Healthy Self
June 3, 2022

What Is True Manhood And How Society Has It Wrong

Adventure enthusiast Bear Woznick goes over what true manhood actually is and shares ways to be a man without all the stigma that society has around it.

Join Bear Woznick, adventurer, author, and avid follower of Christ and I as we talk about what true manhood is and how society has gotten it all wrong. Being a man in today's culture is all about being a macho man and all the tough things you can do. No one talks about caring for your wife or being a good father when being a man. Jon Bear and I as we talk about the stigmas that culture has out there about being a man and how being alone is the most dangerous thing a man can do.

Bear Woznick is a man of many talents. He is the host of several TV shows, author of several books, and is a world surf champ and adventurer. Bear has coached dozens of surfing teams, won world championships, and currently resides in Waikiki, Hawaii. Bear is married to his lovely wife Cindy and they have 5 children.











Being a man in today's culture is all about being a macho man and all the tough things you can do. No one talks about caring for your wife or being a good father when you're a man. Adventure enthusiast Bear Woznick joined me on the podcast this week to go over what being a man actually is. We talk about ways to be a man without all the stigma that society has around it. Lastly, we discuss how being alone is the most dangerous thing a man can do.

What Is True Manhood And How Society Has It Wrong

Really, the great adventure, my personal creed, is that the most radical quest you can have in life is to abandon yourself to God's will. Paddling into a big wave, there's a moment. Once you drop over that precipice, it owns you. That’s the kind of radical commitment to Christ that opens up the door. Once you're in God's will, you get to see God do stuff and you get to do stuff with Him. If you're not in God's will or abandoned to God's will, you don't get to see it. One of the greatest quests that a man can have is that abandonment to God. Of course, one of the greatest quests of all is to be a husband and a father.

To be called father is an amazing thing because God is father, eternally begotten son. It was just an interesting transition that took place. I actually had women come up and ask me, would I talk to their husband about being a man. I’m like, “I don't know how to do that.” It's not like I focused on that. That's what came to me. That's what happened.

Let's stop there. What was it about you that you think that other women, not your wife, other women who came up to you and they’re like, “Can you help my husband be a little man?” What did they see in you?

My wife, Cindy, she's an amazing woman, full of grace. She likes men that are men. We went on a trip to Ireland. There are men there. They're tough, gritty, raw, and real. There's a tribe here in Hawaii. It's the waterman community, the ancient waterman of Hawaii. We're more of the ocean men of the land. The waterman community, we surf, sail, spearfish, do everything on the ocean, in the ocean and we just go to the land to sleep. Going out into the deep together like that, no one really knows what everybody's job is. No one cares where everyone lives. We're here in this water together and it forms a bond.

She can see there's a manly bond. In fact, the younger men call me uncle, whether they've ever met me or not. Here's the thing I hear men say, “We've been marginalized. They make fun of us. They marginalized us. They pushed us to the curb.” Excuse me. That sounds like a victim talking. That's not true. We've let that happen because we haven't been man enough to fight.

One of the greatest kuleana, a saying in Hawaii, is stewardship or responsibility that we have not to apologize for being a man. That doesn't mean machoism, but it does mean being tough. Women look at me and they go, “Look how every now and then he gives his wife a little flower while he's walking along. Look how he holds her hand. Look how he every now and then lifts her hands up and kiss.”

I tenderly love my wife, but they also know that she's protected. She doesn't have to worry about really her own care. She takes care of me in ways that are unbelievable. She does so much for me. They know that I'm not going to apologize for being a man. That doesn't mean this macho stuff, but it does mean laying down my life and being willing to. It does mean servant leadership. It does mean holiness. It does mean seeing her as being sacred. They're just tired of it.

I'll tell you what. I have this thing called The Man Cave. It's my website, The men join. Once a month, we do a Zoom meetup. We have the three-year curriculum, The Bear School of Manliness, which is based on the school of the prophecy of Obadiah. One of the first things we ask men to do when they join is fitness to witness. Are you fit? If you were in a situation tomorrow where you had to physically protect your family, could you last 60 seconds? Just physically, could you last 60 seconds? We talk about the men being able to be dangerous to an extent. If they needed to be, are they able to defend their family? Are they able to defend their faith?

Peter said, “Have a reason for the hope.” Do you have a reason? Do you know how to express your faith? My mother used to say, “Christianity is an elevator religion.” You can tell the basics of it from the time you get on the elevator and the time you get off. When people have those hard questions, do you have a reason for your faith? More importantly than the reason, do you have a personal witness that you can share? Are you bold enough to share? You get that nudge from the Holy Spirit.

