When it comes to being a father, I feel I have done my share.
Yessir, I am the father of three – two girls and a boy.
In many ways this gender division made life easier for me. Growing up, when the girls had a problem, they naturally sought advice from their mother.
When my son was young, this approach also worked. When he came to me with a “what to do” dilemma, I was able to solve his problem by simply advising him to “do what Mama says.”
Now some may disagree, but I believed that I was being a good father, preparing my son for living in a world where the order of things was determined not by some natural, rational calculus but by a feminine formula the logic of which is beyond the mind of man.
But my son, young and full of himself, struggled with this concept.
So, I told him a story.
Once upon a time there was a man who lived in California. He was an upright man, and eschewed evil. One day he was walking on the beach, and the Lord appeared to him and said:
“You have been a good man, upright and eschewing and all that, so I will grant you a wish, whatever you want.”
And the man replied, “I love to surf. And I have always wanted to surf in Hawaii. But I am afraid to fly and I get seasick, so I have never crossed the ocean. Can you build me a bridge to Hawaii?”
And the Lord frowned. “Yes, I can. I am the Almighty. Lord of Lords. Very God of Very God. All that stuff. I can do anything. Omnipotent. That’s me. A bridge to Hawaii? Sure. But I was hoping for something a little more to the benefit of mankind. Something that would make life better for others. Why don’t you take another shot at it?”
And the man, feeling a bit ashamed, paused. Then, suddenly it came to him.
And he asked of the Lord, “Enable me to understand women.”
And the Lord God Almighty looked down and said:
“You want that bridge two lanes or four?”
And my son, the scion, flesh of my flesh, looked at me in a way he had never looked before, looked at me and said, “You mean even God . . .”
And I said “yes.”
And the years between us fell away and we were one in our confusion.
Every father should have a moment like that.
If you have a son, Father’s Day might be a good time to give it a try.
And if you have daughters, ask them to help you.
They already know the answer.