Will You Eat With Me?

Prelude: You’ll notice there is not a single “sir” uttered by Tina. This is unnatural and goes against all Caldo customs. It’s also a key to understanding why I apprehended the situation the way I did.

It was Sunday, and it had been decided that Liz would fix her family-famous pancakes for lunch. They were famous for one reason: Liz is a thoroughly lazy teenage, and pancakes were the one meal she had once cooked flawlessly. Otherwise what she bakes she burns, because the television is more important than the timer. Her food preparation is no better.

“Liz,” Mrs. Caldo might say, “peel some potatoes for dinner.”

“Elizabeth Caldo,” I say ten minutes later, “don’t let me find you on the couch.” which causes some scrambling from the couch to the kitchen.

“Liz,” Mrs. Caldo calls again, “Where are the potatoes?”

“They’re on the table.” she shouts from the couch.

“Liz, you only peeled three potatoes and there are six of us. What is wrong with you?”

“Well, you didn’t saaaay how many to cut up.”

There was the time that she prepared tater-tot casserole (a simple dish which is a layer of ground beef, a layer of green beans, a layer of cream of mushroom soup, and a top layer of tater-tots baked for 45 minutes) without the cream of mushroom. It is true that the soup is the thinnest layer, but look: dry ground beef and green beans makes for grim chewing. The cream of mushroom is what pulls it altogether. Plus she burned it.

However; there was the time when Mrs. Caldo and I were away, and, in an inexplicable flurry of activity, Liz whipped up a batch of flapjacks for the Caldo minors. Everyone was impressed, and surprised. It was back to this event that we hearkened this past Sunday. “Liz,” we said, “make us your famous pancakes.”

—————————————————————————————————————————–

“It’s lunch time, Daddy.”, the young ones called. We washed our hands and went to the table; smelling the bacon and coffee, and being very hungry. In walks Liz from the kitchen with a plate of nine four-inch pancakes for two adults, two might-as-well-be adults, and two kids who love pancakes.

“Elizabeth Caldo, what is wrong with you?” I barked.

“What?”

“How many of us are there?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m asking the questions. How many of us are there?”

“Six…”

“Then why are you walking in here with nine tiny pancakes?” Her only reply was shellshock.

Tina, the oldest, misunderstood the nature of my challenge to her sister, and she flounced up from the table and–in her best angry martyr voice–said, “Phuuuuh! I’ll make some more!”

Mrs. Caldo expressed her exasperation. “No, Tina, sit down.”

Things are getting out of control pretty fast now, as far as I’m concerned, and the two alpha females are getting worked up.

“Christina! Sit down!”, I said. “Now, let’s say prayers!” My thinking was that if we could just get this lunch back on track we could lead Liz to sort out what she did wrong, but Tina really wanted my attention.

“Fine”, she hissed, and plopped back down in her chair. She tried to burn me with a pair of eyes that she had borrowed from her schoolmates; presumably it works on their parents. It was a stupid plan on Tina’s part.

“So, Liz, why am I upset with you?” As I asked this, someone tried to pass Tina the plate of shortcakes. With a haughty air she said, “No thank you!”, and sat with her arms folded, still trying to let me know she was REALLY angry at me. I had been attempting to let her get over herself, but the disgusted “No thank you!” drew my obligation.

“You are dismissed.”

“Fine.”, she said, and went into her room. I ate my one pancake, went to her room, opened the door, and said, “Do not touch my food until you can tell me what you did wrong, and apologize for it.”

“Fine.” It was about one o’clock.

Dinner was ready at six o’clock. In the interim Tina had stayed holed-up in her room, and called and cried and complained; to whom I had no idea, but there were several. Everyone else came to the table when dinner was called. I saw that her place had not been set. I asked Liz, “Where is Tina’s plate?”

“I thought she wasn’t eating.”

What, I wondered, have I done to deserve such faithless children?

“The rest of you sit down, say prayers, and eat.”, and they did, while I went to smoke a cigarette. Afterwards I went to our room and mused on what to do. All I knew for sure was that I could not eat until Tina did, and Tina could not eat until she repented. (Of course it was Mexican food night, too. Balderdash.) While I was thinking on these things, I heard Tina talking on her phone again–the iPhone I pay for (The iRony. Children can only rebel using what the Father provides.)–and she said something about being ready to go. Just then the house phone rang, and I knew who she’d been talking to.

