George

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George was 81 when he passed away in 2003. He was a WWII veteran and teacher. He had one son.

Dad was a track athlete in his youth. Later, as a teacher, he continued working in his favorite sport. This is likely about 1965, at Grant or Sylmar High school. Look how people dressed back then…two men , wearing ties and jackets. What a classy time. If you still have your parents, tell them you love them. They won’t always be there.

A father’s impact is forever and immeasurable. It is for this and many other reasons that we honor George.

What they don’t see

Dalrock   has been critiquing the mainstream conservative approach to the marriage crisis lately by focusing on the standard, now tiresome way that several National Review writers aligned with Dennis Prager perceive it.

This is the latest one.

I have some personal experience with this approach, because when I was going through my own divorce in 2000, I was a subscriber to the basic thesis. I listened to all the right talk show hosts, read all the right books, and knew, just knew that the reason I was being divorced was ultimately my fault–even though I had not raised a hand, (or even spoke above a regular inside voice) cheated, done drugs, left us hungry, been involved in a crime, molested any kids, etc, etc. “Emotionally unavailable” was my crime, and the entire church, including the leadership really felt that this is was the area I had failed. It was folded into the larger, vague umbrella of “abuse.” And if I would just work on that, I would get my marriage back. It was I who needed to be held accountable for my failings–100%

Right.

16 years later, with a bunch of information I didn’t have at the time, I would like to be able to say “never again! I know what to do differently!” But I am truthfully in the same risk category for being divorced. Not because I didn’t learn anything from being such a horrible husband the first time around, but because no matter what I do, my wife has all of the external, structural power to destroy the marriage and likely walk away with everything. I have only my trust that she won’t do this. She acknowledges this, and also acknowledges that there is really nothing either of us can do lower that aggregate risk.

And this brings me to something I don’t think the neocons and the mainstreamers who occupy the world that Geraghty, Prager et al live in can see–nor do they really want to: All men in America have heard your message. Its not new. When they read what you write, they don’t think “gosh! Why didn’t I think of that? I need to be more emotionally available, have a good job, be present with my kids.” Or, if single: “I need to get myself totally squared away as soon as possible because all these women are just waiting around for me to get it together and put a ring on it! I’ll start right away!” They got the message. It’s not working to create stable marriages and families–which is presumably what you are after. 

During that period leading up to my divorce I gleefully carried the message for them as the church counselor. I would tell my married couple clients–the wife’s feelings and intuition are the divining rod for whether or not this marriage is working. She is the psychologically, emotionally and spiritually mature/sophisticated one. By the time she files for divorce, you have screwed up so badly that it’s probably too late. Again–men have received the message. For several generations now.

My own site here offers the nearly silent affirmation of this. Let me explain.

The reaction to this site–that is the posts honoring specific fathers–has been a tell. The process goes like this. I will contact a dad who I know, or someone refers to me and ask them if they would be OK being featured. When I do,  everyone one of them starts by humbly suggesting that they are not a father worthy of being honored. Got that?

This is not false humility. As I question and prod them it becomes clear that  most of them literally cannot fathom the purpose of the site. I try to explain its purpose. Head scratching. They cannot conceive of a place where fathers are honored just because they are in that position. It’s always “well, you know I am divorced, right?” Or “unfortunately I don’t get to see my kids much because their mom has them in Florida.” Or “I’m not a great dad like some of the others you have featured.” Or “well, its really my wife who keeps me on the straight and narrow. Without her I would be a loser.”

Drives me fucking crazy.

No man alive today ever lived in a society where fathers were positioned at the place of honor as a defacto acknowledgement of their sacrifice and biblical principle requiring us to do so. 

Next are the reactions to the posts themselves. Pretty much every one of the dads has a facebook page, or has friends who do. And I share the post on there, and then tag the dad.

What happens next, in the comments is also telling. Every comment is either “well, there is another side to that story” or “well deserved. He is a dad who really had this coming.” These are mostly “conservative” people. They all think that American Dad is some kind of “Hall of Exceptional Fathers.”

