These are challenging, uncertain times, no question. What’s at the root of it? How did we get here? And what can fathers do about it?
The answer comes to us, as it often does, from an ancient prescription: Character is fate. Who a person is determines what will happen and what they can do. It should surprise no one that a culture that has put character at the absolute bottom of the list of requirements for its leaders—below whether they tell us what we want to hear, below how clever their tweets are, below how they look on television, below whether they’ll pass short-term measures that benefit us financially, below whether they belong to this party or that one—would find itself in crisis after crisis.
Of course those CEOs with golden parachutes and armies of consultants left their companies in shambles and their customers wanting. Look at their character! Of course that enormously overpaid college coach with a history of recruitment scandals left a wake of disaster behind them at your alma mater. Look at their character! Character determines everything.
Your job as a father, as you seek to create a better world for your kids and raise them to be good in that world, is to value character. To teach it to them. To model it for them. To reward it when you see it in them. Yes, you want them to be smart. Yes, you want them to be ambitious. Yes, you want them to be creative and hard-working. But these traits are worthless if not yoked beneath good character.
We’re seeing the costs of ignoring that fact in every facet of life right now. We need to fix it. And the fix starts at home.