We have a rule that we do not answer the phone during dinner, and despite the warfare Mrs. Caldo kept calm and carried on. It went to voicemail as I went into Tina and Liz’s room. Tina was sitting on her bed, glaring into her Bible. (My wonderful firstborn; stubborn as sin, but after my own heart.)

“Who was that?” It’s a good idea to start confrontations with questions to which you already know the answer.

“Grandma.” she blazed. Stoking the fires of self-righteousness for five hours will have that effect; Bible or no. Another chip off the old block.

“Do you think you’re leaving?” I knew this answer too.

“Daddy, I don’t want to live here anymore! You’re an emotional bully!” More school talk.

“No, you have a stiff-neck, and would rather be angry than admit you were wrong.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“Yes, you did. If you really don’t know, and if you had any sense, you’d have talked to your mother.”

“No, this is between you and me.”

Now, that stoked my anger. I stood from my repose against the door frame, stepped into the center of the room, and drew myself up to my own airy heights.

“Are we equals? Do you think to confront me man to man, CHILD?”

I want to stop here for a moment to make clear, dear readers, that I was not confronting just my daughter, but Legion; who she has contracted through school, movies, advertisements, and the rest of the propaganda machine that rules in America.

My phone rang. It was Mrs. Caldo’s father. I answered it in front of Tina.

“Yes.”

“Hey, listen: what’s going on over there? Tina says you’re not letting her eat.” I could hear the wind blowing by car windows.

“Tina can eat any time she wants. All she has to do is apologize.”

“You’re starving her?”, he asked incredulously, and ignorantly.

I answered with silence. Once, when I was younger, I had called him out in the front yard to whip his ass…and would have. He had the good sense to stay indoors. The neighbors still laugh about it every once in awhile, but it’s a mark of shame on my record. For my penance, whenever I conflict with him, I keep my mouth shut.

He tired of the quiet, and asked, “Well, look, is that all?”

“Yes.”

“All right. She sure is upset.”

“I’m aware.”

“All right then. Goodbye.”

I said nothing and hung up. To Tina I said, “That was your grandparents. They’re not coming.” Her face fell through the floor.

“Tina, do you know the story of Cain and Abel?”

“Well, yeah, but I’m not mad at Liz. You’re the one who’s being pissed off.” That was a bit of passive-aggressive daring on Tina’s part. “Pissed off” is a verboten phrase in the house…unless I say it, which is…uncommon. (Probably not uncommon enough.) It was an attempt to reframe the confrontation from one of her challenging my authority and her need of repentance, to one of general disagreement, i.e., “we just don’t get along”. Any woman can tell you there’s no need to fix a problem of “not getting along”. It told me that now she’s trying to fight to a stalemate. It also confirmed that she’d lost her damn mind in her inner heat. I ignored the rhetorical skirmish to win the battle.

I motioned to her Bible. “Go to Genesis 4, and start reading. I’ll tell you when to stop.”

Flustered by the sudden turn to the Bible (That was supposed to be her personal source of justification, and she could feel that I was about to flip the sword out of her hand.)

She mumbled:

4 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.

“Sounds like you, doesn’t it?”, I asked.

“Well, sort of.”

“Keep reading.”

She went on:

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

“This is the path you’re on, Tina. Your sin, anger, is crouching at the door, and it will eat you up if you do not rule over it.” She started to cry.

“But I don’t know what I did wrong!”

“You got an attitude while I was correcting your sister. Then you made a big show of my rejection of your selfish offer to fix the problem..”

“I wasn’t being sel-”

“Yes, you were. You got all melodramatic, acting like a martyr. Don’t you think I could have ordered your sister to make more pancakes? I wanted her to figure out that her laziness and inattention to detail was what caused the problem; not the pancakes. You interfered with that, and in your ignorance and arrogance you derailed the whole process of her learning. On top of that, you got an attitude, and made a big show of defiance by refusing food.”

By this point, she was truly sobbing.

