Between now and Father's Day, I plan to publish stories that illustrate the many, sometimes intangible, contributions of fathers to child development. Here is one to get the ball rolling.
I met this charming lady at my debate at the University of Virginia. She sent this along this story of how she learned how much her husband contributed to the raising of their children:
In case you haven't heard of the bull elephant tale - this is it in a few words: There were some adolescent orphaned elephants in a forest absolutely creating havoc - killing creatures elephants would not normally kill and the like. They were rounded up and put in with a normal tribe of elephants -w ith extra bulls. - and guess what - they straightened right up and no longer were the bullies of the forest.
My identical twin boys were 15 when their father died. They were always boys full of energy and action. I always said having twin boys was like having a tornado swirling through the house – wherever they were, there was a storm! My twin girls would sit quietly in the corner, playing dolls, until the boys came swirling through and the quiet tea party was over! Anyway, a week after their father died, they announced that they weren't going to live in a house run by a woman. I then realized that my husband had more authority over them when he was sick on the couch, than I did as a fully functioning healthy woman. The subsequent years were chaos, eventually they dropped out of school and joined the National Guard Challenge program – (a teenage boot camp of sorts which I highly recommend for male or female highschool dropouts) – That is where they met their "bull elephants", or should we say – retired Marines!! They both met their matches and completed the program with flying colors, came out with their GEDs, which enabled them to join the US Marine Corps. I now have 20 year old twin Marines – a Corporal and a Lance Corporal, of whom I am very proud. They are fit and disciplined and have seen the mistakes of their past and have goals for a better future. It's been a painful journey, but I'm sure it would have been much more painful if they had not met some bull elephants to rein them in.
Dr J says: what do dads do? They provide authority.
I plan to run as many stories about fathers' contributions to the rearing of children as I can between now and Father's Day. Please send in your stories! If I publish yours, you can show it to your father or husband as a Father's Day present!