Skip to comments.Reflections on Mass Culture and Fatherhood
Posted on 06/14/2014 10:05:02 AM PDT by xzins
When I was working on my book, 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, I thought about the way that our culture has depicted men, specifically fathers, over the past half-century or so.
Its hard to believe today, but one of the iconic television shows of the 1950s was actually called Father Knows Best. And believe it or not, the title was not ironic! Jim Anderson, played by Robert Young, really did know best. He was kind, patient, generous and firm when he needed to be.
As the saying goes, that was then and this is, well, not then.
Arguably the defining phrase of whats been called the long 1960s, which ran from approximately 1967 to 1980, was question authority. As I wrote in 7 Men, since that time weve adopted the idea that no one is really in a position to declare that something is right or wrong. Authority figures and role models have taken a major hit in this process.
Perhaps no one more than dear old dad. Jim Anderson of "Father Knows Best" was replaced by Archie Bunker, a loud-mouthed bigot, followed by Homer Simpson, a buffoon. Both of them are loveable and fun to watch, but not role models.
Now this lack of male role models in popular culture is tragic for many reasons, one of which is that being a father is an essential part of what it means to be a man. Thats not the same thing as saying that you cant be a man unless youre a fatherthree of the seven men I profiled in 7 MenGeorge Washington, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Pope John Paul IIdid not have children.
But that did not make them any less fathers to the people in their lives. In his biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope, George Weigel chronicled how the then-Karol Wojtyla functioned as a father-figure to a group of younger people in his native Krakow.
Likewise, Washington was definitely a father-figure to his men. So much so that he was able to defuse a possible mutiny by unpaid Continental Army veterans, simply through appealing to their shared sacrifices.
And that is the essence of fatherhood and manhood: service and sacrifice. They are what enable a man to avoid the false choices of on the one hand macho domineering and on the other hand the emasculation that denies the differences between the sexes. The men I wrote about in 7 Men seemed to know that at the heart of what it is to be a man is that idea of being selfless, of putting your greatest strength at Gods disposal . . . of giving what is yours in the service of others.
Were extremely unlikely to get the role models we need from mass culture. That makes it especially incumbent on us Christian fathers and men to be those role models, starting at home.
In our gut, though, we know they are wrong, and we know that a Godly father in the home is part of God's best plan for the rearing of future generations.
Fathers are much more than Father's Day, but Father's Day is still a reminder to dads and to families that there in life in honoring our fathers and our mothers.
The targeting of fathers was an early strategy of the liberal/socialist movement. They had to belittle dads to accomplish their agenda of breaking families.
In our gut, though, we know they are wrong, and we know that a Godly father in the home is part of God’s best plan for the rearing of future generations.
Fathers are much more than Father’s Day, but Father’s Day is still a reminder to dads and to families that there in life in honoring our fathers and our mothers.
Most people get their sense of morality from the mass culture. They have no way of measuring or recognizing when it is wrong, or when it has gone off the rails.
Unfortunately, that also applies to many Christians.
I wonder if liberals would be so gung ho for uniting families if the fathers of those illegal kids invading were “antigay christians”.
Liberals have little doubt that between mass media and their anti-male anti-Christian public schools, they can suppress that little problem.
I’m out of town. Posting on my smart phone and have no access to the M/A ping list. Ping this if you feel it’s applicable and happy father’s day.