The Best Leaders Symbolize Fathers

The topic today is a fun one and I’m excited to hear Jeremy’s thoughts and that is that leaders, no matter what genre or sphere or domain of life, often always symbolize fathers. And I love that idea and I think that’s so true. Whether we look at government, whether we look at business, whether we look at just any type of person, coaches and sports, which is obviously a huge family teams analogy we use for family teams.

But it’s interesting that some of the best leaders in the world, in my opinion, again, sports, business, government, no matter what domain, the best ones are literally fathers. They’re fathering their children metaphorically speaking, they’re leading them, they’re casting a vision for them. And I would say one really interesting barometer of those relationships is the absolute best leaders are ones that almost their following would like die for them. And obviously that can go off the deep end and the sense of like cult. But I think that’s actually, sadly what cult is doing is actually taking advantage of the spirit of a family and father mentality and then turning it for evil and distortion.

But it’s really interesting, think about that. All people are willing to give up their lives for a leader. We could think of a million examples. That’s not hard for any of us. How many of us can think of kids that are willing to give up their lives for the father or the family? Now it’s funny you even say that aloud and that kind of feels like, “Ooh, that feels different.” I don’t know if I want my kids to like yell. But is there a mutual exchange of service in the gospel where the father, because here’s why I think good leaders are also first sacrificing for their following.

And that’s where again, we see that in Jesus, right? We see Jesus dying for the church, which then woos the church back to him and we are not forced to or coerced to. And that’s the magic of grace that’s very different than Satan and his kingdom is that he courses and he forces, but Jeremy, what are your thoughts on this leaders? How do they symbolize fathers? What does that look like?

Yeah, so it’s really interesting how oftentimes, whether it’s your boss at work or whether it’s a leader in your country, oftentimes the way that you’re actually responding to that leader, either loving them, hating them, is oftentimes very reflective of your vision of what you think fatherhood is. And ancient culture’s actually knew this and knew that they needed to create an ideal sort of picture for the entire country. And I didn’t even know this, in the British monarchy when there was all these fights about whether or not it should be maintained or not, one of the reasons why in Great Britain they wanted to retain the monarchy, even if they didn’t have the ultimate power that they used to have, was as a symbol for what the ideal family should look like. So that the entire country could be lifted up by having a picture of a father and a mother and children.

This is why like that show, the Crown, I don’t know if you guys have watched that but yeah, it’s a fascinating story and it’s one of the things that’s most fascinating to me about it, is when you see the sacrifices that are being made by a Royal family to try to preserve the ideal picture of what a family should look like. It’s very strange to us in our culture now we see it as very inauthentic, like, wait a minute, you’re just doing that to put on a show. But it’s important to understand that the show they were trying to put on was actually in sacrifice or in service to their country so that their country would have an ideal to shoot for, even though the ideal is going to be flawed if you look a few layers beneath the surface.

And that’s what we love to do in our culture now. But we’re really dying a lot of us from a lack of good modeling. We don’t have an ideal to look for. I know that one of the times when I really saw this was… So Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, mentioned that a lot of times in the West, men have a really hard time in their mid-thirties and forties because a lot of our stories about what a man should look like are really founded on the person of Jesus who died when he was 33 years old. And this is why I’ve encouraged a lot of dads to really understand that while we are following Jesus’s example of son-ship, he didn’t provide a different example for us of fatherhood. And so we need to have that symbolic father to follow.

And I encourage you guys to really consider Abraham as a symbolic father. And of course he’s flawed, just like the Royal family. There is no perfect example of the family or fatherhood. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to construct a picture of an ideal family. And so having leaders in our lives that we look up to, having leaders where we start to cherry pick some of the things about them that we find really, really great and worthy of emulation. That process is critical for you guys as dads. It’s been critical for me and that’s how we really begin to level up. We are all shooting for an ideal that we’re going to all fall short of, right? We all fall short of the glory of God. But it doesn’t mean that we should try to destroy every ideal in our life. And there’s a cultural meme right now that is going around, which is destroy every ideal because we don’t like the fact that it reveals our fallenness and our flawedness.

And that makes us feel better in the short term. But the implications or the consequences of destroying every single ideal that you’re trying to look for is that you become aimless. You don’t know where to aim your life, which is a terrible tragedy. So we need to have models that are upstream from us. Flawed models, yes, but where they are really more mature than we are in various areas, and we need to begin to shoot for those things, and that’s what’s going to cause us to really get better and better and grow in maturity towards something that’s actually closer to, I think God’s design for what fatherhood is all about.

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