A long, and victorious, weekend

I’m happy to be back indoors (and back online) today after two long days shivering on the sidelines of a rugby pitch in Lancaster County.

The Frostbite Tournament brought the first five rugby games of the new season and my daughters and their team are now 5-0 as their Downingtown RFC girls team brought home the big trophy (again).

They like this. They’re good at it. And they work hard to be good at it. And for all those reasons I’m very proud of them.

“The important thing is that you won,” I told them in the voice of the character I use for what is by now an old joke in our family, the joke in which I pretend to be a caricature of the worst kind of sports-parent imaginable. “And that means your mother and I love you again … at least until your next game, then we’ll see.”

Behind that joke, there’s a bit of a paradox. They know we love them win or lose, and that we wouldn’t be any less proud of them if they hadn’t won. And yet we’re proud of their success. To love someone means that love is never conditional on their achievements and yet, because you do love them, their achievements make you happy.

I think any parent who isn’t a caricature understands that, and I think that suggests something about why our attempts to make sweeping, categorical, abstract doctrinal statements about grace and works or a “doctrine of merit” wind up so confusing and confused.

Jesus invited this comparison, after all, saying, Come on, would any of you really treat your kids that way? “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?” And sometimes, the way I hear some of my fiercely Reformed friends talk, I worry that they’re thinking, “Well, the depraved children only deserve stones, but I might give unwarranted bread to the elect child …” Love doesn’t work like that.

But I don’t want to Jesus juke you with this post, so let’s set aside such theological musing for now.

My point here is just to say: 1) Sorry about the lack of posting while I was off watching rugby; and 2) The girls are kind of awesome and I’m enormously proud of them.

 

  • Jim Roberts

    And you should be, Fred! Five games of rugger in a weekend is better-than-reasonably hardcore.

  • Fusina

    Congratulations! And yes, you love them win or lose, but I had to stop going to my daughter’s field hockey games because it hurt too much when they lost. Those terrible kids on the other team making my daughter’s team lose…but then I would think about the other team and their parents and the whole thing went weird.  I probably should spend a lot less time in my head thinking–or other people should spend a lot more time.

    And from another post, I have a couple of nurse friends to whom I relayed the womb as tomb story. One just stared at me for a few minutes, and finally asked, “He was joking, right? He does know it doesn’t work that way?” The other started laughing and it was five minutes before she finally choked out, “Do people actually believe him?” They also found the stent story a bit ridiculous. Oh, one is retired, but one is still working at a large hospital–

  • flat

    Here is best dad Yakone being proud of his daughter.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Have you explained that to your daughter, by the way?

  • Carstonio

    To love someone means that love is never conditional on their achievements and yet, because you do love them, their achievements make you happy.

    In another thread, I argued that love is really a matter of the person on the receiving end feeling or not feeling loved. I never felt loved when my parents got angry at me. Or when they seemed to take my successes or failures personally. Or when they gave me advice in a tone that strongly implied that I shouldn’t trust my own judgment. The classic move was when they were reluctant to let me have something, they would give in grudgingly like they were being inconvenienced, like I was wrong for wanting to have  the thing in the first place. They might have loved me unconditionally, but I experienced their love as conditional.

  • christopher_y

    Oh do shut up, you pathetic apology for a human being.

  • SisterCoyote

    Congratulations to them! That’s awesome – and congratulations to you, too.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The problem is that it’s very hard to let go of the tendency to feel like nothing brings success like success, especially when one child seems to go from one achievement to the next effortlessly and their sibling seems to struggle with the basics of getting things right.

    This, I think, is why on the Smart People (etc) thread one person has taken the hard road of not crowing about the things done under exceptional circumstances because doing that treats the achievement as something “normal” rather than being motivated by a unique set of circumstances.

    For example there would be no need for schools to recognize teenagers who succeed in difficult circumstances if no teenager ever had to deal with them in the first place.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Oh do shut up, you pathetic apology for a human being.

    But how are we to know that Fred’s obvious happiness and the fact that he’s in a loving, functional  family is actually a sham and an indication of his abject failure as a human being if Eric the Red doesn’t show up to tell us that?

    [/sarcasm]

    Also, and this is something I notice with Eric the Red quoting whoever-the-fuck-this-Heartiste-guy-is and also Vox Day when I have the occasion to visit that cesspit: most of these Alpha Male MRA-types seem to spend most of their time quoting other MRA-types and letting said other-MRA-types speak for them.  Is it just me or is that a bit…indicative of not being an actual Alpha Male (according to the fantasy heirarchy, of course)?

