On February 12, 2023, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicked the game-winning 27-yard field goal at Super Bowl LVII, putting the Chiefs up 38-35 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But Butker doesn’t only dole out game-winning field goals. He also gives advice to young people about how they can win at life.
Butker – a devout Catholic man – recently gave the commencement address for the Georgia Institute of Technology’s class of 2023. The 27-year-old Georgia native graduated from Georgia Tech back in 2016, before beginning his professional football career with the Carolina Panthers on May 5, 2017. Butker was signed by the Chiefs just a few months later.
Speaking to this year’s graduating class, Butker gave some unexpected – and perhaps controversial to some – advice.
I don’t care if you have a successful career. I don’t care if you have a big bank account or fly private. Many of you in this crowd may achieve these things. … But in the end – no matter how much money you attain – none of it will matter if you are alone and devoid of purpose.
“All of you are here today because you are smart, capable and hardworking people. But if we’re being honest, the world is filled with miserable, smart, capable and hardworking people,” Butker added (emphasis added).
He continued, commenting on the large rise in loneliness, anxiety and depression that many have experienced since the COVID-19 pandemic. Butker than said:
I can offer one controversial antidote that I believe will have a lasting impact for generations to come. Get married and start a family (emphasis added).
Butker listed all the accolades he has received since starting his pro football career. But then he remarked, “None of these accomplishments mean anything compared to the happiness I have found in my marriage and in starting a family.”
You can watch more of his speech here:
Two-time Catholic Super Bowl Champ @buttkicker7 STUNS graduates with most important, unexpected advice:
"In the end— no matter how much money you attain— none of it will matter if you are alone and devoid of purpose… I can offer one controversial antidote that I believe will… pic.twitter.com/NiNNKfWal9
— Danny De Urbina (@dannydeurbina) May 6, 2023
Butker’s advice is undoubtedly solid. The modern world preaches materialism, individualism, naturalism and independence; but that philosophical concoction is toxic. Modern man is deeply unhappy.
Happiness does not derive from money, power and fame. It comes from faith, family and friendships.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22, ESV).
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them (Psalm 127:3-5, ESV).
And yet, Butker’s advice to “get married and start a family,” though wise, can be easier said than done.
It’s no secret that today’s younger generations – millennials and Gen Z – are delaying marriage and family formation.
According to one estimate from the journal Demography, only 60% of whites and 26% of blacks born in 1997 will be marriage by age 40. While 81% of those in the Silent Generation were married by age 38, the same is true for just 44% of millennials.
Additionally, millennials and Gen Zers aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. The current U.S. fertility rate is 1.64 – well below the 2.1 needed for each generation to replace itself. And the fertility rate is likely to continue to fall in the years to come.
In 2021, the Pew Research Center found that a growing number of U.S. adults expect to never have children.
Pew found that “some 44% of non-parents ages 18 to 49 say it is not too or not at all likely that they will have children someday.”
Pew found that far and away, the main reason the non-parent U.S. adults gave for not having children is that “they just don’t want to” (56%).
The other 43% of adults who cited a different reason for not having children include:
- Medical reasons (19%)
- Financial reasons (17%)
- Not having a partner (15%)
- Their age or the age of their partner (10%)
- The state of the world (9%)
- Environmental reasons (5%)
- Partner doesn’t want children (2%)
No matter the reason, marriage and family formation are as old as time itself. It doesn’t bode well for the future that millions of U.S. adults are simply choosing not to have children.
Additionally, for the 17% of non-parent adults who cite financial reasons as a barrier to family formation, our nation should seriously consider policy proposals that aim to help young people overcome financial hurdles to get married and start a family.
In any case, young people should take Butker’s advice to heart. And that’s because the advice did not originate with Harrison Butker. It originated with our Creator at the very beginning of time.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28, ESV).
Related articles and resources:
Never Stop Looking Up in Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)
Super Bowl-Winning Kansas City Chief’s Kicker: ‘Defend the Unborn and Protect the Sanctity of Life’
Photo from Twitter.