There are times when all of the hard lessons, frustrations, hair pulling and tears of fatherhood are completely worth it. Today was just such a day.
Me: Silas, I love you. [I said this upon him climbing onto the couch and giving me a big hug.]
Silas: Dad, I really, really love Spiderman.
Me: Gee, thanks.
I guess it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
This post by Prodigal Jon is especially relevant to the conversation in my previous post about manliness.
Sicily was watching TV the other night when she ran up to me and said, “On Friday, the exterminate show is coming on.” I nodded, having no idea what in the world she was talking about. I assumed there was some kind of bug exterminator reality show coming on (an idea which sounds oddly intriguing). Since I wasn’t too excited, she repeated herself, this time with an odd voice. Again, I had no idea what she was talking about.
Then, she got down on her knees, started flailing her arms around, yelling “Exterminate!” It clicked in my head, she was pretending to be a Dalek. I’m not ashamed to admit I weeped openly, for my daughter is about to become a Whovian.
The driving force behind much of the culture war is children. Protest Disney because of what they are teaching our children. Throw away your TV because it’s bad for children. Don’t send them to public schools because they’ll end up bad. You know the drill, it’s all about the kids; that’s why we have to fight against Hollywood.
And of course, a part of that is true. I don’t want my kids exposed to drugs, extreme violence or anything else we don’t think they’re old enough to handle. They’re kids, for crying out loud, we want them to stay that way for a while. (Not that I’m suggesting we actually expose our children to drugs, but rather the reality of it.)
But if that’s true, then why do we allow the crass and blatant commercialization of our children? Why are they walking billboards, supporting products or idealogies they don’t even understand? Why do we expose them to advertising in the way we decorate their rooms? If we’re so concerned about protecting our children’s innocence, why do we allow them to take part in the ad-driven consumer culture?
Let’s face it, the cartoons our kids watch are merely vehicles for selling toys. I don’t care what show it is, whether Dora or Veggie Tales, they all want to turn children into consumers. And while we allow them to watch so-called wholesome entertainment, they are being bombared with commericials for toys and products no one needs. This creates in them a desire to have said products without understanding why. Heck, I see those iPhone ads and know that I need one, even though I clearly don’t.
Why do we let this happen? If we really care about the kids, care about the culture (however you define it), why are we allowing our children to become slaves to consumerism?
(I understand I sound a bit like a crypto-Marxist. I am okay with that. I like hyperbole.)
Honor thy father and thy mother ~Exodus 20:12
A father carries pictures where his money used to be. ~Author Unknown
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. ~Mark Twain, “Old Times on the Mississippi” Atlantic Monthly, 1874
The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God; I call him Dad!
Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. ~Red Buttons
Children seldom misquote you. They more often repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said. ~Mae Maloo
A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he’s in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station. ~Bill Cosby
I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week. ~Mario Cuomo
A wise son makes a glad father ~Solomon – Proverbs 10:1
Father’s Day is this weekend and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on lessons my father taught me. Like most of you, the things my parents taught me, whether by word or action, didn’t become apparent until I had a family of my own. Even now I find myself saying “Oh, now I get what he meant”. I trust my own children will one day do the same.
- The first word in fatherhood (and manhood in general) is simple: servant. A father both leads and serves; or, to put it another way, he leads by serving.
- Cultural definitions of “manhood” have little to do with reality. People who insist on them have no idea what fatherhood truly is.
- Being a pastor does not mean neglecting your family. (Contrary to what we see so often.)
- A sense of humor is essential for life. In other words, don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Most importantly, it’s all about Jesus Christ.
I’ve written before on my feelings about robots (I’m too lazy to look the post up), so I’m sorry if it seems like I’m harping on the subject. Anyway, here is a transcript of a conversation I just had with my two year old son.
Me: Silas, who do you want to pray for tonight?
Me: What person do you want to pray for?
Me: No, what person? You know, like grandma or grandpa.
Silas: I want to pray for robots.
Me: Robots aren’t people, Silas.
I guess all of this just shows my prejudices are creeping in on prayer time. I had to repent of my bigotry and Silas prayed for robots.