Why is Family so Complex?

You might be asking yourself, why do I have to listen to the whole podcast on fatherhood? Why do I have to think about this so much? Why would I even want to join a Facebook group? Or isn’t family simple? Isn’t life just simple? Why is family complex? Is that a bad thing? Is that a good thing? And I want to tell you guys, family is complicated. You can do this, but it’s not simple. And one of the passages in scripture that speak to the complexity that we’re dealing with in building a house, or building a household, building a family, trying to integrate all of these things. How do I help my wife to thrive? How do I help my kids to thrive? How do I pay the mortgage? How do I work hard?

It’s a lot to manage. It’s a lot of work and it’s not simple, but one of the passages that I like about this, Proverbs 9 says, “Wisdom has built her house. She has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts. She has mixed her wine. She has also set her table. She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town. Whoever is simple, let him turn in here, to him who lacks sense, she says, come eat my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and live and walk in the way of insight.” I love this passage. It’s really describing wisdom like this woman and she’s trying to explain to people, one of the problems that you don’t understand about life is you think it’s simple and it’s not.

You think that if you, in life, in its complexity, really it has to be mastered through wisdom. And so all the time you guys are spending investing in listening to Jeff and I talk, reading other books, talking to other dads, trying to understand and puzzle out the complexity of this role of being a dad. I just want to dial in expectations, that’s normal. It is complicated what we’re trying to do, you guys. Raising kids and creating flourishing houses. And one of the things, there’s a lot of elements of this that I love, even the idea that she has hewn her seven pillars. Like when we created our family mission statement and wrote our pillars, we decided to write seven pillars, which came directly from this verse.

Oh, that’s cool.

And we’re trying to talk to our, I was trying to talk to our kids about, it is complicated what we’re trying to do, and here are the seven pillars we’re trying to build our house on because wisdom has hewn her seven pillars; the mixed wine, the setting of the table, all of this stuff speaks of the complexity and the beauty when you can master the complexity through wisdom, the beautiful stuff that results. And I think that that’s what we want to encourage you guys to think about. Don’t think about family and fatherhood as simple. So many, if you look at a lot of families and houses that are suffering, there’s oftentimes a dad who thinks it should be simple. Like there’s one principle, serve me. Or one principal, just love each other. It is more complicated than that guys. It’s clear it’s more complicated. We need to be investing and trying to figure this out.

Yeah, and I feel like reminding, we all need to hear the reminder, especially in our culture, that we’re swimming upstream in the sense of like, a culture of knowledge versus wisdom. Knowledge is easily accessible and has nothing to do with another person, you can usually gain it fast. I do have a fascinating theory on, I feel like the ratings of Jeopardy! have slowed and gone down since the era of the internet and Google and smartphone because it’s not that awesome anymore to know a bunch of random facts, because Google can just give them to you. That’s a random theory that we do another episode on, but we are in that era now where you have the dispenseability of all knowledge at your fingertips, but we don’t have wisdom.

And wisdom, like you said, the difference is it’s more complex. It takes an actual life lived, it takes an actual formation, it takes an actual path to get there. And it’s the long haul. And so that’s what I just feel like I always get encouraged by when I really realize that truth, and hopefully dads listening well too, is that it takes a long time and that shouldn’t depress you. That should actually help you, that should impress you, that should lift you up in the sense of, man, you can relieve some of your stress of thinking that you’re going to get some life hack to fatherhood or that you’re going to get some trick or tip. And now wisdom is kind of accumulation of all these little nuggets of truth, and wisdom and insight, but over a long period of time.

And so I know for me, yeah, that’s what’s huge. And just like a pillars of a house, there’s multiple of them, there’s not just one. And at the same time, you have to have all of them and … Think about how complex it is to actually do pillars. You have to actually be building them all at the same time in an even way or it would be really lopsided. If just one went up and there was no other ones, or if one got removed, they’re kind of …

That’s hard, to actually build something. You need a blueprint, you need to actually map it out, you need exact measurements, you need to plan it. Then you need to actually do it, then you need to actually assess while you’re live in the field, things that go wrong and change it and adapt it. It’s literally just like building something. It takes an enormous amount of planning and time and resources, but if you do it right, if you do it, calculate it, and you stay the path, then you have a really, really beautiful house that you can live in. And that your family can live in and the generations after you can live in.

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