I am a terrible father. Very lucky, since the kids turned out to be fine people. But I did everything wrong. Too often, I made the Third Decision. C’mon-- you know. At every decision point in life, you have to choose: Do I do the Right Thing? Or the Easy Thing? That’s the angel and the devil on your shoulders right there.
Far too often I would listen to the other voice, the third voice:
What’s the funniest thing you could do right now?
It started early. Literally minutes after birth. I was holding this wet, squalling young boy. After 23 hours of labor my wonderful wife was exhausted.
“Shhhhh, shhhh shhhh,” I whispered to the little guy. “You have to be quiet. Your mom is too weak to run and if you keep crying, the leopards will come and they will eat us all. You have to be quiet for your mom.”
Ryan quieted right down, as if there was an ancestral memory of leopards eating mothers.
When his sister was born two years later, it worked again.
You can know a lot about a woman when you marry her and then find out a whole bunch more about the same but completely different woman when you have children. My wife, for instance, was very scientific. When we met in college she was majoring in Engineering Physics because, quote, “The math in the regular physics class isn’t hard enough” unquote.