How Our Society’s Biggest Problems Can Be Solved

Almost everyone will admit that they have serious concerns about the future of this world.

Yet, many overlook one of the most important solutions in fixing this broken society we live in.

During a plague or an epidemic, you have to determine and address the root cause of the issues you’re facing.

Today, our society is plagued by a lack of fathers who are truly interested and engaged in the lives of their children.

Yes. It’s a plague. Not the sort of plague that presents itself through boils and lesions, but one that spreads from family to family and from generation to generation like a wildfire.

Mothers often heroically step up to fill the gap, but they are shouldering a very difficult burden.

For a dad, not being “all in” on fatherhood leads to the most tragic of all human outcomes– children who feel insecure, lost, angry, anxious, depressed or not valued.

That perfect storm of emotions in a child leads to mental and physical suffering of epidemic proportions. Sometimes, we as a society struggle to place our finger on  why so many children and teenagers appear to be so afflicted.

We look at lots of external factors. We perform research and try to provide explanations as to why there is so much unhappiness in the world. Why there is so much hatred, so much racism, so much sexism, skepticism and hedonism.

We wonder why there is so much human trafficking and sex trafficking. Tim Ballard of Operation Underground Railroad, one of the world’s foremost experts on this global tragedy, told me over the phone and then later wrote it in the foreword of my book that the central cause of all human trafficking had to do with a lack of a father in the lives of all involved.

 

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The remedy to almost every societal issue is so stupidly simple. It stares us right in the face every morning we wake up. The remedy calls to us from down the hallway. The remedy tugs at our coats and holds on to our ankles as we walk toward the door.

“Dad… can you hang out with me?”

“Dad… can we play a little while?”

“Dad… want to play catch?”

A child craves a positive and constructive relationship with their parents more than anything in this world.

When a child doesn’t get that relationship from inside the home, then he or she begins looking for it outside the home.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland cited a book called Fatherless America, wherein the author stated that “fatherlessness” was “the most harmful demographic trend of this generation.”

The easiest and most enjoyable cure to most of society’s problems manifests itself in the longing of a pure and innocent child to have a dad who prioritizes his role as father, husband and family man over anything else.

Imagine if more men derived their sense of purpose in life based on the following lines from Edgar A. Guest:

I would rather be the daddy

Of a romping, roguish crew,

Of a bright-eyed chubby laddie

And a little girl or two,

Than the monarch of a nation

In his high and lofty seat

Taking empty adoration

From the subjects at his feet.

I would rather own their kisses

As at night to me they run,

Than to be the king who misses

All the simpler forms of fun.

When his dreary day is ending

He is dismally alone,

But when my sun is descending

There are joys for me to own.

He may ride to horns and drumming;

I must walk a quiet street,

But when once they see me coming

Then on joyous, flying feet

They come racing to me madly

And I catch them with a swing

And I say it proudly, gladly,

That I’m happier than a king.

You may talk of lofty places,

You may boast of pomp and power,

Men may turn their eager faces

To the glory of an hour,

But give me the humble station

With its joys that long survive,

For the daddies of the nation

Are the happiest men alive.

Fixing our society and the things that plague us can only be done from within the home. Becoming a “real dad” means unselfishly giving yourself over to the most noble of causes. Fatherhood.

It means investing heavily in the things that matter most. You don’t have to be rich. In fact, the unhealthy pursuit of money is often the cause of childhood neglect and late-life regret. The investment into the things that last, the things they’ll remember, and the things you’ll remember will pay far greater dividends.

I never played music when I was young. I can’t play music, sing, or hold a tune. I was never into orchestral music. But now I spend every moment I can supporting the music that my children have created. I will never regret that.

If you ask the well-known Harvard business professor and writer Clayton M. Christensen about investments, he’ll likely tell you about the one project that brought him his greatest ROI. It also happened to be one of his least expensive investments.

This investment took place shortly after the purchase of his first house. As his family settled into this new house, he saw the perfect place in their new backyard for a playhouse. He and his kids, Ann and Mathew, spent weeks working through the details of acquiring materials and ultimately building the playhouse. They put their hearts and souls into that playhouse, and since it was built from scratch, they also invested a great deal of time.

Christensen noted that while the house was being built, it was all the kids wanted to do. The minute he got home, they were hankering to get back to work on the project. Christensen cited Herzberg’s theory of motivation as the primary reason that his kids were so excited about building their playhouse, explaining that the pride they took in their own accomplishment lit the fire in them to work incessantly on the house.

I’m sure that his observation is true, but I have another theory. I believe that Ann and Mathew, above all else, loved spending time with their dad, showing off for their dad, and seeing his pride in their accomplishments.

As Clayton Christensen looked back on the experience of building the playhouse with his kids, he said, “I shudder to think that I almost bought a kit from which I could have quickly assembled the playhouse myself.” He had made a low-risk, high-reward kind of investment.

The one-on-one investment of your time into being with and teaching your children correct principles is our best hope for society. No amount of money, no programs, no science can fix our world and set us on a positive trajectory.

Our society’s gaping hole needs to be filled by “real men” who step up, treat women and children with respect, work hard, honor God, and are overwhelmingly unselfish.

To borrow some language from the prophet Lehi: “We must arise from the dust and be men!”

Real men.

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