|See the movie trailer and the theme song video at the bottom of this blog.|
One of the big problems of very recent years is that a father's crucial involvement in his family has been diminished. I will grant you that in times gone by it appears that father's were granted powers, by society, that were beyond their ability to manage well. Now, however; we find ourselves in a time where fatherhood is nearly meaningless to much of our population. For one thing many fathers don't stick around or have any, much less meaningful, contact with their children. Then there are the father's that do remain in contact but who play the part of Santa Claus multiple times in the year rather than a father. Another variety are father's who do remain in the home, but either do little to nothing to influence the lives of their children, or are so controlling or out of control that their influence is harmful to the family.
In the midst of this comes a fantastic movie that shows men in different poor varieties of fatherhood who become motivated and then make a pact to be better fathers. In the movie they are primarily policeman and they see much of the worst of society, seeing much that is majorly influenced by poor fatherhood. One is a father of a child he has never seen. One is trying hard to do what is right, but due to not having had a father figure in his own life, he is just competing with his absent dad to be better than him. Another has little to do with his children except to make decisions when needed. And then there is the divorced father who has token contact but feels little connection. Finally there is the father that has been struggling with keeping a job, and is desperate to work to support them. These fathers make a resolution to be better father's with very specific hopes in mind.
There is unadulterated religion in this movie. There is lots of prayer, there is a church scene, and there is mention of going to church regularly. There is some testimonies of Christ and some proselytizing.
My wife commented that she was shocked that we could see a movie like this in a public theater. Keeping in mind that the movie has been out about four weeks (which I considered a positive that it stayed in the theater that long) by the time we had seen it. We had seen a preview of this movie when we saw Soul Surfer and this was at the top of our list of movies we wanted to see. Due to a variety of things that have been going on in our lives over the last month we did not get to see it until now.
There is family dysfunction and even a gang trying to be a family in this movie showing one way that those without families try to create something to take its place. The men in the movie are not all great father's and even with the resolution they all don't succeed. They struggle and try and not all are successful. The men even look like normal guys--not Hollywood types. They aren't "pretty", some are overweight and the movie makes it clear that we are talking about real families not fantasy families.
There is a good mix of skin colors with the associated strengths and weaknesses that are often present with each one. The movie shows though that the way to be a good father is common among them all.
This was a great movie, that really has some potential to motivate a hard group in our society to improve. Men often avoid talking, sometimes thinking, or feeling important things about their families. Our society has convinced many that they need not, cannot or should not spend time evaluating or examining themselves in this area of their life. Many men have been mistreated or not mentored by their fathers and have no blueprint for what a real man should be--making them more easily influenced by societal messages of what a man should be. This movie brings some of those feelings to the surface during the show and hopefully men will find a way to let those feelings push them to be better fathers.
It is not just that our children and wives need this. Not even that the men themselves need this and may not know it. But ultimately our society and world need this. I applaud those that made the movie and put it out there where it needs to be, competing with all the inept, incompetent and poor representations of fatherhood that prevail in the world. This should make you feel something. It should bring thoughts of your father to you. It should make you think about the father you have been. It should make you think seriously about the father you want and need to be. In this case, you may see more clearly with a few tears in your eyes.
Now for my sons-in-law: I know you don't have any children yet--all the better to get started and be prepared, watch this movie, and pay close attention to what it teaches. There WILL be a test. Sincerely -- Dad
P.S. There were two scenes that especially touched me as a father of four daughters.
Here is the trailer for the movie:
Below is the video of the theme song "Courageous" by Casting Crowns mixed with scenes from the movie.