Fatherhood

Nerf war

A gymnasium strewn with upturned tables for barricades, a child-hearted husband and wife instigators of the fracas. Boys with single-shot pistols, automatics, rifles, rocket launchers, gathering to compare armaments. The older ones show the younger how to modify their weapons for greater velocity and range. Foam rounds fall from their pockets and collect around their …

Laboring days

I’ve cut grass and cleaned offices and guarded buildings; I’ve been a grill cook and a college teacher and a karate instructor. I’ve bussed tables and stocked labs and punched numbers; I’ve managed more emotional twenty-somethings than I can count, hired people and fired people and balanced razor-thin budgets. The hardest job I ever had, …

Marionette parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there’s a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., “helicopter parenting“). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, hovering about their children’s lives. That’s their bloody job, after all — to supervise, counsel, protect. …