tools we could give or practical advice tips we could give to parents who are early on in this journey. So as people are starting off, do either of you all have kind of last words of advice for how to begin walking through your fears as opposed to running away from them or walking away from them in your parenting journey? Todd, why don't we start with you? [00:22:28] Speaker B: Okay. I was thinking about this. I kind of jotted down some ThouGhts as we were talking, but I think I mentioned the micro goaling thing. I think that's a big deal. I think not letting your pride impede your progress is also a big deal. And for me personally, I found a tremendous value and freedom in some transparent vulnerability with others. It's amazing how freeing that has been to realize it's this exposure of reality that suddenly you can't ask me anything that I'm afraid of. And I like that place. I have a group of guys I meet with on a regular basis, and it's nice to be in that spot because I'm also not afraid to ask them questions. And often those are tough questions. So I've gained a lot from the, I think being vulnerable with somebody that you can trust right now, there's risk in that because you could be hurt. I think that's okay. Yeah, I think probably the micro goals, but one of the other tools that I personally use is a worst case scenario tool. It's like, if I figure out what's the worst possible thing that could happen if my child chooses to pick something, get drunk, what's the worst thing that could happen, and work backwards from there. How do I want to navigate that and try to anticipate these maybe choices down the road that might give me fear as my children launch into young adulthood, which right now is my biggest fear to embrace, because that's new ground for me. And I've got a couple in college and one in med school and one who's just recently married. And trying to parent them on a young adult level is its own set of challenges. [00:24:25] Speaker A: Yeah, 100,000% mo, anything from you as. [00:24:31] Speaker C: You wrap up, I want to say this. When we think about fear, oftentimes we think of, I've shared just the negative side, like, oh, my word, I'm being fully present. But there's also the gift of fear, right? I want my children to have. [00:24:53] Speaker B: A. [00:24:54] Speaker C: Fear of the cars in the street going 70 miles an hour. They need to know with fear, there comes wisdom. I should not just run out into the street, right? And so, I don't know. There's a part of me that says for dads or parents, some of these fears that you're feeling about your kiddos and parenting, realize that there can be some wisdom in that, right? Like, man, you get to know your children. You get to know Tod talked about his seven. I've got six, you've got four. Each child is unique and different. And there are things that you may fear for that child or whatever it is, but that could also bring wisdom of how I can best approach them, how I can best interact with them. I also think fear with that also can push us toward collaboration. It can push us toward dependency. There's some good things, right? And so I also don't want to end by just, you shouldn't have fear. There's a gift of fear. I'll say it. I'll say it. Every episode that I'm on. We just can't be so fearful of what the future holds, that we cannot be fully present with our children in the present and gain the wisdom, seek out, as Todd said, other know, for women, their groups, their people that can lock arms with them and help them on this parenting. Yeah, you're not in it alone. [00:26:46] Speaker A: Awesome. I don't have anything to add to that at all. That is exactly it. Tod, Mo, thank you guys so much for joining us today and for sharing. [00:26:56] Speaker C: Absolutely. [00:26:57] Speaker A: Thanks, JD. Well, again, a huge thank you to Todd for joining us today and for Mo and just what they shared. And Tod and I both just actually reflected after the show that we'll be talking about Mo's kind of closing thought on kind of healthy fear versus toxic fear. And when each can beat each. Right? Like, when does fear become toxic? When is it helpful? And so I will be thinking about that a lot more in the coming days. That's it for us today. As I reminded you in the last episode, all of our episodes now can be found on YouTube. So if you're a YouTube person, a YouTube consumer, please make sure you're subscribed to our channel. But all of our episodes are there. Almost all of them are there now persistently in video. And so both our carpool Q A shows that air on Fridays as well as the empire to connect podcast that airs on Tuesdays can be found on YouTube. All the episodes if you are still a podcast in the car person or podcast as you walk person, whatever, you can still find us, as always, on Apple Podcasts and Spotify or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And so if you have not leave this if you haven't left us review yet on Apple Podcasts, that would be super helpful to rate and review the podcast there. That just helps Apple know that our podcast is helpful. And then they can put us in different charts within the parenting podcast world for other people who are looking for our content to be able to find us. And so that'd be really helpful if you haven't done that yet. For everybody here at empowered to connect. For motinger Tom Mayno, for Kyle Wright, who edits and engineers all of our audio. For Tad Jewett, the creator of the music behind the empowered to connect podcast, I'm JD Wilson, and we'll see you next week on the empowered to connect podcast.

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