Dadvertising // A Father's Reflection
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18)
When I was in College, one of my favorite memories involved staying up late with friends watching infomercials and laughing our heads off at all of the outrageous and confounded claims that some of these advertisements would make. The contemporary infomercial is really a work of art. Like a finished piece of music, it has its movements; its ebbs and flows; its crescendos and decrescendos. It sucks you in. And it won't let go until it it has you on the phone for NOT ONE! NOT TWO! BUT THREE! doohickeys or thingamabobs or shakeweights or what-have-yous that will just end up in the trash a week later anyway.
These infomercials have a flow to them, dare I say, a formula. They start out with the until-now unavoidable problem that is frustrating the entirety of civilization (you have 40 pairs of shoes, but your closet only contains enough room for 36 pairs of shoes! Oh the humanity!). This MUST be shot ENTIRELY in black-and-white. It really conveys the sense of despair you should be feeling about your poor, neglected pairs of shoes numbered 37 through 40. Dark, foreboding music is a plus too. Giant red X's and buzzer sounds? Icing on the cake.
Next, they bring out the Celebrity spokesperson. "Alright!", you say to yourself, through a mouthful of puffed corn balls laced with powdered cheese dust, "Finally someone QUALIFIED to tell me about the merits of the hang-your-shoes-in-the-closet thingy!" Then begins the trope about how this washed up magnate was once like you, the commoner, storing his shoes under the bed, in the garage, behind the seldom-cleaned fish tank. BUT THEN! DISCOVERY! They found the power of this amazing product! Their life has never been the same!
After D-List Johnny collects his paycheck, you get the demonstration of how AMAZING this product is. 40 shoes? No problem! A multi-ethnic cross section of American consumers demonstrates the utter usefulness of the shoe-hangy-thingy, and all is right with the world. Did I mention this part is in COLOR? And the MUSIC! So upbeat!
Finally, the kicker. Did you know that you, gentle commoner, can live the life that you once only dreamed of? That's right, for 15 easy installments of 9.95, you too can own this amazing product. BUT WAIT, there's more! If you call now, you get not one, but TWO! Then comes the inevitable knocking-off of one or two installments, reducing payments, free gifts, blah blah blah and so on and so forth into infinity.
Great. Now that I have summarized the modern infomercial for you, let's get down to the good stuff. Fatherhood. Could you imagine having to advertise fatherhood to someone who has never experienced it? Where would you begin?
Is there something missing in your life? Have you forgotten what 4:30 AM looks like? Do you enjoy getting puked on? Do you feel like your social life has become a burden to you, and you just want to eliminate it altogether? Do you have a hidden predisposition towards "Wheels on the Bus"? Are you tired of "having nice things"?
Well, have we got the job for you!
Hmm. Something tells me that would not be the best way to go about it.
Is there something missing in your life? Have you ever wanted to have the power to heal boo-boos with a single kiss? Do you want to feel like a celebrity every time you walk through the front door of your own home after a long day of work? Would you like to have the joy of watching someone learn a new skill for the first time, AND be the one to teach them?
That's more like it!
One big thing that has changed in my life over the past three years in regards to fatherhood has been my perspective. My initial impressions of fatherhood were predominantly dire: What if I don't know what to do? When am I going to find time to hang out with people? What if I drop the baby? How do I get this diaper on? I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and had no business being a father. But then I changed. When I saw my little girl for the first time and held her in my arms, I knew exactly what I needed to do. My old life was no more. I had a new life ahead of me; a new calling. I was going to be the best darn father I could ever be.
I liken my change in perspective and leaving behind of my old life to the story of Jesus calling the first disciples. Jesus called these men from their simple (but relatively stable) lives to join him in his ministry. They knew nothing about what was in store for them. No doubt there were some apprehensions, some difficult moments, some sacrifices made, some second-guessing. But the change for these Disciples was a change for the better. They were once lowly fishermen. Soon they were entourage to the greatest Man to walk the earth. They left their old life behind, and didn't look back. They accepted the call that Jesus put out to them and served Him with their lives.
Fathers, you too have been called to serve Christ. Serve him in the way you bring up your children; by setting an example for them. Love them as sons and daughters of God. Show them how much you love being their dad and how they have changed your lives for the better. Bring them up in the Word and teach them about their loving Savior. Be an example for them in the way you act as a husband, a father, a child of God.
It's good dadvertising.
"Hi, I'm Mike. I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my wife, HHH writer Amber, and our NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREE! wonderful kids. I work in Milwaukee as a Social Worker. I love music, sports, and geeking out about music and sports."
For more reflections from Dads read -
Zoom in - Zoom out The big picture of fatherhood. - Frank On Time Am I doing enough with my time as a father? - Will The Meaning of Life: And Other Questions I Don't Know The Answers To - Brian