I had this beautiful priest here with us whose father abandoned them when they were children. When I see him offering up a mass, it's as if I'm seeing him see the beatific vision. He's so in love with the Lord. I wondered, has anybody ever said to him, “I'm proud of you?” I told him, “I'm proud of you. You gave a homily that went against the woke culture. I know you're taking a lot of heat from it. I'm proud of you.”

Men to uncle other men. We need to say to them, “I'm proud of you.” We need to reinforce them. When I see a young man with a baby walking along the street here in Waikiki with his wife, I say, “I'm proud of you. A beautiful family. I'm proud of you.” Men need to affirm the younger men and let them know it's good to be a man.

Women will come up to Cindy and I when I speak someplace. They'll grab us before we get in the door, “You need to tell these men to be men.” Women want men to be men. There are so many men out there basically cowards. They think it's a partnership with her wife or they both have to make the income. It's good for a woman to make income. I’m not saying that. The younger men, they don't ask girls out on dates. If they do, they never ask them to marry him. If they ask them to marry him, they never get married. They're cowards.

They don't pursue.

Absolutely. There's a scripture verse. The angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary to you as your wife.” The churches are filled with people living together that aren't even married. We need to have men go back to being virtuous, just as self-mastery, prudence, fortitude, faith, hope and love. Build that inner man. You build that, you establish that in an hour every day with the Lord and you spend it with other like-minded men. Be careful who you associate with.

I love what you just said about how you're treating your wife, serving her, doing things for her and being that servant leader. A lot of times when we talk about men, that macho man, sometimes we forget about all that. I was with a married couple and they were interacting in the way you just described. He was very soft with her and took care of her. He then looked at me in the face and he was just talking about, “If anyone really comes at my wife or disrespects my wife, I will hurt them.” He says something like that.

Here's an example. We're at an airport lounge. This guy is cussing right next to me, using foul language. I'm going to do it more often than that. He's talking with another woman present, who's cussing herself. I just said, “Excuse me, but there's a lady present. Can you change your language?” It shocked him. It shocked that woman, too, because I called my wife a lady. It’s things like that.

I'll tell you. When we walk in certain areas, my wife is very careful. We switch sides when we walk down the street, depending on who's coming our way. It's almost like we're doing the dance. We don't even think about it, but she knows that. My wife's a tough chick. She's a rodeo girl. She tandem serves with me, holding it over my head. I call her TC and people know probably not to mess with her.

I know you do a lot of speaking at men's conferences. You're coming out with a book, actually. It's called, 12 Rules of Manliness - Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? Can we talk about that a little bit? Where have all the cowboys gone? What is happening? I know our culture, we're feminizing men. We're not allowed to be men anymore. We know all that stuff. Christians, they're not raising their hand for that. They're not saying, “I don't want all that gender stuff.” Still, you're saying that they're still not. Where have the cowboys gone? What's going on?

By the way, I should say I have a couple of other books. A Surfing Guide to the Soul and Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue. Where have all the cowboys gone? You look at the school boards. Who's on the school boards? Why aren't our men running for school boards? It's one thing to sit in front of your television and have an opinion about pro-life and yell at the TV. That's not being pro-life. That's not doing anything. Do you go in front of an abortion clinic and pray?

IDP 111 | True Manhood
12 Rules for Manliness: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

My friend Mark Houck, you may have heard about him. He just got acquitted for something that happened in front of an abortion clinic. I'm going to be speaking with him in Indiana, by the way, in Saint Leon. Join your Church Advisory Committee, teach Catechism or Sunday School. If there isn't a young adult group there, start one. If there isn't a men's group in your area, start one. Men need to not just have opinions, but they need to do something.

I have some land in Montana 2 miles from Canada by Glacier Park, North Fork of the Flathead River. When I bought that land, it was raw land. It’s never been used. I walked onto my land the first time and immediately saw a lone wolf, a gray wolf, across this little open meadow. He was like, “What are you doing on my land?” Those green, yellow eyes, you could see him from that afar. Every now and then, I would come across him on my land or on his land.

I met a professor who tracked mountain lions, grizzly bears, and wolves in that area. I said, “That wolf looked pretty gnarly, but he'd looked a little bit scrawny.” He said, “That's a lone wolf.” A lone wolf is a wolf that used to be an alpha male and got forced out. He's starving to death because wolfs hunt in packs. He just gets the leftovers.

