Taking a Son to College

Taking a Son to College August 22, 2016
Number Two Son. (He'll kill me for posting this. That's hyperbole, btw--don't want the pacifists to worry for me.)
Number Two Son. (He’ll kill me for posting this. That’s hyperbole, btw–don’t want the pacifists to worry for me.)

I suspect that I’ll cry. The last time I cried was when we dropped his older brother off for his freshman year of college.

I think that’s a reliable indicator that the thing we typically call rationality is a laggard. I hadn’t thought about the implications of leaving a son at school for the first time, I just felt them. I should probably say I knew them a a deeper level. It wasn’t irrational to cry, it’s just that I hadn’t thought about the reasons before I did.

My second son is a great help to the family in many ways. He can be taciturn, but that’s to be expected. He’s already stronger than me in body, but when it comes to wrestling with me mentally he has some growing to do before he can best me. But I want him to be able to–to speak his mind confidently, and to back up what he says with strong reasons. That’s one of the reasons for taking him to college. I want him to be strong in every way.

I think this is where the role of a father differs from that of a mother, traditionally understood. Mothers nurture and cheer their sons on; fathers wrestle with them.

Some fathers must win; that’s why they lose. I want to lose; that’s why I’ll win.

My first son is already a better man than I am in many ways. I’m proud of him.

I’m confident my second son will surpass me in his own ways. I’m already proud of him.

When Jacob wrestled with the Lord, he received a blessing because he overcame. He received a new name and a limp.

My son, it is time for you to make a name for yourself. And that limp I gave you? You’ll thank me for it someday.


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