My son was almost three and we were at the beach. We stood at the edge of the water with a friend and his son, who was a little older than mine. Suddenly, a wave crashed in front of us and knocked my son over. As I pulled him out from underneath the water, I realized my reaction would have a huge impact on how he dealt with it. If I acted scared, he would probably do the same and start crying. I knew I had to go the other direction and fortunately, the other dad did the same. The second he came up, we shouted, “Oh my gosh, that was awesome! What a crazy wave!” He looked around startled and then finally put his arms up and said, “Yeah, that was awesome!”
As dads, what we do and model to our kids has a big impact on them. But I would even go a step further. I think what we model has a profound effect on our culture and our world. The importance of fathers cannot be overstated. How we approach situations and relationships can seem small, but it creates a ripple effect. There are several things our world desperately needs right now and the best people to start the ripple effect are dads. Here are 5 things our culture needs more from us.
1. Self-Judgment Over Self-Righteousness
We all think we’re right, pointing our fingers at everyone else who’s wrong—me included. But the world doesn’t need more pointing fingers; we need more humility. How would the world change if we all assumed we were wrong instead of laying it on someone else? In any conflict, issue, or situation, we’re operating on limited information at best. Before you ever hold someone else’s feet to the fire, you need to evaluate your own attitudes, actions, and words.
Ask yourself: How am I wrong here? How have I caused hurt? In what ways do I need to change?
2. Understanding Over Prejudice
We all carry some form of prejudice. Our experiences and upbringing inform our attitudes and opinions, but they aren’t always accurate or healthy. It’s important to do our best to gain perspective and understanding with an open mind, especially of different people and positions.
Ask yourself: What preconceived opinions do I hold and are they based on facts? What am I missing here? Have I done everything to understand an opposing point of view?
3. Objectivity Over Tribalism
If we like certain political leaders, we’ll figure out a way to justify their bad behavior. But when people who don’t share our political party or ideology do the same thing, we use it as an example of failed integrity. We need to be objective. Don’t just get your information from one news source. Read and watch different perspectives. Follow people on social media with whom you disagree while having an open mind.
Ask yourself: Do I give all people the benefit of the doubt or just the people who agree with me?
4. Optimism Over Naysaying
It’s easy to be critical, to stand opposed to cultural shifts, political positions, public figures, and worldviews. It’s much more difficult to stand for something. Our world doesn’t need more naysaying; it needs optimism. Being positive is like swimming upstream for me. It takes much more commitment, initiative, and strength. But our families need strong men who believe in their kids and the hope of a bright future.
Ask yourself: Is my outlook on life and people positive? Do I project optimism and hope or pessimism and disbelief?
5. Grace Over GracelessnessPeople who have been showered with grace should be moved to show grace to others.
We all mess up, step on others’ toes, act selfishly, display arrogance or excessive pride, and behave offensively. We even do it on our best days, and if you’re like me, it’s hourly. The apostle Paul wrote, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That means Jesus was willing to give up heaven to come to Earth and then was willing not only to die but to die in the way he did. And he did it because he loves you and me. He didn’t make us earn it. He showed us amazing grace, just like the song of the same title says. So, why do we withhold grace from others, even when they’ve wronged us? People who have been showered with grace should be moved to show grace to others.
Ask yourself: Who has extended grace to you? Did you deserve it? What’s keeping you from giving grace to others?
Sound off: What else do you think our culture needs from dads?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some things in the world that you’d like to see change?”