There are so many men out there that are lone wolfs and they think it's macho. They've isolated themselves. I had a friend of mine, Father Bryce Lund. He actually has a working ranch in Wyoming and he has a couple of parishes there. He was saying, “If I was riding my horse out on the range with Zeke, my buddy, and I say, ‘We need to be more vulnerable with each other,’ he would gallop away.” I said to him, “We need to be more raw and real with each other.” Men need to be able to get raw and real with each other and talk stories with each other. If you're a man and you don't have vital fellowship with other strong Christian men, you're a lone wolf and that's a very dangerous place to be. You need to be in that. Even Jesus had his pack, his twelve.

I love what you said about vulnerability because that sometimes scares men off. They do want to be real. They want to be themselves. What have you done to get around other men? What have you seen happen? Where does that first step? You're right. There are a lot of lone wolves out there like, “Man, I want that,” but like, “I don't know. My church doesn't really get me.”

Doesn't that sound weak and pathetic? I tried to start a men's group at the church right next to where I live. That pastor is like, “No, I don't want to rock the boat.” Guess what? We did start three other groups here on this island, other men. I'm just saying, if you're a man, you're a leader. The question is, where are you leading people? Are you leading them into a nice, comfortable couch or, worse, into other areas? If you don't have a men's group you're a part of, get one other man to start having breakfast together once a week at 6:00 AM. You get up early so you don't disrupt what the family needs from you.

What we do is we have a cigar night once a month. We have a shot of whiskey and a cigar. We don't talk about politics and we don't talk about sports, but we talk about real stuff, so you have a theme for the night. If you're a man and you're a lone wolf, first of all, be careful whose company you keep. I have a friend who was the Southern Baptist Minister. He was a pastor of the Miami Hurricanes when they had their championship basketball and football teams. Sometimes there are people that just hangers on and he was just negative and disrespectful to women and stuff like that. Hetold me, “That guy's not on my championship diet.”

It’s not like you don't want to evangelize, but there are people that are hanging on and sapping you of your vitality. Just like Psalm 1, it says, “Don't hang around in the company of scoffers. Choose well whose company you keep and then cultivate the relationship.” Two or three men, maybe 10 or 12 men. If you don't have a men's group, start one. We have one. People can go on our website and we can help them. You don't even have to have a formal thing. Just get together for breakfast or maybe read a book together over the months. Men need to be with other men. They need to be in the company of other men.

I totally agree with that. As I said, sometimes we go overcomplicate it. You don't have to have this huge program. Some structure is good, but you don't have to have that. You talk about the code. Before this show, you're talking about a man's code and things like that. Do you want to dive into that a little bit? I know that you talk about that in some of your radio, TV and books and stuff.

My boyhood hero, his statue was about a block from my house, Duke Kahanamoku. His creed was, “I give by Aloha.” The creed for our state was from King Kamehameha. I can say it Hawaiian, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina i ka Pono. What it means is, “By righteousness, the land is established.” That's a creed. You need to have a code. I'm a Benedictine Oblate. St. Benedict, back around the year 500, produced what’s called The Rules of St. Benedict. Here are the rules that the monks should live by.

I live in the real world, but there are rules, there are guides and there's a code that I live by. Man should be able to write a 1 or 2-sentence creed, “This is what I stand for.” Of course, it'll change over time. He should be able to know, “I'm going to be fit. I'm going to treasure my wife. I'm going to be a father.” Of course, you expand on those things, but you should have then a list of code. The Marines have a code of conduct. You should have it written down.

There's a person, Habakkuk, “Write the vision down in words big enough, so the one who's reading it can run while he's reading.” We should know who we are. We should have a philosophy of how we live. We should crystallize that and think. Here's the thing. Have that discussion with your son. In our School of Manliness, we have that curriculum for the men, but the sons also join. They can't be part of our man cave or the men will talk. The father has that relationship with the son and talks about these. They watch a video together and then they talk story about what that means.

We were in Napa years ago and someone asked Archbishop Chaput, who's a real powerful Christian, real dedicated, devoted Christian, “What is the best evangelistic program? What are 2 or 3 good evangelistic programs that we can get involved in?” He said, “Get married. Have lots of children. Bring them up in the Lord.” That's the domestic church.

