Have you noticed how adjectives are the hot thing right now? In order to effectively sell anything these days, it seems that those in the marketing department have to give the product a couple of fancy modifying words to make it sound more exciting.
For example, I can't order oatmeal at Starbucks. I have to order "Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Old-Fashioned Oats."
I no longer get french fries at Wendy's. I get "Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt."
I even checked the display rack at the drugstore for Crest toothpaste, one of the most classic products in America. You can't buy plain Crest Toothpaste. You can buy "Cavity Protection" toothpaste. Or "Tartar Protection Whitening" toothpaste. They even have one called Crest "Complete Multi-Benefit Extra-Whitening with Tartar Protection Clean Mint" toothpaste. But if you are looking for a label that says simply "Crest Toothpaste," you are out of luck.
Are these products really all that new and improved, or are they just loading them with adjectives to make them sound better? I honestly don't think my taste buds are sensitive enough to notice that the salt on my french fries came from the sea. And if Crest hasn't been keeping my teeth white, my breath minty, and my tartar at bay over the past 40 years, then I want a bunch of money back.
I suppose they put the adjectives there to put an exciting, fresh spin on something that's not so special. After all, I don't think Starbucks could get us to pay $3.00 if they offered something called "oatmeal" on the menu. Throw "steel-cut" and "old fashioned" in there and they've got a hot seller.
All this has got me thinking...
If a bunch of marketing wizards were looking to highlight my best features in my roles as husband and father, what words would they use? What adjectives would they honestly use to describe me?
My mind naturally goes to those days when I bring Jenifer flowers and those windows of time when I'm being a sensitive and attentive husband. I would probably characterize myself as "Romantic and Caring Husband with Heart Focused on Wife." And I can bring to mind plenty of days when I have been a great dad, fully engaged with my kids' needs and hearts. Good modifiers to characterize me would include "Available, Aware and Awesome Dad...Now With Extra Fun!" Yeah, that's how the guys in marketing would describe me.
But if I am honest, I have to admit that I can remember my good moments a whole lot better than I remember my bad ones. My mind can easily remember the days when I have been a loving husband, but I tend to forget the long seasons of time when I am not. When WAS the last time I bought Jen flowers? Or a simple gift? Or that I did something to make her feel special and cared for? I'm not a bad guy, but it would be a stretch to call me "caring." Sometimes I can be downright insensitive and unsympathetic. In the vast majority of times, the only adjectives that the marketing guys could use to honestly describe me would be things like "Insensitive and Distracted Husband with Cold-Hearted Tendencies."
In my role as a father, the description would be even worse. Adjectives attached to my name might include boring, careless, and disengaged. On many days I might be characterized as "Too-Busy Dad Who Saves Little Energy for His Kids." I'm pretty sure my five year old never thinks, "I sure wish dad would look at his iPhone more often."
I don't know about you, but I have to daily seek God's help to be the person my family needs me to be. On those days that I do, the positive adjectives fit. The Holy Spirit of God truly helps me to be an attentive and intentional husband and father. On those days that I do not seek the Father's perspective and power, I am good for nobody. A room full of public relations gurus could stare at me for days and still not come up with any positive spin to put on me. The adjectives to describe me would all be bad. I hate that, but it's often true.
"God, help us to realize that the tone of our marriages and family lives are set by the moment by moment decisions we make every day. Yes, it is a long journey, but it is made up of a million small choices and actions, most of which happen in the mundane details of life. May we make the most of every opportunity you give us. And may the adjectives that our families use to describe us all be reflective of your powerful work within us."