We often hear from dads who say, "I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle between culture and my child." We get it. It can feel that way. It can feel like your kids and their friends—or the culture around them—have more influence than you do. Well, brothers, that ain't true. Don't believe it!
Kent Evans sat down with Jarred Morgan—author of the Field Guide Culture Wars. In this post, not only will you learn more about Jarred and his heart for dads, you'll get more of a feel for what's in his field guide.
Sit in on the conversation via zoom and be encouraged while learning more about how to combat culture. Let's jump in and learn more about Jarred, snag some key takeaways from his Field Guide and get additional resources to help you win the battle between culture and your child.
About the author > Jarred Morgan, M. A.
Jarred and his wife Jennifer have four daughters and live in Knoxville, TN. He serves as the Creative Arts and Communications Pastor at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church and previously served in student ministry for 18 years. Jarred received his Master of Arts from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an avid Vanderbilt fan and has recently made the switch from American football to real fütbol. Learn more about Jarred here and grab his Field Guide Culture Wars.
Watch Culture Wars sneak preview (1 min)
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Watch full interview with Jarred Morgan (23:59)
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4 key takeaways from the interview & book
If you watched the above video, you heard Jarred's passion for dads. His main goal in writing this book was to help you wrestle with how to raise your kids in today's culture. As Jarred points out, culture is loud. It's speaking into the lives of our kids every minute.
Us dads have to be louder than culture. Our influence has to be louder than everything else coming at our kids. In this midst of all that's happening, our calling is to love our children and show the gospel to our kids. But how?
#1 Accept your influence
Jarred points out in the video and writes more in detail in the book about how you as a dad must accept your influence. There’s one thing you’re not going to be able to change—the world. Believe it or not, you are the most influential voice in the life your child.
Read that last line again. Now, "stop giving excuses" says Jarred. Our kids have a lot coming at them. But none of it's more influential than your voice. Our voice is the one which must be most consistent—from when they're young until after they're out of the house. Seasons come and go, but the long-standing voice of influence in their life will be the one they’ve been hearing from the beginning. This is why it’s so important for you to continually speak the gospel into the lives of your children.
What you say to them now matters. What are you speaking into the lives of your children? Your influence is what you say, what you do and yes, even how you speak to your dog.
Fine. Maybe our conversations won't ALWAYS be gospel conversations—but we will have an impact. Your children need to know your influence in the culture around them. They don’t need a silent dad. They need a leader accepting he has a voice in this world that needs to be heard. It’s time for your voice to be louder than the voices fighting for their ears. This is why we created the Field Guides.
Question: You can't battle the culture your child is living in without examining your influence with them. How's that going? What’s one thing you need to work on?
#2 Defense wins ballgames
The 2000 Baltimore Ravens Defense had been named one of the greatest defenses of all time. During the 2000 season on their way to Super Bowl XXXV, their defense allowed a total of 165 points and 970 total rushing yards all season. Wrap your mind around that for a second. That’s an average of 10.3 points a game and 60.6 yards rushing a game. Both of these are NFL records. They won the Super Bowl with the first-ranked defense in the NFL and the 23rd ranked offense.
It’s a good thing to have a great defense. Parenting in this culture is the same way. Here are just a couple of areas Jarred covers in his book—to give you an idea of where to play defense. There's a ton more ideas in his book.
Set boundaries > Be proactive rather than reactive. Have conversations beforehand. Jarred explains at this point, you don’t have to be your child’s best friend.
The danger of social media > Social media platforms are digital playgrounds and Jarred encourages you to not let your children play alone.
Question: Do you see your child as someone to protect or someone to prepare? Have you set boundaries for your children? Take some time to jot these down somewhere and talk about them with your spouse and your children.
#3 Offense wins games too
The church and dads tend to be good at defense. "Don't do this or that!" But we don't play offense well. While the Baltimore Ravens had a great defense and won, I’ve also heard it said, “The best defense is a good offense.”
As parents, it’s not enough to only play defense. You also have to score on offense. If you think sheltering and filtering are the only answers to the culture war, you will lose. You win the battle by scoring. And how do you score, not by waiting on the defense, but by having a strong offense.
Jarred tells this illustration in full detail in his book, but in 1999 the St. Louis Rams averaged 33 points per game. They were known as the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Queue the The Greatest Showman music; but seriously, that’s astounding. You couldn’t stop them, and they took the show all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV beating the Tennessee Titans 23-16.
Consider your example > What is culture screaming at you? Raising your children in this world will not get easier; in fact, it will get more difficult. Your children need to see how you love God, how you love your wife and how you love others. Avoiding a subject doesn’t make the subject go away, it simply silences your voice.
Have gospel conversations at dinner. Know, dad, you are sending your kids into this world as missionaries. Talk to your kids about what they're learning at church. Be a filter. If the student pastor's voice is louder than yours—speak up even more!
Question: It's up to you to take action and help your children take action to prepare them for today's culture. What scares you about the world your child is growing up in? Make a list.
#4 Winning is half the battle
The teams we call dynasties understand the importance of defense AND offense. Imagine the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense coupled with the 1999 St. Louis Rams offense. That would be epic.
After you've learned to play offense and defense well, what's next? Really winning! Changing your mindset completely so you're focused on the right things at the right times. You're in the moment and tweaking—making adjustments as needed. But in this phase, you're beyond the basics. When Tom Brady's charging his offense down the field on that last 2-minute drive—he ain't thinkin' about the perfect spiral—his mind is on something completely different—his game is on auto-pilot.
In order to get to this level of fathering, we must understand we are a sending people—preparing our kids to be missionaries. Different mindset huh? Jarred points out several Scriptures to help us dads lead with purpose. Here are a couple he mentions, there's more in his book:
Deuteronomy 6 explains dads must constantly be speaking truth into the lives of their children. It’s a night and day thing not a “drop them off at church and let someone else do it” thing.
Ephesians 6 encourages us to put on the armor of God.
These are just two examples Jarred points out from Scripture to elevate our game to the next level. Watch the full interview above and you'll hear Jarred encourage you to not ignore the culture. Don't ignore what your kids are going through. Culture won't magically disappear. Your kids are listening to it. Know it so you can fight it. Listen to your child, let them talk. Hear what's happening at school. If you ignore the culture—you're ignoring your son or daughter.
Here’s the good news. You don’t fight alone. Your child doesn’t fight alone. We are in this together fighting for one another and fighting for our children. The culture has a lot to say, but so do we. We have a truth that has stood and will continue to stand for eternity. Do not be afraid to let your voice be heard in the ears of your children. Do not be afraid to guide your children. The culture has an influence, don’t let it silence yours.
Question: Who do you want your child to become? In what ways are you helping?
Thank you, Jarred, for your time in writing this Field Guide and for doing this interview. We're grateful for your time and heart for dads reaching their kids. Thank you for serving the church, for serving your family and for serving other dads with your Field Guide.
- Blog post: Accept your influence
- Blog post: 5 things the godly dad shows his family every day
- Culture Wars Field Guide
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. He is married to Tonia and they have three children. He has a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Fellow at The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Ryan serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan. Learn about Ryan here, follow @RyanSanders, grab 7 Deadly Sins of a Disengaged Dad or the Field Guides for dads.