In last night’s episode of HBO’s Girls, Hannah’s father came out of the closet.
Blah, blah, blah, right? At least until the end of the episode when Hannah confronts her father and says, gay or straight, she doesn’t want to know about his sex life.
Wait a minute? Is there something slightly traditionalist about Ms. Dunham after all?
No kid in her right mind wants to consider that her parents have sex. Yet for Ms. Dunham, who grew up around a considerable amount of father-generated sexual art, scripting a character who makes such a pedestrian proclamation is actually out of the ordinary.
Where is the line drawn in the progressive mind when it comes to loved ones and their sexual exploits? Could it be that the Queen of Sharing doesn’t want to share so much after all? Or is it more like others aren’t allowed to share as much as she does?
— Jason (@Vision365) February 14, 2015
Last week social media jumped on the story of a woman who supposedly decided to have a late-term abortion specifically because she found out she was having a boy. Based on a near-anonymous comment posted on an Internet forum, the story is highly questionable at best. Nevertheless, both pro- and anti-abortion advocates pounced on the missive. The dialogue generated took on a life of its own, inspiring the following comment from feminist site Jezebel:
“The virality of this story is sort of a nice reminder about confirmation bias: when something fits our preferred narrative just a little too snugly, it’s probably time for skepticism,” wrote Jezebel’s Anna Merlan.
How, exactly, does gendercide “fit our narrative” in the West, especially in relation to boys?
The only thing more complicated than a relationship is parenthood. Samuel Forrest may know that better than most of us. What he didn’t know was that his newly adopted country of Armenia has commitment issues, and suffers from a Messiah complex.
Samuel and his new bride Ruzan entered the hospital together with the usual high expectations that accompany the birth of a new baby. They exited separately, heading for a divorce court to end their 18 month marriage, their personal agony going viral and the dark secret of Armenia held up to world-wide scrutiny.
One can only imagine that for Samuel this baby with a new wife held the promise of restoring everything he left behind in New Zealand: his home, the four children — one with Down Syndrome — and the church he grew up in. Excommunication by the Exclusive Brethren church for divorcing his first wife also carried the punishment of being shunned by his extended family. With nothing left for him in New Zealand he moved to Armenia.
Fast-forward to the moment all expectant parents live for, labor day. Apparently, their son’s birth required the couple’s separation and Ruzan was not fully conscious for the birth of Leo. She describes her first moments as awaking to “alarmed” faces around her:
My first question was about the whereabouts of my child. I remember the sad faces of my relatives and the doctors and the diagnosis that sounded like a verdict: “Your child was born with a Down Syndrome.” One can never imagine my feelings at that moment.
Hardly had I recovered from the first shock, when the doctor approached me and told me to voice my decision whether I was going to keep Leo or not. I had to make the most ruthless decision in my life within several hours. (DailyMail.com)
The evasive looks from doctors, the tear-stained faces of family, the calls of condolences — all weighed heavy on the new mother. Not only did she make the “ruthless” decision within several hours to not keep her baby and to send him to an orphanage, she also decided it without her husband.
Samuel didn’t play by the rules; instead, he cradled his son in his arms and fell in love. Then his wife informed him that she would divorce him if he kept the baby. Ruzan made good on her promise.
Alone, and needing to get his newborn son out of Armenia, Samuel started the GoFundMe campaign to “Bring Leo Home.” It has made ripples across oceans and cyberspace, garnering $497,645 in only 15 days.
On the surface, it looks like there are just two sides to this story.
But there is more at play here…
Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two wannabe-famous New York twenty somethings, teamed up to talk sex via their “running soap opera,” “almost reality TV show” podcast Guys We F*cked. Broadcasting under the “anti-slut shaming” banner makes Guys We F*cked appealing to the contemporary feminists at Salon who never turn down the chance to normalize twisted sexuality. Salon assistant editor Jenny Kutner sat down with the comedy duo more commonly known as “Sorry About Last Night” who, as they enter season 2 of their famed podcast, are looking to crowdsource funds from fans while noting that their careers are “…getting better because of the podcast, which is really exciting.”
