I have always appreciated the phrase, "better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt" (it is actually based in the Bible--Prov 17:28). In the book of Ecclesiastes it says there is "a time to keep silence and a time to speak". These two ideas are basically the same. Controlling one's tongue does not only apply to avoiding certain words (as we say in the South: cussin'), it also applies at times to avoiding using any words. In other words, keeping silent; not just for the sake of reducing the amount of noise (though that is a great reason to keep silent!), but more importantly so that one can listen. Listening is a lost art, and a strong man who is in control of his faculties will learn to shut his own mouth and listen to others.
As a priest I find it essential that I listen to my people. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I do not; sometimes they change my mind, sometimes they do not. These factors are not nearly as important as is the simple fact of just listening to them and being ready to receive insight not previously known. In the same way, a husband and father should be listening to his wife and children. He should do this, not to allow himself to be swayed by them (sometimes it is not wise to follow the family's advice), but for the sake of keeping oneself accountable and avoiding any sort of dictatorial behavior ("I'm the head of this household so you do what I say even if I've gone insane!").
How often do you listen to others? I am not asking about how often you pause in what you are saying to allow the other person to speak. One can still totally ignore another person in that situation. What I mean is, how often do you generally keep your mouth shut and just listen to what another has to say? One way to gauge this is to consider how often others come to speak to you. Do they avoid giving you their opinion on things? If so, it is likely that they do not believe that you will really listen to them.
Not all men, however, need to learn the silence part. Some men do fine with the silence; too fine. There are a number of men who just sit passively silent and refuse to speak up when they need to. This is not masculine either. Remaining silent when you should speak up (especially in issues of disciplining your children!) is a sign of being emasculated. It is the behavior of a male who wishes to abdicate his responsibility, not a man who is willing to take a stand and do what is needed to resolve a problem. If this is your problem, men, then you are still not in control of your tongue, because you do not use it when you need to.
All this has to do with good, godly leadership. As a man, you are responsible to lead, but that does not mean leading arbitrarily, or just by your own opinion. All good leaders listen to their people and take their views and needs into consideration. The alternative is what we call tyranny. Additionally, there is a spiritual dimension to being silent. It is not just a matter of "lack of noise"; it is a matter of self-control and willingness to pay attention to one's surroundings. The Scriptures are filled with references to the importance of learning silence (which is one more reason why there is a significant value in the silent parts of the Mass--they should not always be filled with one more hymn!).
Consider the references to controlling one's tongue in the book of James. We read there that if a man can control his tongue, then he can control anything in himself. In other words, controlling the tongue is a key step in learning to find complete self control. Furthermore, what better way to learn to control your tongue, than by learning to keep quiet so you can listen? Listen to your loved ones; listen to the Scriptures; listen to the voice of God. Masculinity does not mean perfection in learning silence; it means that a man is putting a significant effort into it (and he is willing to teach his boys to learn the same thing). Are you working on it? If you are, then keep up the good work; if you are not, then it is time to begin. As I said before, do manfully!