“Tina, you get so wrapped up in your own feelings that you don’t know what you’re doing…like saying ‘pissed off’.” She looked scared at my mention of her words, but I just continued. “This is why I’m always on your ass about keeping your head, and not getting corrupted by the self-esteem crap they feed you at school. Now you’ve gotten you’re grandparents involved, and are trying to move out. You realize that is a one way trip, don’t you?” My use of “ass” let her know that I would not hold her words against her without officially approving of what she said.

She grabbed me in a hug and said, “I’m sorry, Daddy. I don’t know why I keep doing this.”

“I forgive you.”

“I don’t know why I don’t learn.”

“Oh you’re learning. This is what learning feels like.”

We hugged for awhile, and she asked me, “How do you always know the right verses to read? It’s like magic.”

“By doing what you were doing when I came in. You read it, and you store it up for later use. Now go eat your dinner. When you’re done with that, call your grandparents and apologize; for all our sakes.”

“I will…Daddy?”

“What?”

“Will you eat with me?”

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44 thoughts on “Will You Eat With Me?

  1. I love this story. I love how it makes me recall similar showdowns, not all ending as tidily as that, some better, some worse. I love how it reminds me of the time my oldest at 14 told me, late at night, driving on Rt 59 in NE Texas, family asleep save her and I, “Dad, you’re my hero”.
    If I could share here why she said that it would mean all the more, but choose not to.

  2. Tina and Liz sound like our 17-year-old twins, whom we’ll call Kate and Carly. Carly is lazy with no attention to detail. Except instead of TV, she likes to lie around devouring the latest James Patterson novel. Like your Liz, Carly is always genuinely perplexed about what she did wrong. She always under preps food for our family of 7, too.

    Kate gets an attitude of indignation on Carly’s behalf when we correct her twin sister. Makes you wonder if there’s a master called of “types of teenage girls” somewhere.

    Good day.

  3. @Empath

    Thanks. Yes, most of them end better, and some of them worse. There’s one “unforgivable” sin: yelling at Mrs. Caldo. The three oldest of the kids have all been slapped at some point. It is my experience that being a 11 to 13-year old girl causes a serious deficiency in sense.

    @Elspeth

    Makes you wonder if there’s a master called of “types of teenage girls” somewhere.

    Teenage girls? Haha! This story was about husbandry; it’s about women as a whole. Particularly since nearly everyone since 1950 has been left as children instead of raised to be adults. But even in ages before ours, girls did not mature the same as boys. In our times (because of our social malaise) we say that women mature faster than men. It’s never considered that in one sense men have much farther to go, and that in another sense women don’t truly start their maturation until they have children. For those women who actually raise their children: motherhood busts through the hymen of female self-regard like a baby rips into the world. A tearing has to take place, first. It’s the blessed curse.

    The line between husband and father is like the borders between nations: real, but invisible; a true figment of the imagination. Depending which side of the line you’re on there are different rights and responsibilities, but the landscape is identical. Therefore the methods of navigation are the same.

  4. I don’t know why I don’t learn.”

    “Oh you’re learning. This is what learning feels like.”

    The most awesome two sentences in the story.

    This brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you for sharing. Your family is so blessed.

  5. “For those women who actually raise their children: motherhood busts through the hymen of female self-regard like a baby rips into the world. A tearing has to take place, first. It’s the blessed curse.”

    Yes. I believe this is one of the reasons that there are so many completely self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish, immature women who are wives and mothers now, even in Christian circles. They have left the real day to day care of their children, which brings Godliness, sanctification and maturity in Christ, to others for a small wage. They are no longer afforded the blessing or the immense responsibility of motherhood. They have sold it and they are totally unaware, thinking that part-time motherhood will avail them the same spiritual results as the drudgery and joy of full-time wife and mother.

    It begins in childbirth itself, physically, many times when the woman purposefully chooses to “sleep”, medicated into oblivion, through labor and much of the birth. There is no tearing; physically or spiritually, as you say. She has attempted to “redeem” HERSELF from the curse by using modern medicine, and calling it “God’s will”, when it clearly is not the safest way to desire (no offense to the emergency c-section moms) to birth a child – with every chemical in symbiotic harmony as God designed and bonding as God designed perfectly between mother, father and child.

    Physical birth and “born again /Christian re-birth” should both make a bit of a mess of a person, IMHO…. (smile).

  6. @STE

    I am glad you liked it.

    The most awesome two sentences in the story.