Performing an editorial feat, Kutner defines the duo’s narcissism as “comedy with a purpose” in her attempt to define the two as feminists. In doing so, the assistant editor at Salon exposes exactly why contemporary feminism is failing 21st century women: Today’s feminists have worked to sever feminism from its historical roots as a biblically-grounded movement for women’s independence. What they’re replacing it with, a “social media feminism” as artist and feminist April Bey has dubbed it, is a mere mask for narcissistic, death-obsessed, goddess worship.
In “Yes, Katy Perry, Babies Need Daddies,” D.C. McAllister wrote about Katy Perry’s declaration to Rolling Stone that this is 2014 and she doesn’t need a man to have a baby. But McAllister just touches the tip of the iceberg on both Perry and children’s need for fathers.
Perry is being more callous to her future child than the typical woman who realizes that she wants a baby, doesn’t happen to have a partner, and, therefore, for her convenience decides that she doesn’t need a man to have a baby. Perry left her marriage to Russell Brand a few short years ago because he was ready to have a baby and she wasn’t. From a piece I did in 2012 on pop rock and the hookup culture:
In her movie Part of Me, Katy Perry addresses her divorce, essentially stating the Love Myth. “I thought to myself, ‘When I find that person that’s going to be my life partner, I won’t ever have to choose [between my partner and my career].”
Before anyone thinks that this is just the silly and self-centered musings of a Hollywood starlet, this notion of easy love that never requires compromise passes for thoughtful feminist discourse these days.
Perry saw her husband’s desire to start a family as trying to force her to slow down her career when she didn’t want to. To be perfectly blunt, she chose her career over her marriage and her future child’s ability to have a father. She doesn’t have the typical excuse that she was unlucky in love and is now hearing the ticks of her biological clock pound in her ears.
As a Gen-X/millennial crossover, I was fortunate enough to first meet Robin Williams as Mork from Ork on the sitcom Mork and Mindy. A comedic powerhouse, Mork’s colorful wardrobe and loud laugh were the first things I imitated as a child. As I grew up, I would look back and realize the many character lessons I learned at home were reinforced by a supremely acted alien outsider with a predilection for sitting on his head. In virtually every role he played, Robin Williams taught his audience a life lesson. As a young kid there was no one more fun to hang around with and learn from on TV than Mork from Ork.
10. Old people rule.
Mork marvels at the way the elderly are ignored and maligned on earth. On Ork, old folks are revered as the wise, experienced ones to learn from. “The Elder” is called on to remind Mork of his Orkishness. His was an early lesson in the importance of respect and reverence for the elders in your life and how very important all people are, no matter and, perhaps, especially because of their age.
10. If guys didn’t look like heroin-addicted street dwellers…
Before committing suicide, musician Kurt Cobain copyrighted the grunge look that came to define Gen-X/millennial crossovers in the ’90s. A reaction to the preppie style made famous by ’80s yuppies, grunge involved a level of disheveled that transcended even the dirtiest of ’60s hippie looks. Grunge trademarks included wrinkled, untucked clothing complemented by greasy, knotted hair and an expression best defined as heroin chic. The style depicted an “I don’t care” attitude that took punk’s anti-authoritarian attitude to a darker, more disengaged level. Grunge became the look of resigned defeat among American males.
A character in my novel Man And Wife points out that it’s difficult to talk about manhood because an essential part of manhood is not talking about it. But that didn’t stop me from joining a panel with my friends at BOND during their annual Father’s Day Conference on Fatherhood and Men. With the fearless and humorous preacher Jesse Lee Peterson leading the discussion, the 45-minutes or so absolutely zipped by. Here it is for your delectation and delight:
By the way, if you click on the Jesse Lee Peterson link, you’ll find my City Journal profile of him, the anti-Jesse Jackson. If you click on Man And Wife, you’ll have something absolutely great to read for the weekend! Is this blog a resource or what?
Common law, case law, moves slowly. It basically crowd-sources notions of fairness and justice over time and turns them into rules. Normally this works well. But when the assumptions that informed the common law were faulty, then precedent drags positive change.
We can see this happening in child custody arrangements. The precedents set in the 1970s when the divorce rate rose were informed by Freudian attachment-theory studies in the post-war era on orphans, as they were the most commonly found victims of fractured families. As attachment theory developed, psychologists started studying mothers and young children. It seemed a logical first layer of detail to examine given the expectations that women took care of the children while men worked outside the home.
