I recently attended a sophisticated party. Beautifully adorned women, smartly dressed men. I sat and observed the wonder of human interaction. How we dip and pirouette in and out of conversations with sighs, laughs, and head curtsies.
Then I observed one elegant woman sit upon the out-of-the-way leather couch, off to herself, pull out her iPhone, and flip through, whatever.
Astounding, I thought. We, the sophisticated, turning from the real, to the virtual. Then I thought how most of these beautiful men and women will return home, check their children (if they have them), dress for bed, and sit up looking back on the evening via news feeds from the social.
I marveled at how we can transition from the delights of fellowship, into the gorging of narcissism. This thought sent me reeling. I wondered how I looked within the grand context of human interaction. Was I checking my phone when e’re I could? Did I return home simply to hop in bed and hop online?
Then I thought, How do my daughters see me? They pop into our room during the pre-sleep I need-a-snack time. What’s daddy doing? Flipping through the social? Binge watching? On the laptop? What legacy am I creating each morning, noon, and night? What am I etching into their hearts via my actions and inaction? Do they see me rush to the virtual world, when the physical world demands my attention?
Certainly digital/social media serves some purpose in our lives. But what struck me was how it has moved from simple augmentation of the real, to a weird kind of co-inherence with one another.
So, I scribbled down my manifesto, a declaration of my organic humanity and its relationship to the most important discipleship project I’m a part of: fathering my daughters.
I want my girls to see dirt under my fingernails. Grease in my fingerprints. Grass stains on my jeans.
I want them to see me build a fire. Cook them s’mores. Pitch a tent.
I want them to see me work, hard. And then play, hard.
I want them to be overwhelmed with the wonder and beauty of books. To be humbled, intrigued, and inspired by human thought, because I, myself, respect all humans and their unique and varied thought.
I want them to read poetry, love poetry, write poetry, because I, myself, value poetry and its place in human discourse.
I want them to see me participate in hard conversations, through thoughtful interaction, through rigorous scholarship, and hard thinking on subjects that demand more than bumper-sticker-theology, sound-byte-moralism, or blog-deep-advocacy.
I want them to see me hold my ground, when the whole world shifts toward the popular trends and too-cool-ideology sparked by a postmodern narcissism that threatens to reduce sacramental and sacrificial living into a cesspool of self, tagged with the your-best-story-now mantra.
I want them to see me take on adventures. Travels, hikes, bike-hikes, day-hikes, back-yard-capades.
I want them to see me fail. I want them to see me get back up. And try again.