    My personal favorites were: “Daddy? Will you eat with me?” Her unprompted recognition that I had waited for her, and that she wanted to be with me. Bea-U-ti-ful.

  7. I humbly decline your invitation, at least on the occasion you mention.

    Your account is broken into three sections:

    1) The inattentiveness or lazyness of Liz.

    2) The martyrdom of Tina.

    3) Your own reaction.

    First, one thing my father instilled in me was to “pay attention to what you are doing” at all times. I can understand your frustration at young Liz.

    Second, Tina thought she was protecting her sister from a brutish thug, and by doing so she would gain self worth. Possible thuggishness aside, we all seek value in ourselves, and her adolescent flailings will, with time, become more coordinated, we can hope. The problem wasn’t her martyrdom. Most leaders see themselves as martyrs fighting for a lost cause: teachers, politicians, put-upon Christian men who feel a loss of respect in a feminized world, etc… The problem was in the manner of her expression of martyrdom. She faught the law. As to whence such awkward flailings, I can look to the source: “What, I wondered, have I done to deserve such faithless children?” Nothing at all, you tireless martyr, you.

    Last, the tree which spawns such colorful fruit. This can get a bit rambling, so,
    before I begin, I will state my caveat, my thesis, and the theory upon which I
    base these ramblings.

    Caveat: concerning parenting, I am a neophyte; however, concerning the pedogogy of teens, I’ve picked up a little here and there.

    Thesis: Caldo turned an otherwise crisp moment of child-centered pedogogy into a muddled glob of parent-centered appeal to authority.

    Theory: This is a nifty bit I picked up from someone smarter than me when studying Roman law. You can tell what political battles are being fought (that is to say where things are without firmness or strength) by examining what issues have the most appeals. If a time period sees many laws being passed concerning the behavior of slaves, one can assume that the powers that were could not well-govern their slaves’ behavior. That said, one who so frequently appeals to authority is one who struggles to maintain authority. A good president need not remind people of his status; a good teacher need not employ the “I am the teacher here” style discipline; and a good father need not, except on the absolute utmost necessity, remind a child that he is the father. Teaching and discipline should suffice.

    Utmost necessity: running into a busy street.

    Less than utmost necessity: pancake martyrdom.

    Your many appeals to authority strike this new reader as a bit self-centered rather than helping your children learn. When you reinforce your Liz’s need to follow a line of reasoning that would provide the logical conclusion of “I wasn’t thinking” or “I was being lazy,” you need not draw atention to yourself: reminding her that “I’M asking the questions here.” Simply redirect her stumbing to the question itself: “What do you mean?” She asks. “Just answer me; you will see.” This will allow her to maintain logical course. Moreover, this reinforces your confidence in your reasoning, a confidence she will pick up on, which garners that respect necessary for implicit authority. Furthermore, this keeps her focus on the question and not on you or her fear of you, which is just good pedogogy.

    You present yourself as an extremely confrontational man. You draw attention to the times you interupt a child’s statement or thought process. It is as if you expect your thoughts to be enough for them. However, their learning process should not be about you. Include you? Yes. Bolstered by you? Yes. Guided by you? Yes. Lead by you? No. They lead their own thoughts, at least they should once they are old enough to make pancakes. Tina’s defense of her sister against the brute, as well as her confrontational repsonse of “this is between you and me” make perfect sense as the progeny of a man who half-brags about being able to win a fight with his father-in-law (half-bragging with the necessary would-be victor’s regret tacked on the end).You make it clear you could have “ordered” her sister to make more pancakes. Not asked, but ordered. Why not asked? What’s wrong with starting off polite? Why make explicit your engendered authority? You show your hand in this as a man whose authority, for whatever reason, resides not in respect but position. Both would be best, with the latter implicit.

    You openly cry out for authority, asking, “Are we equals? Do you think to confront me man to man, CHILD?” You imply that you attack only a pigsty. However, you must accept that, right or wrong, that is Tina’s pigsty. To dismiss it as something tertiary to her being is to dismiss her. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to examine our youth’s declining influences in earnest, but the fight is not won by shouting that they should just clip it away like a hangnail. Sorry, brother. You were contfronting legion and your daughter. You were not simply coarse to one and not the other.

