Win Today with Christopher Cook

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The Powerful Value of Fatherhood

Like many of you, I enjoyed watching Super Bowl XLIX. From the game itself to the halftime show (don’t hate- I think Katy Perry and her band were awesome) to all of the commercials, it was a very entertaining evening. Shortly before the first half of the game came to a close, I was making dinner while casually glancing at the television. That is until I was stopped cold in my tracks by one commercial, “My Bold Dad,” by Toyota:

The Value of Fatherhood

As I sat glued to the television for a mesmerizing 60 seconds, I was sucked into the story arc and was moved with emotion by one central figure in the commercial: Dad. Interestingly, the resounding theme within several commercials throughout the evening centered around family and fatherhood, which in my estimation reinforced our nation’s intrinsic value for courageous, dependable, resilient leadership at the helm of government, the corporate world, and even the basic family unit. The opening statement, “Being a dad is more than being a father; it’s a choice,” pulled at my heartstrings because, as the narrator asserted, there’s a difference between fathering a child and being a father (a dad).

Great fathers (whether biological or otherwise) manage the dynamic tension between standing-up for their kids and sometimes standing against them in order to instill character, maturity, and vision for the future. This dichotomy has been at the forefront of creation since its inception: fathers (leaders) who were willing to pioneer and inspire people even while opposing a multiplicity of popular opinion in order to advance society towards its unified destiny.

Exemplifying this point, the Bible depicts two capable leaders named Joshua and Caleb who did just that. As true fathers, they inspired, challenged, and led their people in a manner in which their former leader could not. The result? A nation full of hungry, complaining, powerless, visionless people was empowered to become conquerors themselves, defy giants, and seize their Promised Land.

The 1989 Schwinn

Fast-forward a few thousand years to 1989. The “promised land” was pavement and the “giant” was a red and silver Schwinn bicycle.

When I learned how to ride a bicycle without training wheels, my dad took me to a grassy area where I would be safe when I fell, not if I fell. Even at a young age, I knew that I would fall off my bike at some point in the process of learning (and that it would probably startle me) but even with the risk, I didn’t fear because I knew my dad would protect me from real danger. Though I had second thoughts about riding solo (training wheels are cool, right?), he was helping me grow-up. The desire to ride my new two-wheeler without training wheels was ultimately something I had to fight for myself.

And that’s precisely what great dads do. They lead and empower their children to grow into confident, capable adults who aren’t afraid of challenges, who are willing to take risks, and who are established in core values that ultimately shape their character and lead them into their destiny.

Resolved to Lead Well

A couple weeks ago, I re-read Orrin Woodward’s critically acclaimed leadership book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE. In it, he made a stunning observation:

“The Western World was built upon Judeo-Christian principles from the Bible. With this moral foundation, the West produced freedom with order, wealth with morality, clarity with love, leading to progress in many fields. It wasn’t perfectly applied, but even with notable moments of hypocrisy, the West has advanced the cause of truth in the physical, mental, and spiritual realms. However, over the past one hundred years, Western moral order is declining, and along with this decline is the subsequent decline in freedom, order, wealth, morality, charity, and love. Is mankind secure when the West has become Technological Giants while simultaneously becoming Moral Midgets? In order to restore character then, leaders must restore their courage.”

Connecting the excerpt from his book and the television commercial, what might be one core characteristic of courage-driven, character-built leadership? I believe it’s a value for true fatherhood.

We Need Fathers

We need fathers in every area of life who lead from strength and resolve, who affirm, empower, lead, validate, discipline, steer, produce, re-produce, and teach by example, not by word alone. This restoration of fatherhood will aid in breaking down the fiber of the orphan-spirit pervasive in our culture, where hierarchy and pecking order, inferiority, lack of identity, jealousy, and fear so easily thrive.

From his quote, Mr. Woodward reminded us well when recalling our Judeo-Christian roots. After all, to know who we are, we must first know Whose we are. On the subject, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Romans that “God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!” (Romans 8:15, The Message).

In understated form, that inheritance includes the ability to fearlessly dream, create, innovate, parent, educate, generously lend, and create a lasting character-driven legacy for even our children’s children.

The television commercial closed with these poignant words: “Being a dad is more than being a father; it’s a commitment. One that will make a wonderful human-being who will make their own choices someday.” With tear-soaked eyes, the father drove off after wishing his daughter farewell. I can’t help but think that he left the airport terminal with a deep-seated sense of fulfillment because…

Great dads dream, but they inspire their kids to dream even bigger.

Photo Credit: agroote via Compfight cc

  • jennifer

    So true Chris. So many fathers take their commitments lightly & fall short of their role in their children’s lives. Thank God for the good ones. You have the best father ever 🙂