When the divorce rate rose in the ’70s and courts had to start declaring custody arrangements, the experts recommended primary mother care because they didn’t have data for anything else. From a 1992 “Origins of Attachment Theory” paper in Developmental Psychology:
Although we have made progress in examining mother-child attachment, much work needs to be done with respect to studying attachment in the microsystem of family relationships (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Despite studies by Belsky, Gilstrap, and Rovine (1984), Lamb (1978), and Parke and Tinsley (1987) that show fathers to be competent, if sometimes less than fully participant attachment figures, we still have much to learn regarding father attachment.
Formal studies of children in broken homes didn’t really start until the ’80s when there were children of divorce to study and a fierce need for relevant data. And the father and child arrangements that the data recommend look little like the modern arrangements formed under the inertia of legal precedent.
I’m never one to tell anyone to divorce their spouse. I’m a big fan of marriage. With that being said: I really hope Boomer Esiason’s wife takes a long, hard look at the man she’s married to.
The controversy started when Mets second basement Daniel Murphy asked for a mere three days paternity leave to join his wife who recently gave birth to their son in Florida. The three days is written into his collective bargaining contract, and while it is technically allowed, apparently few fathers in major league sports take advantage of any paternity leave. On a morning radio show today Boomer Esiason, explained to his morning show cohost Craig Carton, how he would’ve handled the situation:
“Bottom line, that’s not me. I wouldn’t do that. Quite frankly, I would have said ‘C-section before the season starts. I need to be at Opening Day. I’m sorry, this is what makes our money, this is how we’re going to live our life, this is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life.’”
In short, Esiason would have told his wife to undergo major and medically unnecessary abdominal surgery in order to avoid three days of missed work. The surgery would make her recovery exponentially more difficult and painful and would complicate future pregnancies. Esiason isn’t a doctor or soldier, he’s a retired NFL quarterback who is under the unfortunate impression that what he does matters enough to put his wife through a painful and unnecessary medical ordeal in order to save himself the flack now hitting Murphy.
Unfortunately for Murphy’s wife, the c-section was necessary, and Murphy flew down to spend time with his wife and newborn son for several days while she recovered. To his credit, he pushed back against criticism, as did his manager Terry Collins.
While Mike Francesa, another radio host, used the situation as an opportunity to rail against paternity leave — declaring it obsolete and unnecessary — we should be cheering paternity-leave policies like that of the MLB and question why it’s only three days long. While discussing the controversy Murphy explained why taking the paternity leave was important to his family,
“We had a really cool occasion yesterday morning, about 3 o’clock. We had our first panic session,” Murphy said. “It was dark. She tried to change a diaper — couldn’t do it. I came in. It was just the three of us at 3 o’clock in the morning, all freaking out. He was the only one screaming. I wanted to. I wanted to scream and cry, but I don’t think that’s publicly acceptable, so I let him do it.”
We always hear from conservatives how important it is for fathers to be in the picture. It’s time for the men of the conservative movement who overwhelm Twitter with their sports talk during every big game to put their money where their mouths are and come to Murphy’s defense. Murphy took advantage of paternal leave that is written into his contract for a reason; he used the time to signal to his wife and child that they are his number one priority, despite his high-powered career. That declaration should be met with praise, not mocking or scorn.
Photo credit: AP/Evan Vucci
Fatherhood has been undergoing a dramatic redefinition in recent years, amply covered by journalists, scientists, and sitcoms. That’s why the Tweet I saw today (“Do fathers make good writers? Do writers make good fathers?“) was clickbait I eagerly lapped up.
The article I wound up reading, “The Pram in the Hall,” revealed more about its author, Shane Jones, than it did about writing or parenthood. Jones is admittedly image-obsessed, and that’s evident when he spends most of this article talking not about the unique challenges parenthood poses to writing, but about the challenges it poses to his carefully cultivated personal and professional image.
He writes, “In our culture, fatherhood means baggy khakis and cars with side-impact airbags—it’s something of a joke.”
I don’t see how that’s something of a joke — I just see a comfortable man in a safe car. And people in the book world aren’t known for their glamorous good looks and fashion sense, either, so I’m not sure how any of that is a threat to his career. Have you been to a publishing trade show lately? Clint and Stacey would have a heart attack.
