I got married when I was 24 years old. I had my first son at 26. I didn’t know I was supposed to build a civilization – construct a culture- until about 7 or 8 years ago. I don’t know about you – but I am a pretty ‘take life as it comes‘ kinda guy. Sure, I have some goals – some ambition – a general sense of where I am headed, but nobody handed me a playbook on running a household. I figured that dudes had been leading families for millennia, so I probably wasn’t going to screw it up too badly. I didn’t give it much thought. I’m embarrassed to say it, but every day I was approaching the line of scrimmage and calling an audible; the play would break down, and I would just wave at everyone to ‘go long.’ All these diapers and booster seats and scooters in the garage weren’t part of any big plan. I got into all this on the ‘big value win’ of locking my wife into marriage!
In fact, I was so crazy in love with my wife that the kids kind of felt like a ‘bonus pack’ or ‘add-on’ feature. Then, hey… whoah! These kids just kept showing up. First, we were outnumbered – then we were doubled. Before long, I had two sons, two daughters, a labrador, a mortgage, and a pounding headache.
Proverbs 5:18 reads, ‘Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be [a]enraptured with her love.(Hey man, I’m just trying to follow the Scriptures every day! I took that passage seriously. Other passages are difficult to observe, but that one is a gimme!) But the wife and I created a small squad of other humans; I didn’t run things well. We just ‘got through.’
I remember running ‘don’t die weekends’ – which was what my children called the weekends when their mom was out of town. The bar for a successful ‘all-Dad weekend’ was simple: don’t die. We weren’t going to be visiting museums or improving skills, we were going to make the weekend ‘accident-free,’ eat mac ‘n cheese or grilled cheese, and wait for mom to get home. We would resume life and ‘advance the ball’ once she showed up and reset the system!
The notion that I am responsible for everything that happens on my property: the good, the bad, the truly bizarre wasn’t immediately evident to me. I was just running this offense the way I had seen it run and it seemed to be largely ‘okay.’ And – I will tell you that the realization that I am a Viceroy and that the Scriptures actually do have quite a bit of instruction to fathers hit me out of the blue. If we are to build a King-oriented culture at our home address – then what does that entail?
A culture is a summation of:
achievements of a particular nation, people, or social group
and then we add this definition to the specific KIND of culture we mean to build:
Romans 14:17 says the Kingdom is
joy in the Holy Spirit
So, it is helpful to think about each category from the Kingdom perspective. Notice that righteousness is the first consideration, peace follows, and joy is the culminating effect of this kind of culture. And this hierarchical flow is critical when we start thinking about our household’s (Oikos) customs, arts, institutions, and achievements.
Scratching your butt, spitting in the grass, and yelling ‘go long’ isn’t going to build anything substantial. Part of my heart’s rebellion is that I often don’t want to fight through resistance, fatigue, or problems when engaging with my household. But my wife is very keen on partnering with me in building something special and meaningful, it blesses and empowers her when I do focus and when we do strategically think about the culture we run in our home:
the foods we eat, the songs that play from the stereo, household meetings, how chores are divvied up, who takes the dog on walks, how we speak to one another in conflict, how we wake up and make coffee, when we attend prayer meetings, how we budget and make time for exercise, how we practice hospitality around our table, who works on what schedules and who takes son #2 to piano practice
These are only a FRACTION of the ways we have to manage our household as we build Kingly culture. Viceroys have got to be engaged in this kind of culture-building enterprise. If we abdicate that responsibility, if we slough it off to let the wife manage it as best as she can, we are going to lose the game. It will cultivate resentment in our wife who is saddled with so much with only partial support. That ain’t cool, man! But we should it admit, all that abdicating has also been very commonplace.
We will explore more about ‘culture-building’ at another time. There is way too much to say in one article. Just know this: it’s your ball game. Your offense isn’t going to run itself and there is NOBODY else in the home that is equipped to form a huddle, see what needs to happen next, and then call a play. It will be awkward at first, sure, but it will be worth it in the endzone, or after a third championship title! Remember: you are destined to win. We want to help in any way we can here at the Viceroy Project.
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