Arrrgh!

I don’t care if the dad “deserves” the honor. The honor is due him. He is a dad. What those comments are really saying is “this particular dad has met the Geraghty/Prager official requirements for being honored, therefore I approve of this message.”

And lest the peanut gallery would like to argue some low base-rate occurance that may or may not have happened in these dads pasts, spare me. You are missing the point. You are failing to notice that the entire culture is drenched in honoring moms, single moms, grandmothers, divorcees, drug addicts–whatever–just for being moms. I have no desire to critique that. It just is. Moms get a pass because they “work so hard” or are “so courageous” or whatever and everyone agrees with no questioning. 

Dads must earn every little bit of respect they get–and they don’t need anyone to write any more damn books about it. They got the message.

 

 

 

It’s a nice to place to visit…

Although I have been thinking and writing about this topic for a while, I don’t think I am anywhere near a final position on the matter for myself. And since this a site for and about dads, I am still trying to figure out how to approach it with my children who will be old enough to explore it in the blink of an eye.

Sweden has been in the news a lot over the last few days. You can  believe the mainstream medias “nothing to see here” mentality about it, or you can follow sites like the Gatestone Institute, which is based in Europe and cites local, European sources in almost every paragraph of their articles.

John Derbyshire is detecting a slight shift in the zeitgeist towards even more nationalism in the west.

And some folks are just plain telling it like it is. My wife and I moved out of Sweden because it’s not Swedish anymore.

That last one is particularly painful to read. Its about an ethnically Danish Jew, who was saved before the holocaust when he was a boy by being moved to Sweden. He then grew up grateful for Sweden and himself culturally identifies as Swedish. He is an ex-patriot of that nation who is living in Spain, being written about in a Jerusalem news magazine. He is never going back.

And as much as I give Dennis Prager crap for his handling of the marriage and fatherhood crisis in the west, he shared something on his radio show this morning that I found compelling–and relevant to this discussion. Benjamin Franklin’s credo shared in a letter 5 weeks before his death:

 I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

For all the talk about the founding fathers being “deists” (and most people have no idea what that actually means) most of them said stuff like this. And as an Orthodox Christian, I can see why a nation founded by men with this set of basic beliefs has been, until recently very compatible and accepting of several different faith traditions. In a country with those guiding principles, most people can get along. The Nicene creed says the same thing (plus more) and can be lived out in a nation like that.

And I started thinking, I still believe that in light of basic sociological truths about  human nature, “nation-states” are the best way for humanity to get along. They can provide a solution to the age-old quip “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

Those truths are–1. people want to live in close proximity with sameness (homogeneity) on as many dimensions as possible. This is not the same as “intolerance” of other cultures, races, whatever. 2. All people feel this way, and at present, only whites are not allowed to discuss it. This is changing, because it is a double standard as wide as a 4 lane highway being blocked to agitate for the rights of only one racial group:

BLM Road Block

BLM Road Block

I’ve tried to identify what some of those dimensions of homogeneity might be (or have traditionally been), and come up with a list that looks something like this:

  1. Ethnicity
  2. Religion
  3. Culture
  4. Values
  5. Ideology
  6. Language

There are others, and some of them overlap. Language, for example is probably more like an effect than a cause in this example, but it is pretty reasonable to understand that a “nation” whose members cannot communicate with each other is not really a nation.

You get the idea.

On one of my pilgrimages to meeting up with red-pillers, blogger Empathologism told me that he sometimes asks progressive and leftists “can you describe or articulate an end state where all your political and cultural goals are met that does not require massive coercion, violence and even extermination to achieve?”

And they can’t. Not really.

But in order for that to be an effective moment, those of us who believe in traditional nation-states, and a more “conservative” order of things better be able to pass that test.

I think you can actually use the phrase “it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” as a rough estimate or proxy for describing this. And it works on the micro as well as the macro level. As mentioned above–all people want to live near sameness. But most of them are perfectly comfortable with the existence of other ethnicities, cultures, ways of life and even find them fun to visit.