    With that said, I understand the above. What I don’t understand is what follows:

    Why was it wrong for Liz not to set a plate for Tina? She could be supporting her father’s decision. Perhaps this is unclear to me.

    Why is it YOUR FOOD she must not touch? This is a false economy. Are you teaching your children to be slaves? (not hyperbole) Follow me… You might have sweat to produce the cash to buy the ingredients, but did not the wife sweat to buy them, did not the child sweat to make them? Are we not entitled to ownership of our labor? When you demand ownership of all labors within your fealty, you remove the ability to take pride in ownership of one’s work. Why should Liz give a damn about making enough pancakes or making them correctly. In this matter, you train slaves. Or, at least, communists.

    The irony of the phone is this: how is a child to rebel any other way when a father views all within his sight as his?

  8. Job….you are painfully naive, and for all the talk of pedagogy, you need some decent schoolin’.

    Are you a freshly minted educrat?

    The irony of the phone is this: how is a child to rebel any other way when a father views all within his sight as his?

    THIS is the question you need answered. I can recommend 66 books that will help.

  9. Between the post of songtwoeleven and her overdone besmirching of women who have babies in hospital with medications (my wife had 4 kids, 3 w/ zero meds, so this is not defensiveness) to Jobs “Best of Modern Child Psychology” lecture, I feel a post on child birthing (Dare I? I’m male) and rearing churning.

  10. @Elspeth

    Yes, sorry. It just made me actually laugh. Not at you, but just at the situation.

    @Empath

    Between the post of songtwoeleven and her overdone besmirching of women who have babies in hospital with medications

    If I understood STE, she was speaking of the fact that from birth to adulthood we have removed the work that women should be doing, and that such work would do them good. More specifically on the medication tip, I read her as speaking specifically of the C-section fad.

    to Jobs “Best of Modern Child Psychology” lecture

    You saw that, too, did you?

    @Job

    First: This is actually a story, related almost verbatim. It’s revelatory, not instructive.

    Second: You are the only person to comment on my “wonder of faithless children”; which was italicized for emphasis. Good work, and I’m glad someone got the irony, but I’m disappointed you missed that I intended it. I’ll have to work on that.

    Third: We have some fundamental disagreements. Foremost among them is the idea that you believe I should be trying to guide an individual. I’m not. I’m raising a daughter to be a future wife. Your view is fundamentally temporal, while I’m threatening multi-generational warfare against the forces of darkness and liberalism…but I repeat myself. That this strikes you as brutish is a compliment to my sensibilities. My appeals and reinforcement to the precepts of authority are necessary because everyone around them is shouting for individualism; that is: chaos; that is: nihilism.

    You were confronting legion and your daughter. You were not simply coarse to one and not the other.

    Indeed: I meant it no other way. Women are the fairer sex, not gentle creatures. More to the point: What makes you think that a daughter desires a brutish father any less than she wants to bang a bad-boy husband? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Tina would very much like me to dine with her. Here’s to hoping that she gets an uncivilized (by current standards) husband!

    Why is it YOUR FOOD she must not touch? This is a false economy. Are you teaching your children to be slaves?

    You’re misunderstanding the dynamics of the relationship. She’s not my coworker. At this point, in a very real way, she’s threatening to not even be my daughter. My response was, in fact, to recognize her exercising of personal choice. If she leaves, what remains belongs to me, and what belongs to me belongs to those who are with me, and I give freely. In this, I take after my Master, whose yoke is easy, and whose burden light, but you do have to put on the yoke. One does not get a Heavenly mansion on the separated shores of Hell.

    Why should Liz give a damn about making enough pancakes or making them correctly.

    Because she is a woman. They make lousy capitalists, but excellent helpmeets. They generally thrive on being recognized for excellence by the person to whom they are in submission. The italicized part is important. Even (especially, perhaps) women in the workplace are driven more by their desire to please than their desire to earn.

    The irony of the phone is this: how is a child to rebel any other way when a father views all within his sight as his?

    Simple: By departing from me.

  11. @Job

    I forgot to answer this question:

    Why was it wrong for Liz not to set a plate for Tina? She could be supporting her father’s decision. Perhaps this is unclear to me.