If you're a father, bring the church right into your home. Do you have times of prayer? If your kids woke up early, would they see you having your Bible prayer time? Would they see you leading them in prayer before you eat? In the Catholic church, we have a tradition of praying the rosary after dinner. We know you're supposed to be the provider and the protector. Are you a priest in your home, too? Lead your family into a regular time of devotion.

IDP 111 | True Manhood
True Manhood: If you're a father, bring the church right into your home.

As a dad, there's a scripture that says, “Teach your children while you’re on the way with them, while you’re by the riverway.” Do you take your kids to the hardware? You grab one of your kids when you go to the hardware store. When you're at the hardware store, you could look at a tool or something. You could tell them, “Here's a lesson. Here are tools that are very effective. The Bible's an effective tool, too. So is prayer.” In other words, while you're on the way with them, teach them their faith and teach them virtue.

I know that you have been married to Cindy and have five adult children now. I have four children and I'm always thinking about how to pour into my wife and to my kids. I love what you say, to simplify it down, to take them along the way with you. Are there some stories, maybe just from your own life, some examples that you did with your own kids?

It is so true, too. The time that you have to influence your children is over in a heartbeat. Ground them. One of my sons loved to surf. When I go on surf trips, my oldest son would go with me when he got to a certain age. I went to compete in France. We had a whole week-long competition. I took one of my sons along with me. It was interesting because he got to see a different sort of life and it challenges what your presuppositions are and just to have dialogue with him.

I used to take them up into the mountains at night. This marriage, by the way, is my second marriage. My first one that I had my four children with, that was a broken marriage. The Catholic church, in time, gave me an annulment so that I could remarry. During the time when I was raising my children by myself, I would get them all their homework and put them into bed. They were old enough where I could leave them. They were in high school and younger. When I got them into bed, I would go hiking to the mountains at night. That was my spending time with the Lord.

I remember one particular time, Hale-Bopp, the comet was out at that time. I'd hike under Hale-Bopp. I would take them with me sometimes, too. About sunset, we'd go up into the mountains. I'd take them into areas because the hiking trail was right outside my house. This was when I lived in California many years ago. I would take them into the trails and I'd say, “Who else is up here? Who else gets to see the stars like this without the light pollution? Who else gets to see the beautiful city light below us?” You have to make an effort. You have to take a different path in order to experience this. Teach them.

I trained all my kids in martial arts. Two of them halfway to black belt and two of them all the way to black belt. I tested them for the black belt. That's a real interactive thing if you want to be interactive. I taught all my kids to surf. If a guy's a Green Bay Packer fan or what do you have? The Cincinnati Bengals.

Cincinnati or Indianapolis Colts.

I've heard of them. I bet if the dad's a Bengals or a Colts fan, so is their son, and so are their daughters. Take that energy and think about it in other areas with your children. I'm not very good at teaching them math, but I can teach them practical things. I'm good at math, but I don't like teaching it. I don't have the patience to teach, but I can take them along with me. I coach their football team. I refuse to coach soccer. I'd be an assistant coach or something. I was there. I was engaged in their day. Find ways to get involved with your daughters and sons and lead them by example because pretty soon, they're gone. Whenever you have that short time to instill, instill in them.

I keep coming back. You gave them a lot of different experiences. You did things, the simple things. Just life things. You also gave them those different experiences, getting them out of their world and getting their perspective in a different way. That's awesome. Bear, I know we're about out of time for the show. I love to have you here. Tell us about your new book.

It’s called 12 Rules for Manliness: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? They switched the title around because they know best. We're super excited about it. If you go to Bear Woznick on Amazon, you'll see the other two books. The one on Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue is particularly good for fathers to read. The chapters are very short and they can read them after dinner with their family or during dinner with their family, things like that, especially taking their sons aside.

Christians need to stick together now more than ever. Men need to stick together. Our motorcycle TV show, Long Ride Home, is on Prime Video and people can go to my website and subscribe and get it there too. Half of our bikers were Protestants and half were Catholic. I made a point, “Christians need to come together. We need to stand strong.”

I know that you have so much to offer, too. Your website, is it just your name, Bear Woznick Adventure?

No. It's

Check that out. They can probably get your books and check out your motorcycle TV show on Prime. That's awesome.

Long Ride Home with Bear. Our YouTube site is Bear Woznick Deep Adventure. We have tons of teaching.

If you're a man out there or even a woman that has a man in your life, I would encourage you to take that first step. Getting around other men, what does that look like for you? We got to stick together. Thank you so much, Bear, for being on the show. I appreciate you.

Yes, my brother. A Hui Hou, aloha.

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