Hell, on one level I can appreciate what the progressive left in California is trying to do with secession. They are trying to find a peaceful way of saying “America is a nice place to visit, but as long as all those toothless rednecks have a say in our elections, I wouldn’t want to live there.” I totally disagree with their worldview, but I do not fault their convictions.

For example. I would like to visit Japan. I do not want to live there because 1. I would stick out like a sore thumb. 2. I don’t speak the language. 3. The majority religion is Shintoism. 4. I don’t know anything about the culture. 5. They do not have a tradition of individual freedom.

In my case, there is another option between where I currently live, and where I might be able to live with some effort–Serbia. I can get along (sort of) with the language. I look Serbian. I have been exposed to the culture my whole life. Over 80% of them are Orthodox Christians. I can visit the cobblers shop my grandfather owned before the war. I can visit the farm they lived on during the war.

I can stand and pray at the altar where my father, and my fathers father were baptized:

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I can even visit the village that shares my name:

Kljajić, Serbia.

Kljajić, Serbia.

The biggest problem is I can’t bring my guns with me.

And, as always, it comes to this. Why is this so hard to engage with? It is not “racist” or “xenophobic” or whatever. It is a model for organizing the world that is based on the realities of people. The progressive left–worldwide–is ambivalent to downright hostile toward the idea of a people carving out for themselves a space on this earth and calling it a “nation.” There are reasons that go all the way back to Marx for this.

America may or may not be able to survive as a nation based on ideas. I have no reason to believe it can’t. But if it does, the ideas must be carried forward by institutions, which are now all dead. People will fall back on to more primitive dimensions of homogeneity if they have to, which is what I worry most about. This is because I am a Christian and I do not want a race or religious war. But we have failed to transmit these ideals and are now facing exactly that.

The left offers no other solution except universal, globalist totalitarianism. (Failing Empaths test).

Sold my horse

Sold my Tennessee Walking Horse, Joshua, who was basically the size of a small elephant. A little sad to see him go, because he was the first horse I ever bought for myself. (The previous two actually belonged to my ex.) Josh was a little bit too green for an old(er) guy like me who is still kind of a novice western pleasure rider. The guy who bought him seemed really pleased with the sale. I will start my search for probably an American Saddle Bred with a little calmer temperament.

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Superheroes, Cross-Stitch and information overload

Two nights ago, I was sitting on one end of our enormous sectional couch and looked up to see my wife teaching our daughter how to cross-stitch:

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Mychael is making an entire set of Christmas stockings for us, and our daughter has been asking about it. So we got her a beginner cross-stitch set. I’ll come back to that.

At that precise moment, my oldest boy–who has become consumed by a fascination with superheroes–was running around with his Superman cape on, while the original 1978 Christopher Reeve version played on Netflix.

And, as any good psychologist who is also a parent, I thought “what am I supposed to be doing to encourage a healthy male developmental trajectory during the superhero phase?” So, of course, I did a google search for “boys and superheroes.”

Which yielded:

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Sigh. So, I moved over to google scholar, which believe it or not is a pretty good free repository for scholarly articles if you do not have access to Ebsco or PsychInfo or something like that. And this is what I got:

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I interrupted the cross-stitching going on across the living room and mentioned it to Mychael. She had the super-smart idea of searching for “Girls and superheroes:”

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And then to be thorough, the google scholar version of the same search:

girlssuperheroesscholar

Now, I am just spitballing here, but my guess is (based on the titles alone) not ONE of the articles (or the one book that kept coming up) has as its basic starting point the presupposition that is positively correlated with boys being drawn to superheroes or that it can help them develop into men. The only exception is probably the Focus on the Family article.

And let’s face it. If a healthy developed man from the era I am talking about was transported here, he would be at risk for being sent to a reeducation camp.

