So here's something that will probably be a shocker: I get labeled as a "hipster". I know... it's mind-blowing, right?! And what I find so interesting is the intersection of things that are typically associated with this subset of society and what it means to be a good dad. Hipsters are often seen (incorrectly so, mind you) as vapid, aloof, and image-conscious... whereas fatherhood is transcendent, focused, and selfless. And even on my own Instagram account the photos seemingly dance a line between these worlds. But here's the reality that I know, and with which I'll encourage any other new parent out there: none of us are actually cool, and there is nothing cooler than being whatever your tiny human needs, and that also applies to every other person we meet.
There once was a time where if you took a look at my most played songs in iTunes, you'd see a litany of great bands. Now don't get me wrong, I still love great music and listen to it regularly. But the top album that is played on the reg' these days is Disney's Moana Soundtrack. And even worse: if I'm being honest, I'll conceded that the song "How Far I'll Go" is hot fire, and it may have drawn tears out of my eyes a few times. Need a deeper confession? Okay fine... any time this track comes on while Margot is riding in that back seat, I immediately jump to a falsetto karaoke voice, incorporating dance moves and dramatic facial expressions, and the people next to me at the stoplight are left gawking and asking, "What in the world is that dude in the wide-brimmed fedora doing dancing in his car to Disney ballads?!" Well I have an answer for them: I'm doing literally whatever it takes to make Margot crack a smile. Because her joy gives me joy.
Here's the part where I share the nugget of truth inside that parenting snapshot:
The reward of humility and surrender is joy.
See, the moments when I'm willing to set aside "my agenda" (i.e. not listening to that hot new Childish Gambino track and instead spinning Moana yet again,) are the moments when I see my daughter light up. And I'd say this applies to almost every interaction and circumstance we experience in our lives. Here's why: when we surrender our will and our "rights" for the sake of someone else, we're telling that person that they matter. And we all want to know that we matter! And when we surrender our will for the sake of someone else, we are also reminding ourselves that the "thing" we're giving up has no power over us, and that people are more important than the things we otherwise allow to define us. Perhaps you're saying, "But Micah, I get it when you're talking about your daughter... but what about other grown adults? I'm not gonna surrender my will for my difficult neighbor or coworker, because they're selfish and have their own agenda and I refuse to be used or walked all over!" To that, here is my reply: I feel ya. It can be tough when you wonder (or sometimes outright KNOW) that someone might be trying to take advantage of you. But I'm not going to allow someone else's selfishness to hijack my generosity. If I choose to be generous and set aside my will, I will do it with wisdom and discretion, but I will also do it with abundant consistency.
I know, I know... we just went down the rabbit hole. But that's what happens when you pair an existential hipster with a hot fire Disney ballad! I'll shut up now. Today we all have a choice - we can choose ourselves and our agenda. Or we can choose one-another. I propose we employ the lesson that Margot keeps re-teaching me, and we choose one-another. Because the reward of humility and surrender is joy.