In light of pop star Justin Bieber’s unfolding meltdown, Miley Cyrus’s father is desperately trying to milk his 15 minutes out of the whole situation. Bieber’s exploits are tabloid and bandwidth fodder (why else would I be writing about him?), and Cyrus wants a piece of the pie, which led to this hilarious quote:
“A lot of people do ask me for parenting advice,” Billy told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson, at the Grammys when she asked what advice he would give the troubled teen star.
I won’t even bother sharing with you what the advice was. Would anyone want their child to turn out like Miley? Sure, she’s famous and wealthy, but she also suggestively licks metal while half naked and put the word “twerk” into the phrase of 2013.
While writing about the epidemic of vaccine refusers and the link between this horrible parenting decision and ex-Playboy Bunny Jenny McCarthy I came across this incredibly depressing statistic: 24 percent of American parents trust celebrities for parenting advice.
So there you have it. The beginning of the end of Western Civilization. When we all start dying of whooping cough or venereal diseases caught while sitting half naked on wrecking balls, we can all look back at this moment and know why.
The Wendy Davis coverage grows tired already. She is just another example of the feminist myth, a woman other women want to follow but who is becoming politically radioactive for not conforming to the narrative — in this instance, that women can do it all on their own. As usual, marriage and an extra income prove their worth to ambition.
The American electorate forgives many things, but not lies. Declaring your back story off limits works a bit like taking the Fifth in court. Everyone assumes you have something to hide. Add on her campaign’s secondary offense of insensitivity to disabled persons—Greg Abbot cannot walk a mile in her shoes as he is a paraplegic—and while Wendy Davis runs might continue for years depending on how hard her defenders and the press try to camouflage her back story manipulations, she is not a reasonably viable political candidate for elected high office anymore. (Think John Edwards or John Kerry.)
But something about the Wendy Davis coverage has caught my interest. The Austin-American Statesman published a how-I-got-scooped-by-the-Dallas-Morning-News article. I noticed a few commenters asked about Jeff Davis, her second and ex-husband.
Perhaps I’m spending too much time reading blogs and articles about child-men who refuse to partner with their wives or girlfriends or take on the duties of fatherhood, but Jeff Davis sounds like the kind of man modern women want. He prioritized her career needs, first by putting her through law school and then by taking custody of their daughter after the divorce so that she could realize her professional ambitions. He seems like a step-up-and-take-responsibility kind of guy. Women lament a dearth of these kinds of guys, either as partners for women or role models for boys.
It seems I’m not the only one wondering about Jeff Davis. From Ann Coulter’s column yesterday, The Heroism of Wendy Davis:
Hey — maybe Jeff Davis should run for governor! He’s the one who raised two kids, including a stepdaughter, while holding down a job and paying for his wife’s law school. There’s a hard-luck story!
As one of my girlfriends asked, “Is he still single?”
We need to hear Jeff Davis’s story.
image courtesy shutterstock / Tomas Urbelionis
Kayne West presented another easy target for widespread mockery. A source told HollywoodLife.com that the eccentric rapper contemplated leaving the United States to escape racism. At least, that’s the paraphrase which made it to social media. “Kayne West Threatens to Leave U.S. Over Racism” reads the Issue Hawk headline.
That may be a bum rap, however. What West actually said expresses, however crudely, the only legitimate solution to racism. The quote from HollywoodLife.com:
Kanye’s brush with racist slurs made him realize it’s not the environment he ever wants his daughter to experience. ”He also said ‘sh*t like this makes me want to take Kim, Nori, and her whole family and move out of this country and go someplace small and quiet,’” the source explained.
Kanye reasoned, “‘We’ve got enough money to buy our own island or some sh*t. I’ll be damned if I raise my daughter around ignorance and flat-out blatant racism.’”
While critics focus on a perceived slight against America, they miss that West was not comparing the United States to another country. He expressed a desire to use his private means to isolate his family in an act of free association.
Giving him the maximum benefit of the doubt, West’s comment proves refreshing. Rather than place responsibility upon someone else to protect his daughter from racism, he contemplates a private solution of his own making.