Meanwhile, back on the other side of the couch, Mychael was looking around on Pinterest for cross-stitch patterns to use for the Christmas stocking project and uncovered a really nifty sub-set of cross-stitching culture, called “”subversive cross-stitch” with patterns like these:

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Mychael explained to me that Pinterest, like other types of social media and sharing sites, has a way to complain or try to tailor your feed by giving them feedback. Sort of giving the algorithms an idea of what you like and don’t like–what you would like to see more or less of. And of course, the more she complains about this stuff, the more it appears in her Pinterest feed. So, Pinterest feels she is wrong about what she doesn’t want to see, apparently.

And it occurred it to me, in the context of these two “incidents” happening almost simultaneously, “subversive” is a stupid name for this form of cross-stitching. Because it’s not “subversive” if the mainstream of culture and academia agree with you on the issue of bad-ass, bitchy, role-reversals or whatever. 

There is nothing subversive about this at all–it is normative. My wife and sweet daughter having a beautiful moment where the mommy shares a skill handed down from her own mom while the boy crashes into everything with his cape and mask and dad reads his “serious” stuff on the couch is subversive and weird.

Look around at the political violence–the ultimate expression of sore-loserness. While formally normal people are just sitting around scratching their heads–even as my wife demonstrated with Pinterest–you cannot get the freakishness out of your face even when you invite it to leave. As a mental health professional I have to dig very deep to find what colleagues of generations ago thought about boys playing Superman. I’ve pointed out elsewhere, that even if I encourage him–who is there to save? The weak literally have no idea they need saving.

All of the ideas of the left–whether feminism, egalitarianism, childlessness, etc are all converging in what I believe will be an enormous crescendo of jumping the shark. I can’t keep up with it as the subjectivity of this age nears its peak.

You can read an infinite amount of material on the web today telling you what you should or should not do with your kids. I realize my blogging is even contributing to this by being just another voice in the noise of how to do “traditionalism” right.

We broke the machine by making everyone an expert, and now no one is. I have no clue what is next.

Preparing the farm for spring

This morning, I was treated to French toast, made with bread that Mychael baked from scratch and eggs from our own chickens:

Wife skill level: Expert

Wife skill level: Expert

Which was the start of a day devoted to getting everything around here ready for spring. This is because in Texas, “winter” lasts for about 8 seconds.

So we started by shoveling the chicken coop.

Most of that crap goes to making fertilizer for the greenhouse:

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Oldest son with Mychael after planting some early crops.

Also on the list for today was cleaning out and refilling the water troughs:

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And saying “hi” to my horse Joshua while this one filled up.

We had to replace the shoveled bird coop with pine shavings, but realized we were low and also needed a couple of hay bales for the donkeys. So off to the feed store with all three of the minions.

Oldest guy loves the heavy equipment at the feed store.

Oldest guy loves the heavy equipment at the feed store.

And back in the car to finish up.

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(Yes, Mychael and I both have finger tattoos for wedding rings.)

The littlest guy tried to help spread the shavings out.

Which, in the end looks like this:

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I also cleaned out and organized the tack room/feed shed.

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The kids played with Pig Pig (or whatever her name is):

And finally, I offloaded our hay bales into the donkey pasture.

All of this was, of course supervised by our LGD, Jack.

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Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be pretty crummy, so this was a good day to get it all done. Also had the boys help me with getting the camper ready for an up coming vacation, stack some random fence hardware behind the shed and a few other things.

Here’s what matters: The whole family, even the 18 month old got in on the action. We were together all morning, sweating, working hard and getting smelly. I am not ashamed of the fact that I am vicariously living a childhood through my kids that I did not have. I love watching these kids getting their hands dirty like this.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend, whatever you are up to–and most of all I hope you are with loved ones.

Final note: guys–I was talked into buying some skin care products for Mychael from a company called Rodan and Fields. Its one of these products you can buy from your friends–its organized as a pyramid, so you probably know someone who sells it. It was pretty pricey, but worth it. The difference in her skin is striking. Money well spent.

Take care.