Episode #30: (Post on Sunday) Dad’s Joke: Cheers to a Father’s Secret Weapon! – The LKN Faith Podcast
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Hi, hungry! I’m Dad.
In his book on Emotional Intelligence, David Goleman tells the tale of a study that was conducted between two groups of people. Each group was given a meticulous and challenging puzzle to solve. Each group was given identical conditions. All except for one. The first crew were thrown right into the flames of the assignment, while the second was first shown a video of humorous bloopers before they began. Can you guess which band was the more successful? I’ll give you a single hint, it was definitely not the serious one.
There is an air of intimidation when considering writing a piece intended for both praising and motivating fathers on their special day, when you yourself won’t fully get to participate till next year (*insert your kind and obligatory well-wishes*). To put it mildly, I am not an authority on the subject. Yet, when considering my own fatherly figures, personal studies, and youth ministry perspective, I believe ole’ Goleman’s tale on triumph might get to the heart of a key aspect of success.
You see, the position and responsibility of a father is one that rightly demands and expects severity, discipline, mentorship, and headship. These, in accordance with God’s will, cannot be undermined or argued against. Yet, the role of a father ought to be taken with the air by which it is given; with the intent of full success in mind. In enters our society’s newfound affection and adoption for the chill, comical, and “dad’s” dad persona. Someone who is goofy, schlocky, punny, and potentially a menace to their child’s social life at large.
As it is, there might actually be something to this newfound affection for the cringy father-figures of the world. While their jokes and their behavior might make you grimace from time-to-time, there is something fundamentally long lasting in one’s own child, family, workplace, or society and their success rate when leadership positivity and humorous affection is prioritized. This father understands the severity of his condition, but approaches it with the view of his child’s need for emotional security, relational closeness, and humorous catharsis. In so doing, our represented father can harness such resources to ensure the highest possible success of his child.
Or to put it (perhaps) reductively, I guess dad jokes really do save lives.
Admittedly, my (lack-of) experience is possibly seeping through. Ultimately, one needn’t be a sickeningly cheery bloke to use the principles herein. In fact, I would wager a vast majority of fathers do not inhabitthis core characteristic. How then are all fathers able to channel the fruits of this truth on parental connection and emotional security to their favor? For the humorous and humorless alike, there is hope in accessing the potential within your child through emotional security no matter your personality. Here are three helpful qualities one can take to foster their own child’s emotional, personal, and spiritual success.
The first quality a father or leader can implement into their relationships is to demonstrate levelheaded responses rather than reactions. This step demands no-false positivity, rather it just answers the craving a child has for calmness amidst their storms. Every father-figure I have had (especially my own) has exhibited the shelter-like qualities one needs when distress arises. It never demands false answers, nor ought it coddle the child from their appropriate amount of responsibility. Instead, it demonstrates to a child that no matter the conflict and no matter the failure, the man they look up to the most will be a calming, assured, calculated, and patient presence when everything else in their world feels like reactive chaos.
The second quality a father or leader can possess is in developing familial traditions that feed closeness and security. Mark Devries advocates for youth leaders to adopt quirky and positive “familial” rituals that are critical to each group’s DNA. I am mindful of many families and their diverse (and often peculiar) inside jokes or niche shared memories. Whether it be nicknames, annual school-absent dates as a family, or routine pranks that fathers participate in or even instigate, these are the shared experiences that families hold onto for life. A wise father knows such immaturities are never a waste of space, but instead can be a successful means to an end.
Thirdly, and most importantly, a father ought to be the key advocate of prescribing hope in the midst of every failure and every anxiety. Again, a Godly father is one that respects and uses discipline for his child’s benefit, but even amidst consequences, a father can instill within their child the hope for their future, their character, their potential, and their ultimate Savior, Jesus Christ. We see from Paul’s rousing testimony in Romans 8 that he instills within Jews and Greeks alike that, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” He would go on to say that “nothing in this world can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” when we are part of God’s beloved (Romans 8:37-39). In so doing, Paul unquestionably advocates for hope and assurance no matter the storm. It is most importantly up to fathers to ensure that their child knows and feels hope and confidence in their future and ultimately in their Savior in every area of life.
One needn’t be a prankster or a complete goof to get the job done (though it certainly doesn’t hurt any). Instead, the real ingredient to a child’s (and thereby, the father’s own) success is to understand the spiritual imperative that we are people built upon and in need of joy as a means to both combat failure and to grasp greatness. As Paul would simply put it, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). The true victorious father sees the danger ahead and chooses to guide his children to Christ while embarrassing them along the way.
Happy Father’s Day!