Monday, January 14, 2008

Muddling through

Dom highlighted an interview of Peter Kreeft in the Boston Globe about his book, Expressing love when we're still able
Q. Why publish [the book] for a general audience, when these are basically love letters to your kids?

A. Because all children are very similar, and all parents are very similar, and all wisdom is very similar. What's true is true.

Q. You start the book saying you wish you'd been a wiser and more present parent for your children. What regrets do you have as a parent?

A. Like most parents, we had good will but not the expertise we wish we had. Back in Victorian days, the father was the paterfamilias who would lecture at the dinner table and have absolute authority. Nobody wants to return to that, but we don't have an adequate substitute, so we muddle around.
Spoken like a true dad. We had all the answers when we didn't know the questions. But once the questions come (and keep coming) and they aren't as easy as we rehearsed, we struggle as parents. A friend once joked that because of his muddled influence on his children, he wished he could throw the first one back.
Q. Your kids have had a chance to read the book. What have they said?

A. It's mainly a work of love, so the main reaction was gratitude - "Thanks, Dad."
I can imagine some of those responses were about as enthusiastic as that line reads. (just imagining that his children weren't all overjoyed about his love letters to them being published) But then again, perhaps he was a better parent and his children are old enough to appreciate their dad (as in they have children of their own).

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