A man asked his 6-year-old son, “Noah, what do you think a man needs in this world to succeed and be a really good man?”
He responded, “I know daddy! He needs a wallet and a cell phone.”
This answer sent dad on a journey on what it means to be a man and father.
If a kid thinks a wallet and cell phone are critical, it tells us that something is amiss.
In Episode 1 of the Christian Parenting podcast, I asked Buz Mayo if he had any regrets as a dad (~12:00):
I carried a lot of anger inside of me, I was a nice angry man for a couple of decades…I was not a yeller at the kids, but I’m sure that my anger came out in ways – either facially or they could feel it – so that’s a regret. I didn’t know what to do with that [anger], I haven’t known what to do with that for the last 15-20 years of my life. As a 60-year-old man, I continue to grow and learn who God is and who I am in relation to Him.
I’ve never heard of a nice angry man before. What is that?
I thought my purpose in life for a long time as to be the world’s nicest guy…Just be tame, be good, behave well, and be nice. And I would say now that I see that very differently. Trying to be nice – and you run into people who are evil or annoying at best – being nice becomes a facade. So I lived a great many years with a mask as a not very genuine person.
Kids feel this. Kids are perceptive. They can feel when things are out of balance.
I think of this scene from The Family Man where the little girl could just tell that this man wasn’t really her dad:
But don’t despair! I also believe our kids – like the little girl in the movie – are resilient and forgiving. She was willing to help and be patient with her “dad” until he found his true self.
What regret as a dad do you have?
Mine is my cell phone addiction. This is something we’ve talked about with nearly every guest on the Podcast, so we’re going to build a compilation of advice and insight, but this is a great start from Buz [~17:00]:
When [parents] are on their cell phone and addicted – like almost every human who has a smartphone – the kids FEEL it; whatever is on that cell phone is more important than they are. Parents need to become aware of the impact they’re having by telling Johnny or Suzie, “Be quiet, because I’m on the phone.” Yes, kids need to obey. Yes kids to be respectful, but if they’re always second fiddle to an electronic device, that does something to the inner part of their soul that they don’t even know.
Foolish things on my phone distract me away from my boy and our precious time together. I will NEVER look back in 50 years and wish I checked my text messages more often or responded to an E-mail right away. But I will want to relive every flash of eye contact and every smile and every roll-around-on-the-floor that God blesses me to have with baby Jack.
When you ask your kids what a man needs in this world to be a really good man, what do you want them to say?
CLICK HERE to listen to the entire podcast. The section we talked about in this post starts around 15:00