Friday, March 02, 2007

Raising Cain and a Brief Reflection on Fathers

I've been reading Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson's Raising Cain recently. The book was written in 2000 by these child psychologists, one of whom, Kindlon, is a faculty member at Harvard. As I read the stories and insights these two men share throughout the book, I noted a few things.

First, the spurious character of much psychological thought. Psychology is a strange blend of physiology, sociology, and common sense reflection. I think it certainly gets some things right and helps some who are otherwise trapped in various conditions. I also confess that I possess little understanding of where, with certain conditions, suffering ends and sin begins. With those things said, I do think alot of what passes as expert psychology is often mere speculation informed by a secularist worldview.

Second, the insights many psychologists possess. This may seem contradictory given the first point, but it's not. In spending great amounts of time with patients, psychologists often pick up insights about human behavior. These insights often seem not to come through psychological theory but through common sense combined with an observational eye. Kindlon and Thompson wrote Raising Cain to talk about troubled boys, and they continually challenge me with their evident care and concern for the boys they treat. They are an element so lacking in the world: caring, involved dads. The world, I would say, contains far more good mothers than good dads. We have a drastic shortage of strong, kind, concerned fathers. It's always encouraging to read of men who are.

As a man who had a strong, caring, concerned father, I realize how blessed I truly was by the God who gave him to me. I think about his example often, and also on how I hope to emulate it someday. This weekend, if you're a guy, give a few moments to thinking about how you can be a stronger, more caring, more concerned father. If and when you have boys, you'll not only have positioned yourself to be a better father, you will be molding one yourself.

Have a great weekend.


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