Substance or Style ?

Watching the recent Presidential debate… I couldn’t help but notice how different our choices are for the future of our nation. One candidate seems to be strong on Substance, and the other on Style.

Substance… or Style ?For many of us caught up in our modern hyper visual pop culture, that’s not always an easy choice…It reminded me as a nation we seem to be at risk of being “seduced” by well rehearsed words and noble ideas vs. actions and results.


As a nation we have been conditioned by our media addiction to look for someone who entertains us more than challenges us. Reminds me also of the way we’ve been living in the modern Christian church and the american family.

I see dad’s in their forties running around the affluent suburbs of Nashville in the latest skinny jeans and  too tight for comfort“hipster” outfits, bulging and sagging in all the wrong ways and places. It appears they feel the need to stay as fashionable as they can in a delusion they are a decade and half younger than they really are.

YIKES! Not a pretty sight.

I have lots of friends in the music biz… middle age guys who are accomplished producers, writers and media executives. Some of these older cats are genuinely “hip” guys who live and breathe a modern vibe, but that’s because it’s who they are. Not something they are trying project, or fake… they are not posers, but legit.

My comments on middle age and fashion are not meant to perfectly illustrate the point or lump everyone who buys fashionable clothes into a negative category, but you know who I’m talking about. Ladies who steal their daughters clothes, live for botox and sport hair colors that border on radioactive, trying to maintain an air of youthful beauty that passed by them two President’s ago.

Toddlers & Tiara’s –

As parents it’s easy to be tempted to make our kids world our own. Of trying to blend in with them and their ways to win their approval, rather than challenging them to come on up into our adult world and earn our respect.

Our nation is faced with a similiar dilemma. We have chosen at times to support leaders whose on-air persona’s reassure us we are the hippest nation on earth. Our critera focusing on the outward looks and well crafted speaking skills that our media presents as “most qualified”, often overlooking the lack of real substance to their character or political ideals.

It’s harder to let our actions speak for us… we’ve been trained to focus on the externals. To worry more about our appearance than our private choices. We can become confused about what really matters, and exert ourselves to exhaustion on pleasing others, on making people like us or “want to be us”. Especially so when it comes to our teen and pre-teen kids.

What if we spent more time considering the values and beliefs we want our families to embrace than we do looking like we fit in? What about showing them what sacrificial love and keeping commitments and slowing down to have compassion on the less fortunate looks like in a real family setting?

What if we modeled the value of hard work, and taking personal responsibility for actions and living up to our word, even when it hurts ? I believe that kind of internal substantive stuff is exactly what our kids are going to need if they are even going to consider adopting our values for their own. Parents, lets be careful that what we say matches what we actually do. After all, our leadership role large or small… has great influence on those who follow.

Peace out 🙂



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