Sunny Side of The Stream: Super Bowl Champ Advises Grads to ‘Get Married and Start a Family’

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on May 13, 2023

At the time of this writing, I’m planning to go to my youngest sister’s graduation this evening. She’s worked hard, overcoming the stresses of a rigorous nursing program.

I remember seeing her in the kitchen several years ago nearer the start of her career, upset and wondering if she had what it would take to make it through the program. I think I told her that her degree program was a difficult one, but she could do it. I knew from my time in college that it’s helpful to be told that the feeling of being overwhelmed is not a sign that you should give up. It’s a normal feeling to have when adjusting to the new difficulties of college.

She has prevailed and done so with excellence. Our family and I are so proud of her.

I’m not sure what advice for life after college my sister and her classmates will hear from the stage this evening. It would be stunning if, at a public university, a speaker said that an antidote to a lonely, selfish life of career success is to “get married and start a family.” But that’s the advice two-time Catholic Super Bowl champion Harrison Butker gave at his alma mater Georgia Tech. When I heard the speech I initially assumed it was given at a private, conservative Catholic university. But no. Georgia Tech. I’m sure many in the audience weren’t expecting to hear that guidance.

Here’s a portion of his speech, via the Gateway Pundit (transcribed by AI):

I don’t care if you have a successful career. I don’t care if you have a big bank account or you fly private. Many of you in this crowd will achieve these things. Some of you maybe already have. But in the end, no matter how much money you attain, none of it will matter if you are alone and devoid of purpose.

It doesn’t matter which political persuasion you sit on or whether you are a person of deep faith or not. Anyone with eyes can see that something is off. Studies have shown one of the many negative effects of the pandemic is that a lot of young adults feel a sense of loneliness, anxiety and depression, despite technology that has connected us more than ever before. It would seem the more connected people are to one another, the more they feel alone. I’m not sure the root of this, but at least I can offer one controversial antidote that I believe will have a lasting impact for generations to come, get married and start a family.

I will say this is the most important ring I have right here. Having kicked the game winning field goal in both the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl, I have received a great deal of praise for these successes. They just announced that this Super Bowl was the most watched football game of all time. And yet, all of this happiness is temporary. And the truth is, none of these accomplishments mean anything compared to the happiness I have found in my marriage and in starting a family.

My confidence as a husband and father and yes, even as a football player, is rooted in my marriage with my wife. As we leave our mark on future generations by the children we bring into the world, how much greater of a legacy can anyone leave than that? Sadly, we are encouraged to live our lives for ourselves, to move from one thing to another with no long term commitment, to have loyalty for nothing but ourselves and sacrifice only when it suits our own interests. This loneliness is rooted in the lies being sold about self dependence and prioritizing our career over important relationships.

Of course we know that unmarried people can live connected lives of service to others. Jesus did. He invested in 12 men for three years, and those men carried his message, which has now reached around the world and will one day reach every ethnic people group. But Jesus preached about a wedding supper to come. God will live in unity with people in that day in a more profound way than we’ve ever experienced. The Bible uses the metaphor of earthly marriage to describe the unity, connection and fruitful partnership God’s special people will have with God when Jesus comes back and makes all things right.

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The unity, connection and fruitful partnership of marriage is a good thing. It’s good for society. It demands selflessness in order to work well. And it’s designed to lead to children! Being a loving parent requires so much selflessness. God also chose to reflect His own nature in the image of a loving father.

God knew what he was doing when he made marriage a building block of society. It’s an image of his plan for His relationship with people who have given themselves to Him wholeheartedly. And it’s a lot better for society than the selfish loneliness our increasingly individualistic, consumeristic, anti-family, anti-God society breeds. Like the adjustment of starting a new degree program, I’m sure starting a family is hard and will change a person and his or her habits. Harrison Butker advises us that it’s a good and worthy pursuit.

 

Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow Aliya on Twitter @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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