Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day, And Carrying My Children Through The Forest

Happy Father's Day to all you papas, grandpapas, and papas frites out there. We spent Father's Day picnicking at a nearby state park, then hiking a new trail (for us) up in the mountains with the family, enjoying the spirit of discovery I saw in the eyes of my kids as they explored the subtle joys of throwing rocks into a lake, splashing in the mud, and hugging trees along the trail. Though they are only toddlers, my son and daughter are real troopers. Still, by the end of it, I was carrying both of them when they ran out of steam. I didn't mind, though. That's what dads are for, after all.

Of course, I had started down the trail with the intention of making them walk all the way. Inevitably, it was my daughter who first broke me of that idea. How did she do it? Yep, you guessed it. She stood in front of me, arms wide, and looking at me with those adorable please-please-please eyes. How could I possibly say no to someone so cute? Oh, man, the things she's likely to get away with over the years!

I'm not alone in being influenced by my daughter. A study was recently released by researchers in economics and psychiatry from Yale that showed male congressmen who have daughters are more likely to support women's rights and health issues:

But is it really surprising? Don't we naturally relate most to issues we have the closest connections to? According to the article: "Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University's Child Study Center, said daughters make fathers 'think differently about how they're going to make the world a better place.'"

Yep. I consider myself an advocate for women's rights, anyhow, but I have no doubt she, and my son, will change the way I see the world, and in a big way. I think it's a reasonable argument that, though we play a pivotal role in molding the way our children see the world as they grow up, in the end it is our children who change us more.

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