“The critiquing gene”

Allow me the point of personal privilege to note an AVFL first: my father posted this wonderful comment in the unChristlike thread. As regular readers know, I try to keep the focus here on ideas and issues and themes rather than on me personally, and by and large I think this approach works. But one downside is that I don’t often get, have, or take time to note that, for instance, one of the deeper roots of my bloggerly self runs way back into childhood and my parents’ insistence that we (my brother and I) stand on our own two feet in the world.

In the experiencing of it, I often thought this an insupportable hardship (I probably wasn’t the only kid who had what amounted to a small but established lawn care bidness by the age of 14 or 15 and who bought his own school clothes and supplies, but if often seemed that way). As an adult these early lessons in independence and self-sufficiency have paid off a million times a million. Less than the power to think and speak for oneself - though of no small importance - it’s the courage to do so that I find among the most valuable legacies here (that, and knowing how to manage money, more or less). For my parents’ part, I imagine they have surely scratched their heads more than a few times, chagrined (perhaps) by my application of the life-lessons they instilled in me. Certainly, I have not always lived up to what they would have hoped or wanted for me, I know.

My father and I, particularly, look at the world through sometimes radically different lenses, and often those different lines of sight have made it hard for us to see or find common ground. The old man enjoys surprising me, though, keeping me on my toes (this was another of his life-lessons: be on guard for the encroachment of complacency). And so it’s deeply gratifying to discover he’s an AVFL reader all the way from South Iron Country - and now, a commenter, too. Thanks, Dad.

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  1. Rhonda Berry wrote:

    With 5 kids, we had to teach our kids that they need to be self-sufficient as well. It was actually the way of the world way back when.
    We also taught them that it was okay to think differently than us but they had better believe it as deeply as we believe in our side and they had better be able to defend it as well.

    Bravo to your parents

  2. Sandy wrote:

    Doug, I applaud you

  3. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Critiquing Gene… any relation to Gene Gene the Dancing Machine from The Gong Show?

  4. Ubu wrote:

    It’s refreshing to know that some parents were able to instill in their children the simple fact that critical thinking does not equal judging.

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