Be There Dad has consistently promised not to take a side on political matters. However, we have consistently pledged to support and encourage the core values of our dads and their families – what it means to be an American and how to respect others.
Recently, I have talked about having the courage to change the things we can. By the events of the past two weeks in Washington, it has become even more clear how urgently we need to change the way we interact with each other. No doubt, if we look closely, most of us can find our own shortcomings and recognize ways to change for the better. As we often say with encouragement, “All know they Way, few actually walk it.” The time has come for us to affirm that we are on the path we know is right.
In November we voted to elect new leadership across the country. We should pray that those representatives accept their responsibility and do their duty to make change. We can hope that regardless of their political views, they will embody the values that Americans expect. That will take time and effort.
Change the things we can
As that change occurs, I wonder what we can do as dads to facilitate that change. Can we do our part to change the things that are right in front of us? Can we re-commit to filling our children’s back packs with the values that we believe those leaders should follow? Can we teach our children to demand from their leaders those same values when they become voters?
A time to keep silence
We can make change. We must do our part now. Each of us. All of us. As dads we are privileged. Our children look to us for guidance. By our presence we can be examples of honor, respect and integrity. With our courage, we can be the ones who model civil discourse. We can be the ones who show our children when to stand up and when to sit back. A well-respected Methodist Bishop and friend recently said, “Not every conspiracy theory, untruth or refusal to engage reality needs to be reported, shared or amplified. In baseball terms, one does not have to swing at every pitch.”
While there are many times when we must speak up or take action, I have found there are many times when we do not. When what we hear is simply “noise”; we do not always need to try to drown it out with our own. “There is… a time to keep silence and a time to speak…” Ecclesiastes.
Something worthwhile to say
Years ago, I marveled at my son’s kindergarten teacher. When the students got noisy, the wise and experienced teacher simply lowered her voice. As she spoke softly, soon the class settled down, became quiet, and leaned towards her, so they could hear.
Even at that age, the children knew she was the one who had something worthwhile to say. We seek to hear those who have something worthwhile to say. Can we teach our children to seek the truth, then speak it in a voice so others will want to listen? “Blessed are the peacemakers…” Matthew.
As dads, we can show our children “the Way” by embracing these core values. During conversation at the dinner table. Comments made while watching television. Responding to other drivers in traffic. Interactions with our spouses. Our children are watching.
Individually, we may not change the whole world, but we may make a difference in our corner – for ourselves and for our children. Collectively we can resume our journey on the path that is the Way. We have that opportunity right now. We can show our children how to listen. We can show our children how to speak.
We have a responsibility to teach our children how to live with one another. How to respect everyone. How to love our neighbors. How to be Americans.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.