    “Wrong” is the wrong word, I think. She should hope that her sister will be reconciled to me, and act on that hope. She should know that I am serious about discipline precisely for the reason of bringing them back to me. For the record, I didn’t say anything to Liz about it because I assumed that it was a misguided effort to support me. She is my daughter, and therefore a reflection of my bad habits and choices, as well as the good.

  12. @empathologism:

    “Job….you are painfully naive…”
    &
    “Are you a freshly minted educrat?”

    Seems as though you are picking a fight or at least telling me I’m not welcome here. Unfortunately, the blogosphere is trenches, not tubes.

    “THIS is the question you need answered. I can recommend 66 books that will help.”

    From this, I understand you have read books. However, your reticence provides me no aid in understanding you.

    @cane

    I apologize. I did not intend to call you a brute, nor do I imagine you one. I imagine you a man acting out of love at the core of your discipline. However, from what you posted, I infer that you are THE brute in Tina’s life, from Tina’s perspective.

  13. There is a fine line here between support of the father and peevish glee in stepping on your sister. That being said I didn’t get that she was stepping on her sister. But that may be because I didn’t view it.

  14. Pingback: Her rebel yell, “Moore, Moore, Moore”, “Russelling” up a secular edition | Feminism is Empathological

  15. @cane

    “My appeals and reinforcement to the precepts of authority are necessary because everyone around them is shouting for individualism; that is: chaos; that is: nihilism.”

    Well said. Agreed. However, I believe our dispute resides in the methods, not the intended results. The more you need assert your authority, as in actually stating in one way or another, “I am the authority,” the more you distract. Authority should serve a purpose, not vice-versa.

    “What makes you think that a daughter desires a brutish father any less than she wants to bang a bad-boy husband?”

    Of course I agree she will likely look to fill whatever hole is left in a father’s absence. However, I see just as many selfish bad-boys (not you, per se) doing what they can rather than what they should as I see limp-dick sensitives vocalizing what we should do while doing jack-all. In her burgeoning ignorance, I hope she finds other options. I don’t what to resurrect the cowboy or the feudal lord. Furthermore, I am so glad the hippie died. Masculinity is awash in a feminized world. What we have now doesn’t work well for either gender. Can we offer a solution that is neither “be yourself” nor “tuck your genitalia away?” Can we find a manhood that can scale today’s landscape without sitting at camp pining away for previous climbs? That is the question I want answered.

    “At this point, in a very real way, she’s threatening to not even be my daughter.”

    I am confused on this point. When she was sulking, and you referred to the pancakes as your food, you did not seem aware that she had called her grandmother. Do you imply that sulking in itself implies disownership? I am a grown man, and I sulk from time to time. Your cigarette break was likely a break for quite, calming introspection (i.e. sulking). I am simply confused by your response. Nonetheless, I think we disagree on the gender divide when it comes to the ownership of labor. While it may be true that many young girls seek mainly to please, not all do. Many of my female students genuinely want to improve their skillset for the sake of betterment alone – too many to call them aberrations.

    Finally:
    “Best of Modern Child Psychology”
    I am no child psychologist nor to I pretend to be one. Phrases like these serve a specific purpose: to quickly label and divide. Once someone is labeled (gun nut, liberal, baby-killer, right-wing wingnut, etc…), you may then ignore them as one who doesn’t get it and never will. If that is your intent, I will back away. Enjoy the circle-jerk resume. However, perhaps you sought to use the above oversimplification to be a bit cheeky with the one who spawned it, seeing as you proceeded to engage the Modern Child Psychologist with measure and intellect.

  16. @Cane Caldo: Yes, you were tracking with me regarding the relative “ease” that women desire in being a woman, wife and mother in modern society. Nothing should be difficult, or work, or a challenge. I was specifically referring to the modern attempt to “escape” (redeem onesSELF vs. God’s redemption) from childbirth by asking for or demanding an elective C-Section (so as not to “ruin” the vagina) or the woman who labors while entirely asleep due to the cocktail of meds she insists upon having in her IV, in order that she not “experience ANY pain”.

    There are great spiritual lessons available to women birthing and raising children sans “modern” ease (elective C-Sections, narcotic IV drips in healthy laboring women, Nannies for their little ones while they “work”, etc.). They are missing out, and so are their families.

    That’s all I was saying. I was agreeing; there is the avoidance of “mess” and “work” and “tearing” – as you said. Because their is no wind, there are no roots in these women’s spirits.

