Editor’s Note: We invited our Dad Matters team to gaze into the future and make some predictions regarding fatherhood, marriage and life in general for the next year. Enjoy!
Jake Roberson: Wouldn’t ya know it? My brain’s prediction chip is in the shop this week. The circuitry was all wacky. The tech said it might have had something to do with my prediction of the world’s end as prophesied by the Mayan calendar last year.
Anyways, I think 2014 will find dads making their comeback in the media and advertising efforts. I noticed more ads focusing on dads and father/son relationships popping up in these last few moments of 2013. Like the warm-hearted #LetsBuild ad from LEGO or the rugged and fatherly spot by Chevrolet that was getting air time not too long ago. Politicians even got in on the act. (Note: the last ad isn’t necessarily Focus-friendly.) I think dads are on the rise and, as such, I bet we’ll see even more positive dad-related media 2014.
I also think we will see video games continuing to gain ground as a relevant part of the family experience. Dads are already gamers, but motion control technology like the Wii, Wii U, and Xbox’s Kinect is making gaming a more viable option for family game nights. I think they are slowly but surely sneaking out from underneath the stereotypes that label gamers as immature losers and gaming as being exclusively for nerds and/or college dropouts. (It’s still totally for nerds, though, and I still totally stereotype myself in my own mind.) Also, BuzzFeed confirms that gamers make the best parents.
Finally, 2014 will also find Bacon Explosions finally being mass-produced and becoming relatively affordable as a result. Additionally, the ACA will include a provision that states that all medical insurance coverage will be terminated for anyone caught eating or even purchasing one.
The Good Model
Paul Asay: A few thoughts on things for fathers to watch out for in 2014.
A popular young celebrity will likely do something dumb in 2014. Dads may need to deal with the fallout of said celebrity: They’ll have to be ready to talk about issues involving honoring God in our decisions, yet balancing with the reality that we all make mistakes. They might need to talk with them about choosing role models or examples for our own lives—stressing that Jesus is the only real perfect role model. Everyone else is bound to stumble at times.
More and more, our kids will gravitate toward the Internet for their entertainment. My kids already have a couple of online-only shows that they enjoy watching. And while those online bits of entertainment aren’t uniformly worse than what you’d find on television, they can be. Moreover, there are few restrictions to watch them: No ratings guidelines, no 11 p.m. start times, nothing. And while some sites have age guidelines (YouTube technically asks that you be 13 or older to view its content), those tend to be fairly meaningless. There is, of course, software that can help families make wise choices online … but it’ll be ever more important for dads to talk to kids about how to deal with bad stuff they see or hear—not just avoid it. Complete avoidance is increasingly impractical in this bewildering age of all-access information. Education is the key.
Christians Having A “Popeye Moment” On Divorce
Rich Bennett: Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels says that when you see something going on around you and say, “That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!” that you’re having a Popeye moment. My Popeye moment in 2014 is: Divorce in the church. The bringing together of any two imperfect people will never result in a perfect marriage. But people living apart from Christ should be able to look at Christian marriages and think, “There’s something different about the way those two people live, and how they love each other.” A marriage where two people are committed to Christ — and each other — should look different than those centered on other things. And the notion that you hit rough times and decide to find happiness elsewhere should be unthinkable. I think in the days ahead there is going to be a cultural explosion of Christians fighting for their marriage.
Four-to-six day marriage intensives are bringing couples back from the brink of divorce at an astounding rate — 85% of these “crisis couples” remain married two years after the experience and tools they receive. With a success rate so high, it’s only a matter of time before we reach a tipping point where people see the value of avoiding the long-term family destruction divorce causes and start turning to efforts like these to preserve their marriage and keep their family intact.
Hang Up and Arrive
Mike Ruman: Here are my predictions.
- Being present: Dads will realize that their eyes are glued to their devices and they are missing out on the “real world”. There will be a trend to put the screens away and be present with your family.
- Duck Dynasty will continue to dominate, and so will the beards. Look for some impressive manly men in 2014.
- Capri pants will still be out.
The Silent Killer
Jackson Dunn: I think one of the biggest things that will affect dads and has been for a long time is busyness.
I call it the silent killer of marriages and really families as it is always affecting us, but it’s masked in all of the activities swirling and it’s hard to put our finger on it. It’s killing us because it keeps us distracted, disconnected and exhausted. So, it keeps us from having the time to truly invest in each other and pour into our families like we need to.
We’re often busy doing “good” things for our family, but it can easily keep us from the whole purpose of the activities we are doing, which is to invest and strengthen each other. Distraction and exhaustion are normal, but are not healthy patterns.
And, although busyness is nothing new, the pace of our culture continues to quicken, and we need to be proactive and careful of how we combat it. Daily, small and intentional investments in the midst of our schedules are a great place to start.
It would also be good for us to examine our schedules and commitments and make sure the “doing” doesn’t keep us from “being “ the dad and family that God has called us to be.
The Cycle Continues
Sam Hoover: My predictions for 2014?
1a. The masculinity of womanhood will continue to target younger and younger girls.
1b. The feminization of manhood will continue to target older and older boys.
2. Christians will respond with immature outrage on both accounts.
3. Other Christians who consider themselves more mature will respond to the Christians above.
4. A big-name Christian blogger will write about it.
5. We’ll all nod in agreement.
6. And forget about it a week later.
7. Repeat from the top.
Brian Kuiper: I think the trend I (and other men) will be facing this next year is the increased difficulty to choose family time over a plethora of incredible distractions, including new video games, TV shows and movies.
Sent from my iPad
Social (Media) Dads
Roy Baldwin: In a recent tweet I saw on Twitter someone said, “Being a dad blogger is the new hip-hop.” I think there is a ton of truth to this.
I think this trend will continue partly because we see Millennial Dads engaging in social media and telling the world the story that they are going to be a better dad than what they had. I think what we will see is more corporations getting behind active and engaged dads.
I think we will continue to see an increase in father-daughter dances and dates. This has continued to see growth over the past few years and I don’t think it will tail off.
I believe the Church will finally jump on the “dad bandwagon.” Dads are the most important spiritual influencer in the life of their children which means, “if you want to have people sitting in your pews in a few years, you had better start engaging dads.” I think we will see the Church be more intentional in engaging men and dads.