$%#* My Dad Says: Funny Yes But Innocent Fun?

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[tweetmeme source= ‘dadpad’ only_single=false]

I love social media.  I love the potential it has to connect, inform, extend and expand relationships and influence in business, personal and ministry realms.  In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time reading, watching and learning about it while I help others try to use it for more than sharing their meal habits or doings during the day.  So, it’s not surprising to me that it’s been not only in the news but it’s currently in the forefront of our entertainment.  Social Networking, the movie about Mark Zuckerberg’s journey with Facebook is the #1 movie in the country as I write.  And, a TELEVISION SHOW has been created out of a Twitter stream!  Who would have thought that a seemingly innocent effort by a young man to share the phrases his dad says would bring about a Twitter following of more than 1.7 MILLION and be the basis for a new fall TV show on CBS called, #$&@ My Dad Says.

Now, before you go to read Justin’s twitter feed, I warn you that the words and phrases on the Twitter stream are not decoded and are very explicit—definitely “R” rated.  I’ve read the stream and do find it very funny much of the time.  But, I think that’s because he’s not MY dad.  How would I really feel if he was saying that to me?  It’s one thing when it’s someone else’s dad.  But it’s ALWAYS SOMEONE’S dad!

Here’s my thought:  As funny as Justin’s dads comments might be, what would happen to our kids if we were to say these things to our children on a regular basis–i.e., what REAL impact might they have?  Most of our conversations to our children that cut them down, minimize their decisions, ridicule their comments or simply question their intelligence will not be fodder for a nationally shown television show.  And, I argue, even if they were, is that the model we want to shoot for?  Funny?  Maybe?   Words can tear apart the soul of a child.   Is it worth the momentary laugh if you deflate your child for a lifetime?  Can you justify the damage your words could do to your child by telling them that they are nothing more than an idiot for thinking or saying something I didn’t agree with, all for the sake of pumping yourself up or for a quick “LOL”?  I guess it begs the question, “how do you talk to your children?”  Do you lift them up with your tongue or use it as a whip and a platform for your comedy?  It’s an important question.  The answer might leave long and painful scars or provide a safe harbor for your children to mature within.

When it comes to evaluating the cost of success for the family emulated in this television show, I believe the cost far outweighs the millions they all get from TV, books, and other money making ventures associated with this theme.  I guess being a father of courage, giving up your own interests for the interests of your family, sacrificing time and energy to show them how important they are doesn’t make for good TV material.  So, ripping your kid because he said something stupid doesn’t have any ill effect.  I’ll just tear them apart because it’s funny and will make us a fortune when they cast our family’s dysfunction into a prime time show.  It’s a lie.  A fathers words carry a huge impact on our children—both for good and for evil.

I’m often saddened by the way that fathers are portrayed on television.  Name ONE from today’s shows that you’d like to be YOUR dad?  Dads—we don’t get our example of how to father our kids from television, that’s for sure.  But, where can we get a model of how to do this thing called “fathering”?  B  I  B  L  E.  It’s the only book I’ve ever found that gives me wise counsel every time I open it up.

Additionally, I tap into the network of dads in my life who really WANT to be Godly and influential dads.  None of us do it right all the time.  That’s OK.  As long as we’re doing it better today than we did yesterday we are becoming the dads God created us to be.  Hang in their dad!  Don’t emulate TV dads.  Follow our Heavenly dad and find a few down here who will come alongside you and be an encourager and, when needed, provide a little butt kicking too (without the coarse language :).

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2 Responses to “$%#* My Dad Says: Funny Yes But Innocent Fun?”

  1. Jack Says:

    Television doesn’t define me as a person or as a father.

  2. Jeff Abramovitz Says:

    Great to hear. I think most of us would say that. Yet, there are things in television that may not “define” us but certainly impact us. Just like a “caricature” only resembles us and exaggerates the more visible lines of my portrait, television often takes what is out there and exaggerates it beyond what most would say reflects them but still hits at some truths. In this case, I just wanted to remind us that how we speak to our kids, as funny as it may be to others, can be much more damaging than we understand. Thanks for the comment, Jack.

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