Indeed, free association emerges as the only legitimate weapon against racism. Choosing your relationships, whom you deal with and whom you don’t, communicates your values and censures or affirms the values of others. A society of individuals free to choose their associations fosters a market where irrational attitudes about race fade into obscurity. Consider every example from slavery through Jim Crow to affirmative action, and note that institutional racism requires force to survive. Without force, under liberty, racism becomes impotent.
Anakin was doomed from the start, being born as he was by the will of the Force, and not by the seed of a present father. So we may conclude after considering a recent study from the journal Cerebral Cortex. Here’s the summary from The Christian Post:
The absence of fathers during childhood may lead to impaired behavioral and social abilities, and brain defects, researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada, found.
The researchers found that the mice raised without a father had abnormal social interactions and were more aggressive, compared to the mice raised with a father. The effects were stronger among daughters than sons.
Being raised without a father actually changed the brains of the test subjects. The research found defects in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which controls social and cognitive functions, of the fatherless mice.
Mice were used because their environment could be controlled to ensure that the effects of fatherlessness were measured accurately. Plus, their response apparently proves “extremely relevant to humans.”
The real finding here affirms the human capacity for needless studies to confirm what plain sense makes clear. Kids need their Dad.
As a father of young children, I have been struck by the profound sense of gender identity inherent in even the youngest child. My six month old responds differently to men and women, snuggling up readily to the latter, and employing more caution around the former. My four year old presents different challenges to my authority than to that of his mother, and endures different challenges from each of us in return.
Here’s the deal. We had all the findings we needed on this topic when we first discovered that it takes one man and one woman to make a child. I’m not sure how much more we’re going to learn from mice.
According to an article in yesterday’s Washington Times, Iran has passed a law which, if ratified by the “Guardian council,” would allow men to marry their adopted daughters once the child reaches the age of 13.
This might seem like a non-event, since the law currently already allows for the marriage of girls at the age of 13 with their father’s consent. But if you realize that Iran allows for polygamy and that a stepdaughter most certainly counts as an “adopted daughter,” the evils of the law will become evident.
Children’s rights activists are alarmed, The Guardian in the United Kingdom reported.
“This bill is legalizing pedophilia,” said Shadi Sadr, a human rights lawyer for Justice for Iran, a legal group headquartered in London. “It’s not part of the Iranian culture to marry your adopted child. Obviously incest exists in Iran more or less as it happens in other countries across the world. But this bill is legalizing pedophilia and is endangering our children and normalizing this crime in our culture.”
Lest we forget or wish to pretend all cultures are alike and that Iran is a civilized and reasonable country.
Image courtesy Shutterstock ©Pete Sherrard
If you follow the link to the New York Post, prepare to have your heart broken. There are no winners in this story. None.
At nine, Chaneya Kelly accused her dad of raping her. He was sentenced to forty years in jail. Now an adult, married, and a mother, she says her mother threatened her into making that accusation, her dad is innocent, and she’d like to see him set free.
In her 2002 letter, Chaneya said she should be the one behind bars.
“I feel guilty when I talk about it. I feel that I should be in prison instead of you,” she wrote.
In another letter, dated Oct. 2, 2006, Chaneya said she wished she “could change the past,” and noted the irony “that mommy would have been locked up for perjury charges” if Chaneya had only told the truth. That letter is signed “Daddy’s Big Girl, Neya.”
The insanity of assuming that any child making that accusation is telling the truth; the insanity of the idea that any accusation of abuse must have truth at its core is a sort of madness many — aware of the creation of false memories — are willing to shake off. But there is something else at work here: that it doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone that a mother (or any other adult with control of the child) could use the child as a weapon in a marital dispute or a divorce.
That is a form of blindness that must be unique to our times. You could call it “mothers are always saintly.” Future generations might laugh at us for this, but for this woman there is nothing funny.
At least, to quote from the Post, one of the actors in this tragedy is acting in a sane and responsible way:
But Chaneya yesterday told The Post that her dad doesn’t blame her, saying that when she first visited him in jail, “the first thing he did was hug me and tell me that he loved me and that none of this is my fault.”
Photo illustration courtesy Shutterstock.com ©Naypong
Samuel Lamb defied the Communist Chinese. A leader in the underground Christian community, Lamb passed away earlier this month in Guangzhou, where he ran a house church for decades. Voice of the Martyrs reports:
When the Communist Party took control of China in 1949 under Mao Zedong, Christians were forced underground or forced to submit to Party control. Those that refused were interrogated, arrested, tortured, imprisoned or even killed. Samuel Lamb became one of the best known of these persecuted church leaders.
