Why Modern Families Are Boring As Hell

Last Sunday I woke my 10-year-old son before dawn, drove him to an empty church parking lot, and taught him how to drive a car.

I had him practice steering, braking, and accelerating while sitting on my lap.

Then, once he had the hang of it, I moved over to the passenger side and gave him free reign.

In no time, he was doing slow, steady laps around the parking lot. By breakfast, he had more-or-less nailed parking, signalling, and two-point turns.

I’ll never forget the sight of my son peering over the steering wheel with a grin on his face, blinking the sleep-sand from his eyes.

I’m sure it was a day he’ll not soon forget, either.

There are few joys as great as the joy a man gets from orchestrating adventures for his family.

And yet, so many men do not bother.

I blame it in part on consumer culture.

For consumer culture extends far beyond the consumption of things.

It’s re-wired the way we consume EXPERIENCES as well.

Just as we trot off like lemmings to buy the latest gadget, app, or designer brand…

So too we mindlessly spend our family time doing what everyone else does… choosing from the small, insipid list of socially approved and sanctioned activities our culture hands us.

When you live that kind of default, cookie-cutter life, you FORFEIT your chance to create your own family culture… which is one of the most satisfying and valuable gifts a father can give his family.

Instead of pulling the wagon of your family culture, YOU’RE IN THE WAGON with everyone else, knees up around your ears as you blithely let the status quo pull your precious cargo wherever the fuck it wants to take them.

And so we have millions of families all doing the same handful of mindless, off-the-shelf activities:

Going to the same theme parks, playing the same video games, watching the same movies.

You are a CREATOR.

Your family culture is just as worthy a medium of art as the canvas, the clay, the blank page.

So next time your son gets invited to one of those mind-numbingly sanitized birthday parties, have him make a homemade card instead of buying the usual hallmark dreck from the store.

Instead of dropping your daughter off at the movie theater with her friends, take her trail running or kite surfing or stand up paddle boarding.

Peel your kids off the playstation and do that shit for semi-real with a round of free range paintball in the woods.

Whereas your neighbors’ kids have calloused thumbs from all their gaming, resolve that your kids will be blessed instead with full body exhaustion, bruised shins, and blown minds from all your adventuring.

Decide what family culture you want to create… then CREATE it with the same imagination, effort, and intention you give your art proper.

If someone asked your kids what it means to be a your-last-name… what do you think they’d say?

Would their answer make you proud?

YOU decide what wonders they behold.

YOU decide what legacy, what association, what identify forms the foundation of their being.

YOU decide what magic you will create for them in this brief moment while they are still under your care.

Comments

  1. Awesome post! Yesterday my oldest daughter conquered her fears and jumped off a rock face into a lake 15′ feet below. Not a big deal for a lot of kids but it was a defining moment for her as I treaded water below, watching her muster up the courage to jump. Afyer she surfaced to the sound of my cheers she said, I’d rather have regrets from things I DID do instead of things I didn’t do. By the way, she suffers from serious juvenile arthritis and Crohns Disease. Some days its a srruggle to walk up or dow. A flight of stairs, so seeing her take on cliff jumping brought tears to my eyes. Memories are made by living life!

  2. Dan Meinzinger says:

    Good read, I have taken my kids Bigfoot hunting since they were all very young. My children often questioned why we didn’t do normal family things, the only way I knew to respond was with the question “are we a normal family?” My only hope is that doing something as off the wall as hunting mythical creatures is burnt into there memory and it is passed down to the next generation. It is a great way to spend time nurturing/honing there outdoor survival skills on top of it all.

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