Do You Need a Declaration of Interdependence?

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What would happen if we men swapped our fiercely independent paradigm for a mindset of aggressive interdependence? Would it make us better or worse? Happier or sadder? Weaker or stronger?

We are a nation of fierce independence, and that can be a good thing. Our security as a country rests on our ability to keep us free from external harm. Having made my way through customs more times than I care to recall, I’m glad we do our best to keep trouble outside our borders.

However, when a man views independence as his most valued personal trait, trouble looms. We esteem the self-made man (as if!) and deify the guy who needed no one but himself to “make it” in this world. Many of us men have become the relational equivalent of North Korea – isolated, impoverished and irrational.

If you are a man, consider whether this is true about you. If there were a spectrum with “independent” at one end and “interdependent” at the other, where would you fall? A few questions might help you drop yourself on the right spot:

  • Are you regularly rubbing elbows with men who are more gifted than you are, or do you insist on always being the smartest guy in the room?
  • How often do you share your challenges with another godly man to gain perspective, encouragement, and input?
  • When was the last time you noticed the proficiency of another man and then sought him out to learn the tricks of his trade?

I wonder what would happen if we men swapped our fiercely independent paradigm for a mindset of aggressive interdependence? Would it make us better or worse? Happier or sadder? Weaker or stronger?

I say better, happier, and stronger. I can think of at least five ways we improve when we become more interdependent:

  1. We avoid pitfalls. No sense skinning our knees on the same stretch of asphalt some other guy tumbled down. Let’s avoid trouble by proxy.
  2. We see our blind spots. Is there an area of your life that needs attention but you’re unaware of it? No, wait. If you’re unaware of it, then how…?
  3. We increase our skill. I became a solid chess player in college by playing a guy who was 10 times better than me. Iron sharpens iron.
  4. We gain more influence. A key to being influential is the willingness to be influenced. By humbly engaging, our own influence grows.
  5. We make our wives happy. Face it – she wants you to grow and you’d rather have a guy kick you in the shins instead of her having to do it (again).

Even the Lone Ranger knew he needed Tonto. As men, I think we need to let our guard down and put our antenna up. Let’s lock arms and do this thing called life together.

Maybe it’s time for you to get with some other dads and launch a father-and-son Bible study? Manhood Journey has tools and resources for dads that can help you along the way.

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