By Eric Metaxas, June 22, 2016 blog at:
John Stonestreet and I talk quite often on BreakPoint about the importance of fathers. And when we do, we usually point to statistics that reveal that in terms of education, delinquency, drug abuse, and sex and pregnancy, young people who have no father fare worse than those who do.
And that’s all true. But there are a few problems with relying solely on statistics. The person you’re debating can come up with stats to counter yours. And many statistics need interpretation. But most importantly, simply telling someone something rarely convinces them of anything. Facts, statistics, moral assertions: They speak to the head, not to the heart.
There’s a rule that good writers and debaters try to observe, and you may have heard it before: Show, don’t tell. In other words, don’t lecture your readers to make a point. Show them what you’re talking about. Tell a story. Provide illustrations. Aim at the heart.
And that’s exactly what one major company, Gillette (you know, the guys who maker razors), did this Fathers’ Day with a commercial called “Go Ask Dad.” It presents in such a heart-warming, simple, and convincing way just how important it is for— in this case— young men to turn to dad for advice and help.
Here’s the gist: Procter and Gamble, Gillette’s parent company, says that “in a world where screen time tends to outweigh actual face time, the internet often replaces dad as the go-to source for ‘how to’ information.” Some 94 percent of teenagers, they claim “ask the internet for advice before their dads.”
So Gillette devises a contest between the Web and fathers. They bring in teenage boys from different countries and put them in a room with a computer. Then they tell the boys they need to figure out how to do a few simple tasks. Learn how to tie a tie. Learn how to ask a girl out on a date. Fry an egg. And of course, learn how to shave.
The kids are not daunted. They’re used to going to the Web to learn about all kinds of things. But they soon find out that instructional videos and Web forums aren’t much help. And we get to watch their comical failures.
So as one young man struggles with his knot or another burns the eggs. . . in walks dad.
And the teaching begins. When it comes to asking out a girl, “You’ve got to make eye contact,” one dad demonstrates as he looks into the eyes of his son (although I’d say the old man’s dance moves leave a bit to be desired— but the son doesn’t mind.)
Holding a tie in his hands, another dad advises his son, “You’ll have to go around twice because of your size.” Hands join on the slip knot as dad shows him how.
“This is how I do it,” one dad says to his son, whose face is smeared with shaving cream. “Hey, that’s pretty good,” he encourages the boy. “There. Your first shave.”
At the end, the boys are asked, “So, who did better. The computer or dad?”
“The better teacher was my dad,” says one. “Mi Papa” says another. “He’s more personal with his information,” a French-speaking boy concludes.
And finally, here’s the clincher: My dad “knows me and who I am,” says a fourth. Hugs and “I love you’s” ensue, and I’m wiping a tear away from my eye.
Hats off to Gillette. Oh, sure, they may make some extra razor sales for that first shave. But they did a wonderful job of showing us just how important dads are in the lives of their children.
View the commercial:
“When I was a boy of sixteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in five years.”
–Always attributed to Mark Twain (But probably not said by him. It cannot be found in his writings, and Twain’s father died when he was eleven. Still a great line, whoever said it!)
Proverbs 1:7-8 — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Proverbs 4:1 — Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
I Thessalonians 2:11-12 — For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
Ephesians 6:4 — Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Exodus 20:12a — Honor your father and your mother.