In the TV sitcom “Parks and Rec” one of the main characters, Leslie Knope, has a crush on Joe Biden. When his name is mentioned she swoons. I assume this little bit of humor is thrown into the show because the number of people with a crush on the Vice President is probably pretty low. For the record, I am not in the “Joe Biden Man Crush Club”. However, when he spoke at Syracuse University last week, he made some statements that really resonated with me.
The Vice President’s speech was directed at the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses. Working with college students, I know this is a very real issue at most universities. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
In a society, where everything around us is disposable, sexuality is treated with the same care as your coffee cup from Starbucks. You get your quick fix, throw the cup in the trash and move on. I applaud the Vice President for addressing this topic.
In particular, there were two quotes from his speech that I found especially meaningful…
“The real definition of manhood is having the courage to do the right thing”. I have no idea if the guys in the crowd were listening to that statement but I sure hope they were. In our society, young men have fewer and fewer examples of what it looks like to be an authentic man. Dads are becoming increasingly absent. Guys need to know that true masculinity isn’t defined by instant gratification. Manhood is living by principles even when it is difficult. More of us men should be speaking out to the next generation and stepping up as role models for them to follow.
The second phrase that really stood out to me was “What we need most is a fundamental change in our culture and the quickest place to change culture is the college campuses in America.” I couldn’t agree more with that statement! His observation is one of the main reasons Laura and I have spent the last 14 years working with college students. Well, that and college students are a ton of fun!
College students are the future leaders of our country and our world. If you want to invest your time in a place that has potential to impact thousands of people, you don’t need to look any further than the college campus.
My observation after spending many years in that environment is true change can’t happen by a list of rules. In the end, people can follow the rules and be exactly the same inside. True transformation of individuals and a culture needs to come from the inside out.
I have seen drastic change in the lives of many students over the years. This metamorphosis didn’t happen because of me. In the end, the greatest transformation comes when people see themselves accurately and experience God deeply.
I want that to be true in my life and I want to bring that message of hope to others. My goal is to play a little part in “changing the culture” for the good.