Lamb first tasted prison in 1955, when he was sentenced to serve 18 months. He was imprisoned again in 1958, this time receiving a 20-year sentence. Part of his sentence was spent serving forced labor in coal mines, where working conditions were deplorable and many prisoners died. Lamb would later talk about how God preserved his life even in the midst of such dangerous work.
For most American Christians, Lamb’s experience lays so far outside our own that it can be hard to perceive as modern. Living as we do in a land of relative religious liberty, we understand persecution only as an intellectual concept. It lurks in the depths of church history, or haunts the horizon of a distant future glimpsed through biblical prophecy. The idea of facing persecution today, in present America, seems unthinkable at first consideration. After all, we’ve spent our whole lives driving past a church on every corner, swearing oaths on copies of the Bible, and covering our hearts while swooning over the Land of the Free.
Be that as it may, as the culture makes radical shifts in the 21st century, the price of Christian confession begins to rise. If certain coalitions have their way, adherence to the Christian faith will be regulated out of public existence. Oh, the church buildings may stand, and 501(c)3s operating in the name of Christ may remain. But biblical Christianity taught without compromise will be relegated to underground enclaves like those formed under the Communist Chinese.
We live in a small town, Doylestown, Ohio, population 3000, 1.88 sq. miles. Technically, we live outside the “Village” in Chippewa Township which brings the total area of our community to 36 sq. miles and swells the total population to 7000. This weekend we celebrated our annual Rogues’ Hollow Festival, enjoying small town America at its finest. The weekend began with a parade and it seemed that anyone with a church, a civic group, or a tractor joined in — the sidewalk overflowed with senior citizens and young families with children scurrying to grab candy tossed from floats. There was great music, Lion’s BBQ chicken, corn dogs, and of course, funnel cakes. The weekend culminated in a Saturday night fireworks display.
As the fireworks began, my husband and I ducked into an alley between two local businesses to get a better view. Occasional couples or groups of teens passed through as we watched the fireworks, and one unfortunate group walked through at the same time as the Village mayor and a Township trustee. For some odd reason, the mayor barked, “You kids! Get back there!” and pointed them back to the main street of the festival. The kids looked a bit startled, but mumbled their “OK”s and obediently headed back to the street.
I don’t know if the boys — they looked to be around 14-years old — knew that the man was the mayor or that he had no actual authority to order them back to the festival. But they did what they were told without question. The encounter took me back to my childhood, to the neighborhood I grew up in where everyone’s parents sort of did have the authority to discipline everyone else’s children. And if the neighbor’s parents saw you stepping out of line, you could be sure your parents (and all the other neighbors) would hear about it by the time the streetlights came on. Respect for the authority of your elders was unquestioned. My parents preached it and they modeled it as did most other adults in our community. Two-parent families were the norm; the first divorce sent shockwaves down the street. I remember hearing neighbors talking about it in hushed voices — divorce was still so uncommon then that it was scandalous.
I was pleased the other day to receive a copy of Rick Johnson’s new book in the mail: A Man in the Making: Strategies to Help Your Son Succeed in Life. I was also honored to find myself quoted in the book’s frontispiece — especially honored since my quote was there with two others, one from Socrates and one from John Wayne. Now I’ll go toe to toe with Socrates any day, but Wayne? That’s pretty impressive company. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Rick, but I emailed him to say I was so flattered that I was going to spend the next few days wearing a toga and a cowboy hat. Until, you know, the wife started to complain.
Rick is the founder of Better Dads, a program to teach fathering skills and advocate for more and stronger fathers in the home. He’s written a number of books, and travels through North America lecturing on manhood and its positive effects on the home. It’s an urgent subject, and a difficult one.
Manhood is a very tough thing to talk about because an essential part of manhood is not talking about it — but not talking about it leaves the field open to the rabid leftist feminists who all but monopolize the field of psychology. These often well-meaning clownettes take it as given that masculinity is a Bad Thing. Despite the massive amount of information showing the damaging effects on children of not having a strong father in the home, they continue to both preach and practice against the beneficent power of manhood and against the urgency of fatherhood. A man who sought individual or couples counseling from one of these Knucklehead Girls would, I believe, find them quite insidious and damaging.
