Well, it's that traditional time of the year again when the president goes on vacation and the conservative world ridicules him for taking time off with his family because of the disarray of our country or the enormousness of expenditures in his doing so. But is there really nothing redeemable or commendable in a father and husband's spending extended time with his family away from home and office, even when it's the Oval Office?
Don't misunderstand me. I have very little in common with our current president, and I think it's ludicrous how much is spent for the first family to go on a single week's vacation. There must be an easier and better way -- if not many of them. But all of that doesn't discount the incredible value of a father and husband's pulling away from the rat race -- especially in Washington -- for a breather and some family time.
When we conservatives are decrying deadbeat dads and our culture's demise because of absentee fathers, maybe it's time we commend even our most ardent opponent when he gets it right with his kids. When people all around us are stressed out and suffering burnout from over-commitment and overtime on the job, maybe it's time we commend those who fight to balance their personal lives and win a single battle over the tyranny of the urgent. When even Sunday mornings have been dominated by children's sports -- squelching American religious commitments and church attendance -- maybe it's time to renew our value in a Sabbath rest.
One of my favorite chapters in my New York Times best-seller and cultural manifesto Black Belt Patriotism is the chapter titled "Honor and Care for the Family." In it, I not only vindicate many of America's Founding Fathers' views on marriage and family -- without condoning their wrongdoing -- but also discuss what I believe we can do to restore and strengthen the traditional family unit today.
Our founders were not faultless politicians, patriots, fathers or husbands. How often is it echoed that they had mistresses or infidelity misgivings rather than pointed out that they had commitments to preserve the role of family in America, including their own? (But if I can find value in our president's private time with his family, the least that my liberal friends can do is rediscover the value that our founders had in their families, too.)
The fact is that most of America's founders were passionately concerned with honoring the role of the traditional family in our culture. Though they weathered their own particular familial storms, the founders treasured marriage and family as institutions created by God that were indelible contributors to common decency and community civility.