  • SisterCoyote

    There once was a troll named Eric the Red, who came riding to Slacktivist from MRA threads!
    And the braggart did swagger and brandish his blade, as he told of bold alphas and gold he had made!
    But then he went quiet, did Eric the Red, when he met the shieldmaiden Matilda who said…
    “Oh, you talk and you lie and you drink all our mead! Now I think it’s high time that you lie down and bleed!”
    And so then came the clashing and slashing of steel, as the brave lass Matilda charged in full of zeal!
    And the braggart named Eric was boastful no moooooree… when his ugly red head rolled around on the floor!

    (via UESP)

    Disclaimer: I do not believe in using violence to dispatch trolls.

    That said, in light of context, that might be the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen said to/about Fred and his family on this blog, and you really should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Fusina

     Oh, God yes. She said that she doesn’t entirely blame me, as the bleacher seats are crazy uncomfortable, and the season is between summer and fall so at some games you fry and others you freeze. There are a couple round here where the weather is perfect, but mostly not.

    We spend time together doing other things, watching tv shows we both like (Once Upon a Time is our current abso fave never miss an episode and buy the DVD as soon as it appears in the store) and doing crafty stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    To be just, there are very few people whom I’d rather see as hypocrites and failures by their own standards than MRAs

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     That said, in light of context, that might be the nastiest thing I’ve
    ever seen said to/about Fred and his family on this blog, and you really
    should be ashamed of yourself.

    I’d hazard a guess that the notion of being ashamed of himself went right out the window for ol’ Eric the Red a long, long time ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Yeah, but a little cyber-violence can be fun. Catchy tune :-)

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Congratulations to the winning team and the whole happy Slacktifamily!

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there was an MRA with a personality to call his own.  Other MRA-types, hoping to get a bit of whatever it was that they thought he had, sold their souls to the original MRA, thus ending up with no personalities or any other characteristics to distinguish them from the common herd.  The newer MRA-types haven’t yet realized that they didn’t get anything worthwhile out of the bargain.

  • LL

    You go, girls. 

  • Katie

     Congratulations! 

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    “Eric the Red”? Dude, you don’t deserve such a great song.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSpxKC3ICJ4

  • flat

    You know that Yakone post I placed was about the fact that I hope that mr Clark is a good father towards his daughters.

    I just wanted to say I hope I didn’t give people the wrong idea about what I meant.

    ps, sistercoyote: great poem you wrote

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Those who have paid attention may have noticed that when J comes in here and likes to assert that, paraphrased, “Me smart, you all dumb”, I like to respond by pointing out how very stupid, unthinking, and shortsighted he is.

    And when GBA comes in here with her smug sense of moral superiority, I like to point out how her moral code leads to the endorsement of abominations, and how she is therefore a bit of a monster.

    In that spirit, Eric the Red, it is clear to me that you are deeply insecure about your own masculinity. I think it’s because you’ve got a very small penis.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Behind that joke, there’s a bit of a paradox. They know we love them win
    or lose, and that we wouldn’t be any less proud of them if they hadn’t
    won. And yet we’re proud of their success. To love someone means that
    love is never conditional on their achievements and yet, because you do love them, their achievements make you happy.

    This is kind of a thing. My father’s love for me is unconditional. And as a result, I have never really known if my father really approves or is proud of anything I have ever done. I get the same loving approval no matter what.

    This is also why I never know what to get him for christmas.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     It’s really rather too bad that you have only directly quoted the WaPo article that’s got you ire up (and the mailing contact info for the author whom you want your followers to harass) instead of linking to the article itself, like civilized copyright-respecting adults do.

    But, congratulations, you got another click through! How happy you must feel.

  • SisterCoyote

     (Thanks, but it’s not mine – written by some genius writer for Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series, I just changed a few of the words.)

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     

    Also, and this is something I notice with Eric the Red quoting whoever-the-fuck-this-Heartiste-guy-is and also Vox Day when I have the occasion to visit that cesspit….

    Ah, I wasn’t the only one to noticed the similarity in vomiting-hatefulness-onto-the-internet styles.

    most of these Alpha Male MRA-types seem to spend most of their time quoting other MRA-types and letting said other-MRA-types speak for them.

    They do, don’t they? They also seem to spend a lot of their blogs fixated on whoever it is they accuse of being beta/gamma/rabbity/whatever, quoting them, raging at them, encouraging their followers to harrass them… They seem strongly obsessed by them, even as they sneer about their superiority to them.

    It’s like a weird reversal to the persecuted hegemon. “We really are in the minority–because true greatness isn’t that common, don’tcha know. And we aren’t at all being persecuted by the herd. They don’t rise high enough to persecute us. Let us outline all the ways in which we couldn’t care less about them. Exhaustively. With every single post.”

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     …and that is quite possibly the ONLY rendition of The Ballad of Ragnar the Red I’ve ever actually enjoyed. (I’ve a Skyrim player in the house. I’ve often asked him to pay the bard to SHUT UP.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That Yakone pic was kinda… enh, not the greatest one to use.

