Saturday, September 1, 2007

To the Mattresses-- posted by Daddy

I'm awfully proud of the job that Will and the kids have done getting our family
blog up and running. Today they said it was my turn to write a post. For
someone who has been working on the great American novel (in my head) for lo these
many years, you would think that sitting down at the keyboard and lettin' 'er rip
would be no problem. And that's where you would be wrong.

Well, so much for preamble.

As you can tell from the kids' posts, one of the best things to come along recently has been the innovation of taking some of the older kids with me on my business trips. It has completely taken away the biggest negative of business travel. In my new postion, I am travelling more than I was for my previous employer. I don't mind it, too much, particularly since it's productive travel, i.e. visiting customers and prospects. I like being on the road, seeing new companies, but have always loathed being away from my family. Now, I can take care of business, have some good quality time with a couple of the kids, the kids learn about how business is done and have an opportunity to have new experiences.

But while this is a vast improvement, it's still not what it should be, which is that our family have a business that we can all be part of, so we can be together all the time. That's what I want in the future. Not that I don't appreciate my job. As a matter of fact, as jobs go, I am enjoying it immensely. I have a great equipment finance company behind me, which is very aggressive in wanting to get deals done. They support me, but don't get in the way. And the compensation plan is such that I have the opportunity to work hard and get paid for my efforts, such that I can take care of current obligations and start laying the groundwork for a family business in the future.

Which brings me to a subject that I will write about frequently on this blog because it is what I think and pray about all the time. That is, the mandate that we as men in this country have to fulfill our roles within a Biblical patriarchy.

As this is the desire of my heart, I know that the Lord is perfecting this call in me.

And how, you may ask, do I go from talking about travelling with the kids on business and wanting a family business, to discussing Biblical patriarchy?

The quick answer is that, without question, a family business provides the best environment for Biblical patriarchy. Much of the problem with today's families is that we have so moved away from the family owned enterprise. With men mostly working for another company, the vast amount of time that a man has during the week is spent away from his family. This has been compounded by moms working outside the home, and multiplied by parents outsourcing their Biblical mandate to instruct their children to a government or privately run school system. More on all this later.

Let me be clear, there is nothing at all ignoble about a man earning a wage to provide for his family. But a family business is the model that God gives us to follow for caring for our family and raising our children.

Which brings me to last night, when the Big Four, Mandy, and I watched The Godfather on television. Once you get beneath the surface and realize that the movie is primarily about family (which may be why it has been so acclaimed over the years), you will understand when I say that the character of Vito Corleone can teach us much about what it is to be a patriarch.

Now before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, let me say that clearly he had shortcomings as a patriarch. There is the obvious fact that his wealth was based on criminal activities. He did not completely pass along his moral code to Sonny (whose adulterous behavior should not have been tolerated) or Fredo (who was unwilling to start a family of his own) or Michael (who...well, for the sake of the Big Four who haven't seen GII, I won't discuss it now.) Also, his patriarchy sometimes devolved into chauvinism which has no part of Biblical patriarchy.

But at the same time, he had many attibutes to be emulated. For him, taking care of and protecting his family meant everything, and was above all else. "After all," he says, "a man who doesn't spend time with his family is not a man."

He was portrayed as a kind, generous man, who lived by a strict moral code of loyalty to friends and, above all, family. He attempted to influence the New York crime world with these values, even when it was to his own disadvantage, as seen in his reluctance to get into narcotics.

Can you imagine Vito sending his wife into the workplace to help support the family, or let his daughter work to make her own way?

He mentored his sons in the family business, such that Sonny was able to assume leadership of the family when Vito was recovering from the assasination attempt. And the only reason he didn't involve Michael was that he wanted the family business to become legitimate first.

Maybe some of what is admirable in Vito Corleone is considered Old World. But it is this essense of patriarchy that needs to be preserved and developed by men everywhere, but certainly in this country. To this country's shame, men, for the most part, have abdicated their God given role. As a consequence, the family, and by extension, the country, has suffered.

Anyway, I'll write more about this later. Right now, before I get back to work, I think I'll listen to the song that really does. every. time.

No comments: