Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Tag: responsibility

504. Confidently Discuss

Discussion and debate never hurts. Have the discussion. More importantly, do your best to understand the other side without sarcasm or hyperbole, but in fairness to their position. Be confident in your stance, clear in your presentation, and congenial in disagreement.

503. Memory

Kids remember.

Stop and consider this seriously. Keep it foremost in your mind.

Kids remember.

502. The Enemy of Your Marriage

Treat anything that attempts to separate you from your spouse as a great enemy. Defend your marriage, disclose the situation to your spouse, strengthen the bond between you, and declare your trust, affection, and faithfulness to the enemy. Stop them in their tracks and let nothing come between you. Fierce love protects fiercely and trusts fully.

484. Comfortable Distance

Impropriety can masquerade in friendly clothes. Be friendly to your spouse’s friends, but keep a safe, appropriate distance, and always tell your spouse of any advances by another. It may feel awkward for a moment, but it is never something to hide. Your loyalty is always first to your spouse.

483. Keep Learning

Daughter, get as much education as you can. If anything ever happens to your husband, life will be up to you. Education is not your way out, it is your way forward.

Son, get as much education as you can. It is your job to provide the most security possible for your family. It is also your responsibility to encourage your wife to continue her education in case anything happens to you.

No excuses: Take care of her as well as you can while you are here; make sure she can take care of herself if you are gone.

This is modern-day chivalry. This is one way to honor your family.

482. Essay: Valuable Forgiveness

When someone hurts you, forgiveness is the only way forward. Not primarily for them, but for yourself.

The depth of the hurt correlates to the level of value given to the relationship and the amount of expectation the individuals have. The closer the relationship and higher the expectation, the deeper the hurt. This makes restoring the relationship that much more meaningful and necessary, and therefore difficult.

Any repentance and forgiveness that was quick, easy, or painless shows the shallow level of relationship and its low expectations. A repentance and forgiveness worthy of the relationship is costly and not easy at all, but it is worth it.

Don’t confuse the desire for a repaired relationship with the amount of time it takes to bring it about. The two are related, but not dependent. It may seem to happen quickly in some circumstances and slowly in others, without regard for the desire. I have a feeling that it takes longer than we initially realize; we can see it clearer when we look back upon the process. The important thing is to keep moving forward as much as it is up to you.

I’ve written a bit more about conceptual thoughts on forgiveness in this prior essay:

http://jfjudah.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/362-axiomatic-things/

476. Fight

We are prone to apathy. Fight it with all you can muster.

475. Quote: Your Dad on Humor and Restraint

“Humor in entertainment allows people to simultaneously show repulsion and acceptance in a socially acceptable way. If we laugh, even nervously, and see our neighbor laughing also, we convince ourselves that we are not all that bad; we are average. In this way humor is subversive to social and moral responsibility because we judge ourselves by ourselves. This subjective standard is the weakest of all barometers since it changes with the times and is not subject to any scrutiny, except a cultural backlash advocating higher morals. Sadly, history shows that those requesting higher moral standards are quickly silenced in the name of free expression. And that is perhaps the greatest irony: those advocating free expression work hardest to silence those expressing a desire for social self-restraint.”

—Your Dad, from an essay on the misrepresentation of women in media

474. Essay: Clearer Lines

For my drawing class I opted to draw the skeletons and the marble and plastic models rather than the nude model. I was prepared and more than willing to deal with the mockery and questions inevitably hurled my way from those steeped in a culture that no longer understands the concepts of restraint, dignity, and art. Here’s why.

Restraint

I believe it’s important to have boundaries for what you will and will not do. More important is knowing why you make those choices. For me, I don’t need to know intimately about any other woman than my wife. In fact, I doubt seriously that any marriage has been bettered by knowing more about another of the opposite gender than about their spouse. That’s how marriages are ended, not strengthened.

Dignity

I believe humans have immeasurable worth, both as individuals and as a distinct category of being.

Art

I believe art should reveal us to ourselves and invite us into the greater concepts to which we aspire: love, justice, mercy, truth, wonder, peace, selflessness. The greatest instances in the arts do not abandon us in the story at the height of displaying our selfishness, violence, or sensuality. They do not pursue those things for their sake alone, but neither do they erase all ambiguity, irony, and subtlety.

It takes precisely no talent to show a murder or nudity, but significantly more to hint at it without ever showing it in frame. (This is also how mystery and drama are well incorporated.) Even a cursory survey of seminal works reveals how the arts’ great pursuit is for the true, the good, and the beautiful.

I did not draw the nude model because that aspect of the assignment — the nudity itself — failed on multiple levels: it would not have brought me closer to truth, goodness, and beauty; it would not have revealed me to myself or invited me to “the aspirational perfections”; it would not have dignified the model, the medium, or myself; it would have short circuited my pursuit of artistic excellence; and it would have violated the boundaries and freedoms I now enjoy.

Clearer Lines

G.K. Chesterton said, “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” I would add that whenever art and morality intersect, those lines should be even clearer.

469. Better

Better to restrain for a time than regret for all time.

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