  • AnonaMiss

    “cuckolding is the female version of rape” kekbur

  • SisterCoyote

    Heh. Ragnar the Red is the only song I enjoy, but it does get old. With the rest, I am permanently reminded of the ferryman in Josie Wales, who can sing Dixie or The Battle Hymn of the Republic depending on which side of the river he’s on.

  • Lori

    So. Much. Wrong.

  • LMM22

     They also seem to spend a lot of their blogs fixated on whoever it is they accuse of being beta/gamma/rabbity/whatever, quoting them, raging at them, encouraging their followers to harrass them… They seem strongly obsessed by them, even as they sneer about their superiority to them.

    The real irony is, most of the ‘real’ alpha males I knew in college (*) are, nearly a decade later, happily married or in some other sort of long-term committed relationship.

    Basically, if you *have* to read PUA material, you’re almost certainly (in their terms) a gamma rabbit.

    (*) College being a time when (initially) most people are single. Alpha males being the men in my social circles who managed to assemble minor cults of personality and/or were never at a lack for women who would love to screw them. Perhaps not surprisingly, they were also universally kind and egregious — the type of person one would *want* to date.

  • LMM22

    that might be the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen said to/about Fred and his family on this blog, and you really should be ashamed of yourself.

    I have decided that social movements are successful when the target goal stops being notable or particularly cute. (For example, the winner of the local science fair is female? Meh. A gay man thanks his partner during an acceptance speech? Still gives me fuzzies.)

    In that light, Fred referring to his daughters as, well, his daughters still makes me happy. It means we have a lot of work to do as a culture, but, for right now, I’m going to focus on the fuzzies.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    Congrats!

  • AndrewRyansCaddy

    Darn it, when I saw “fembot” I thought it was going to be something like that person who replied to assholes on OKCupid with nothing but quotes from horse-ebooks. 

  • SisterCoyote

     Mmmmm. My initial reaction was key-smashing and How DARE you. Family. Is. Family. Family is about love; DNA in and of itself has jack-all to do with it, and I honestly do not understand how anyone in this century doesn’t get that.

  • LMM22

    Meh. Fuzzies was the original post. And yeah. I don’t get how a lot of people don’t understand that, but they often don’t.

  • Foreigner

    Served my time freezing on the sidelines at rugby matches. Both my sons played *. (Don’t like rugby, never have). I am so looking forward to see my daughter play cricket for her University.

    * still do play, but long past the age where I’m expected to turn up. However, grandsons loom.

  • http://valuesfromscratch.blogspot.com/ Marian

    “Behind that joke, there’s a bit of a paradox. They know we love them win or lose, and that we wouldn’t be any less proud of them if they hadn’t won. And yet we’re proud of their success. To love someone means that love is never conditional on their achievements and yet, because you do love them, their achievements make you happy.”
    Thank you.  I needed this today.  I needed to hear that this is how God loves me, because it is not how either of my parents have loved me. And though you say you don’t want to explore the theological implications of this in a post about your daughters’ successes, it’s certainly worth exploring the theological implications of, and I hope you eventually do.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     they were also universally kind and egregious

    Um, I think you mean ‘gregarious’, not ‘egregious’… 

  • MaryKaye

    It’s absolutely necessary to my son’s wellbeing that I clearly state, constantly, both “I love you  no matter what” and “that thing you just did, it sucked bigtime.”  He has a lot of trouble hearing this, and frankly I have a lot of trouble saying it, but as far as I can tell it’s the only way forward.  (Too many years of foster care have left a lot of 6-year-old behaviors which can’t be tolerated in a person with a near-adult body and mind.)

    And–even harder for a child who has massive abandonment issues–”If you don’t treat me decently I will walk away and you can sit here by yourself.  No?  Okay, see you in an hour.”  It has to be said, but youch, it’s painful.

    The only way I can handle this parenting thing is to tell myself from time to time “Love isn’t about feelings so much as about actions and commitments.”  Because after conversations that go “that knife is too close to my hands,  back off” “why? [continues to poke with knife]” “BACK OFF THAT IS NOT SAFE” “why are you so upset? [continues to poke with knife]” I do not feel anything recognizable as love.  Not in the moment, and often not for quite a while afterwards.  All I can figure is that continuing to correct him and hoping for improvement is more loving than either abandoning him or letting him behave in ways that guarantee jail time as an adult, if not an early death.

    I guess this ties into Fred’s post–though sorry to introduce a downer note–because I have to say, “I love you no matter what, but I’m only proud of you when you behave decently.”  Which doesn’t mean winning, but it does mean not kicking the other player when he’s down.


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