Guys like Rick provide a needed voice of opposition — a needed voice for men. Rick’s point of view is a Christian one — something with which you may or may not disagree — but his main point about the desperate necessity of good, strong fathering is indisputable.
We covet our children’s trust. Young children follow our lead with particular eagerness. However, their trust has limits. Instinct and a nascent capacity for reason which depends more on imagination than knowledge occasionally override the comforting influence of Mom and Dad.
Doctor visits prove especially difficult with my four year old. No child greatly enjoys being poked and prodded by a stranger in a weird setting with scary-looking implements. Even so, my son’s response to doctors lands on the extreme end of the spectrum, reacting to an ear exam in much the way I might to waterboarding.
A recent illness proved trying for all parties concerned. Noting an aggressive infection in both ears, the doctor prescribed an external and internal antibiotic. For ten days, we had to administer ear drops morning, noon, and night, on top of an oral suspension. For ten days, we had to wrestle our son to the ground and struggle against his full might to force the medication upon him. Each episode was torturous for him and us. For him, because he may not have understood what was going on and did not consent regardless. For us, because we could offer little comfort aside from the assurance that the deed was for his own good and would be over soon.
In such moments, I wish I could meld my mind to his and upload my knowledge and experience. I wish I could convey now the wherewithal which will someday enable him to endure life’s medication. Of course, if I could do that, my job as parent would be done.
Unable to flash our knowledge to our children’s minds, we mete it out over time, drilling through repetition past layers of doubt, pride, and rebellion. Until we succeed, until our children reach a point beyond which they can effectively care for themselves, we act as custodian.
I was researching Father’s Day and saw that it was Richard Nixon who made it a federal holiday:
The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm–perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.” On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday. The next year, a Spokane, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910….
In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.
It seems to me that with all that fathers do for our country, it is the least that can be done. Fathers are important, just like mothers and it is unfair to pretend that they are not.
So Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
Last week, I became a father for the second time. My wife presented me with another son.
I imagine that the birth of a second child proves over time to be a unique experience. There may be no other moment in life which so profoundly demonstrates love’s abundance. When you have your first child, it feels like a pinnacle. How could you possibly love more than that? The prospect of a second child seems to the uninitiated to portend a division of that love between two objects, like the division of an estate between inheritors.
I did not need to know my new son for long before realizing that parental love does not divide. It multiplies. Everything my firstborn means to me has been duplicated.
That experience provides some insight into the boundless love of God. What my two sons evoke in me dimly reflects what each of God’s children evoke in Him. My sons thus make it easier for me to understand why God would create us in the first place, and why He would be willing to give so much — even in the face of rebellion — to offer salvation.
Four years old, my firstborn constantly reminds me of myself, modeling in his relationship with me my own relationship with God. His defiance echoes my own, as does his helpless reliance.
Like most children his age, my firstborn becomes very attached to particular objects and carts them around wherever he goes. It may be a toy helicopter or truck. Sometimes, he clings to a found coin or his favorite blanket. Whatever happens to be his MacGuffin de jour, my son frequently loses track of it, whether darting about home or traveling around town. When he loses a coveted trinket, his world comes to an end. It absolutely must be found without delay.
There is still time to head over to Amazon to place an order in time for Father’s Day delivery! I’ve linked the images below to help you out.
by John McPhee
“The Swiss Army has served as a model for less languid nations. The Israeli Army is a copy of the Swiss Army. … They are a civilian army, a trained and practiced militia, ever ready to mobilize. They serve for thirty years. All six hundred and fifty thousand are prepared to be present at mobilization points and battle stations in considerably less than forty-eight hours.”
This book, written at the end of the Cold War, gives a compelling view of the Swiss military system. The pastoral views in the Alps don’t reveal that beneath those mountains are bunkers stocked with munitions caches and that the winding roads all have bridges that can be blown to pieces at a moment’s notice to thwart an attack.
The book might provoke some intriguing thoughts and conversations about forced conscription, responsibility as citizens, what some like to call “military adventurism,” and the implications of heavily armed neutrality.