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Last week, a friend of mine posted a Facebook update.
That's it. He posted to Facebook. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for him, it’s quite an anomaly. His account often lies dormant for months at a time.
I posted to Facebook today. Just like the day before. And the day before that. My account lies dormant for seconds at a time. If that.
What's interesting is that my friend and I posted essentially the same thing - pictures of our kids. He was taking the time to share a special moment with his network.
I was trying to get "likes."
We were both sacrificing time out of our schedules to be with our families, but for glaringly different reasons. That sacrifice takes a certain kind of courage. He demonstrated courage. I demonstrated Facebook Courage.
You see, there's courage - doing the things that you wouldn't do under normal circumstances. And there's Facebook Courage - doing the things that you wouldn't do under normal circumstances when someone has a smartphone.
Taking your family out to serve at a local soup kitchen? That takes courage.
Taking your family out to serve at a local soup kitchen and tweeting a play-by-play of how many people dote upon your kids and their matching outfits? That's Facebook Courage.
Taking your kids to the playground? Courage.
Taking your kids to the playground and making a 3:30 minute YouTube video with fade-ins and outs all set to the magical lyrics of The Biebs? Facebook Courage.
Visiting your kids’ school once a month to be a positive role model? Courage.
Visiting your kids school once a month to be a positive role model by sitting at the cool kids table and Instgramming a pic with your new buds? Facebook Courage.
The difference between courage and Facebook Courage comes down to one word:
Matthew 6:1 has been warning me lately of Facebook Courage: "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." (ESV)
Thankfully, there's an easy solution:
Turn off your phone.
Be present with your family when you're with your family. Turn off the distractions. Be Dad … not @Dad.
Facebook Courage teaches your kids values that will last with them a lifetime. Although with Facebook around, they might always be testing those values to see if other people approve.
Sam Hoover (@sam_hoover) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Assistant Manager for Social Media for Focus on the Family.
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Great stuff, Sam! One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten was to make sure that I am completely off my phone before I come in the door at the end of my work day. That definitely helps me be present.
Jon Acuff offers another great piece of advice on how to be a better parent in 4 seconds:
Hang up and arrive.
Love it. Read more on his blog here - www.jonacuff.com/.../how-to-be-a-better-parent-in-4-seconds
Taking your kid to the playground counts as 'courage'? Seriously? Man, that's a pretty low bar you've got there. What's next, a medal for watching TV and a Purple Cross for raking the yard?
Sure, that's courage! A lot of Dads are terrified of the playground. It's hard work to step into your child's world instead of always wanting them to come into yours.