1) are not creationists
2) are interested in space
3) read deeply: not merely fiction, but philosophy, theology and history
4) prefer soccer to baseball, basketball and hockey
5) do not gamble
6) do not like bars
7) do not take vacations south more than once or twice in their lives
8) live close to dad
3) This could be included in #1, but I wanted to keep it separate for emphasis. He must also learn about the good, and teach it to his kids. Engage his mind and his soul on the difficult questions, to provide real advice to his children. He has to learn about things in which he natively has no interest. He should never consider that his thinking is outdated or that he is not smart enough. It is his vocation to know and love the good and the true.
An Additional Thought
I asked myself what thing about fatherhood needs to be pointed out today? My views about fatherhood are pretty traditional, but I came from a family where my father did a great deal of the cooking, most of his own laundry, and a portion of the house cleaning. It was no surprise that my brothers and I picked up on all those things, indeed, even the dreaded diaper-change. So where does tradition come in? I'm the boss. haha. I laugh, but I am. I like the term gentle patriarch. I stole it from a book written a while back - never had the opportunity to read it yet (other than the dust jacket). But I imagine myself to be a Jesus-type boss (which is again the author of that book's point, that Christian men are actually better parents than others because they have interred the virtues of partiarchy and gentleness - Jesusness). I spend most of my authority in service, or ought to anyway. I get to serve.
But none of that is my 'additional thought.' Mine is about the spiritual life. Is there a man's spirituality? Of course there is!
My thoughts are drawn to an hilarious incident at mass today. I won't go into it right now - I'd like to devote a separate post to it. Long story short: there was a Mennonite couple at mass. She was obviously Mennonite; he by propinquity. Now, he is the man, so much so as to make me look like the not-man. She, quiet, demur, and taciturn - at least, until the ladies engaged her in conversation, and then she was bright and cheery. There is something both attractive and disturbing about that. First of all, one has to admire people living according to their convictions, regardless of whether one actually shares them. But further, there is something admirable in itself about nun-like taciturnity. I sin by loquaciousness. Big time. And it is a fault, just one that even we Christians hardly ever think about. Of course, being a boor is a vice too, says Aristotle. It's definitely a non-excellence, but a sin, I'm not sure. Why does the man get to talk and not the woman, though? A chatty woman seems more offensive than a chatty man, but I'm biased. As I think about it I have no objective criteria to set forth, but there is a time and a place for everything. Some of my favourite people are hilarious women, but when I'm in a low mood or introverted that is the last type of person I want around. The Mennonite fella was clearly the boss in that marriage. But they sat lovingly close together during mass.
Those two would never make the mistake - for better or for worse - of confusing men and women. We do all the time. One of the greatest problems with this is assimilating spiritualities. A man's heart is not a woman's. They do not pray the same way, they should not be expected to. So what does this come down to? - women pray your rosaries, men contemplate the Blessed Trinity? There is a part of me inclined to this, but it's an absurd exaggeration. Does not Theresa of Avila smack of the latter, while St. Alphonsus of the former? I am much more comfortable with her than with him. I am not inclined to a emotive type of prayer, thoughtful, yes, but I cannot "compassionate my Saviour thus cruelly treated." It's not about abstraction verses concreteness. I deeply adore St. Ignatius' spirituality and the practical spirituality of the Desert Fathers, especially Evagrius Ponticus. Perhaps what I'm getting at here is nothing more than that women feel more in prayer, men think more. Anguish and pity are not a part of my relationship with Christ. Admiration, respect and wonder are.
I've been treated very well today by Anne-Marie. That means lots of time for blogging. So here I am again. I kind of left things in mid-thought.
I didn't grow up Catholic, as you know. Sometimes I wonder what I grew up. I went to the United Church of Canada until I was about 13 or 14, and then nothing for a few years. My mom always went to church; my father never. My brothers had basically no faith either. So what does that produce? The spiritual highlights of my youth consisted in being upset when ET died, when Han Solo was frozen in carbonite, and when Anakin Skywalker died. I knew some stuff about the Bible. I thought it was interesting. I prayed when I was young, and thought I had a strong faith. All of this is to say I don't really know what Catholic Faith is. I have always been proven right in my primary assumptions, but some things still defy me. I don't get the whole fascination with the rosary. You've seen that by now. I pray it with the family almost every night, and I deeply love Mary, but I hesitate to say I have a marian piety, since I am sure that my Mary is not many other people's Mary. I'll elaborate on that in another post. But the marian piety that I've observed in others - unless I am just not getting something - is foreign, and I am forced to conclude, womanly.
How many times have I been told (by women) that I should pray to St. Joseph. But again, that St. Joseph is the marian piety St. Joseph: the quiet, demure, second-rank, St. Joseph. One thing I liked about Anne Rice's book, Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt was how she portrayed Joseph as the head of the family, which of course he was. I like to think that that is why God tended to 'check with Joseph' before He borrowed his family. I get annoyed by the myriad saints' lives that feature the wise, saintly woman and her sinful, often stupid, always in need of her guidance, husband. Yes, these are true stories, and there are sinful, stupid husbands in need of their saintly wives' guidance. But this tends to make an anomalous case standard.
Men need saintly role models, but they have to be men. Mary is not a manly role model, nor is skinny, bumbling, lilly-white 'Joseph'. What is the Christian male ethos? Martyrs, certainly. What else?