What “Dad Jokes” and Humility in Foster Care Have in Common

My middle school daughter asked me at breakfast, “Why didn’t the skeleton go to prom?”

“Mmm . . . don’t know.”

“He had noBODY to go with”

She continued, “What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?”

“uhh . . . don’t know.”

“Frostbite”

She then asked if I knew where she got these jokes. I didn’t.

“From the bus driver!”

“Is he a dad?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

That explains it.

I don’t know if there is a clear definition of a “dad joke”, but we all recognize it when we see it.  “Dad jokes” are easy to spot.  By the way, my personal all-time favorite is, “What is brown and sticky?”

(wait for it . . .)

“A stick.”

Hilarious, right?

Humility is another one of those things that is a little hard to define, but we recognize it when we encounter it.  Not only do we recognize it, but we are drawn to it and to those who demonstrate it. So what does humility look like in foster care? Here are a few examples:

  • It is the foster parent, though frustrated with their worker’s sporadic communication, chooses to pray rather than complain, encourage rather than criticize and provide practical help whenever possible.
  • It is the passionate church member who constantly feels like his or her pastor just doesn’t “get it” when it comes to caring for kids who need families. The humble foster care advocate doesn’t talk to others about the pastor’s deficient theology or lack of compassion. Instead, they take the opportunities they are given at the church (as limited as they might be) and they fully and faithfully engage in them. They also recognize that the pastor spends much of EVERY week trying to figure out how to explain biblical truths (every bit as important to God as orphan care) in a way that will help us “get it” even though sometimes we don’t.
  • It is the foster care organization or agency staff member who realizes their job is not to convince the church to help them achieve their own annual goals for recruitment and placement. The humble organization representative instead recognizes that their job is to help the church (and the pastor) achieve its eternal goal of loving and serving each person in the community fully (which, of course, includes kids and families in foster care).

Not only do we recognize humility when we encounter it, it’s also extremely clear when humility is missing. A lack of humility has prevented many a foster care effort from reaching its intended goal of helping kids and families. Let’s put that another way. When we don’t demonstrate humility in foster care, we become the roadblock to kids and families getting the help they need from those who otherwise might have responded to our advocacy.  But when we do show ourselves to be humble, people are drawn to it . . . and to the kids we speak up for.

This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care.  To sign up, go to http://bit.ly/1rwn6eO.