  17. I lead different teens and children every week. I find that this kind of process really works well, keeps the drama out of things. I find that the kids are often eager to help out because of the methods I use, they are more willing to work and try new things.

    My suggestion would be to try doing something different. Try explaining things a different way. Show her how to figure out how many people she’s going to feed, and how to calculate it. Encourage her for effort and explain calmly how to do a better job next time.

    Frankly, of course she’s going to screw up. She can’t do anything else. It’s part of the nature of human learning. There are some people, rare people, who figure things out quickly but most people only learn by imitation and experience.

    Since you know she’s likely to screw up, next time before you give her a set of orders, lay down the parameters of them; give her some idea of what you want with greater clarity. Say “Okay, so how many pancakes are you going to make” for example. When she tells you, you say “how big will you make them?” Stuff like that. Have your wife make her use a recipe book and remind her how to use one.

    To be really blunt, if during your confrontation she says “I don’t know what I did wrong” and you tell her and clearly give her a consequence for that in spite of the fact she didn’t seem to know–then that’s a problem with your leadership, not with her. When the Bible says that he who spares the rod hates his son it does not merely refer to discipline, though that’s part of it. It refers to guidance, making it cleear that people know what is expected of them and what consequences there are for them.

  18. From this, I understand you have read books. However, your reticence provides me no aid in understanding you.

    From this I can tell you have not read the one most important book.

  19. @GKC

    Tina definitely has an overall arrogance problem. She’s accomplished so these things happen, but recently it’s been affecting her whole life. If I had written out the whole sequence of discussions over the past several weeks it would literally be a book.

    @SScribe

    This is a story, not an instruction manual. It’s a story about when shit goes bad over pancakes. Pancakes. Sometimes women just want to create a crisis because they’re bored, and sometimes children just lose their minds. It should be accepted on its face that it’s not a story about daily life or proper instruction.

    I’ve learned a bit about my readers, though.

  20. or the woman who labors while entirely asleep due to the cocktail of meds she insists upon having in her IV, in order that she not “experience ANY pain”.

    As was I tracking you, I got the metaphor, but take issue with part of its content, ie., exactly what you restate above. Its not complicated….I disagree with the inference, even contained in a metaphor that makes a legitimate observation about how people are with regard to avoiding spiritual growth through trial. Sometimes things really are simple. The hyperbole with which you draw the comparison reveals a belief set that i disagree with profoundly.

  21. empathologism:

    I am not being deliberately dense here. I honestly do not know what “belief set” or mindset that it is that you disagree with profoundly.

    It doesn’t really matter, though, for apparently we must agree to disagree, as I am disinterested in argument.

  22. “From this I can tell you have not read the one most important book.”

    Of course I have read Elements of Style – a couple of times, in fact.

    In all seriousness, I have, focusing on particular sections in addition to reading it as a whole. However, I missed the allusion in the “66 books” comment. No, I did not tally them in my reading. Furthermore, the count is off in my house; we are a Catholic household. Regardless, I admit my inability to recall the number of all in the canon; recite each of their names, in order; or spout off verses from rote memory. My inadequacies arise from a lack of Sunday school in my youth, not from illiteracy.

    I find it odd that I have responded to your comments to my replies, not to clarify nor to refute points of conflict, but rather to do my best to clear up your assumptions concerning me. I really am not that important; why don’t we discuss the issues at hand?

  23. “she’s threatening to not even be my daughter.”- No, actually, she didn’t threaten to do this until you said “Don’t eat MY food.” Before that, she was just acting like a martyr still. And it doesn’t matter- I don’t seem to recall a point in the story of the prodigal son where the Father told him at any point that what the Father had wasn’t his. The son decided for a while he didn’t want it, and then we decided he did, it was his. The Father never said – “You can’t have this” the son said, “I don’t want it.” So if you’re going for acting like God with this one, I would do the giving the whole time, and let Tina decide when she doesn’t want y’all’s food.

    Although I can understand wanting her to say sorry. It’s verbage of calling it yours and yours alone that doesn’t make sense to me here.

    [CC: Please pick a name and stick to it.]

  24. “Those poor frozen sperm donors…”
    Indeed.

    @empathologism
    “Job, what are the issues at hand?”

    At this point, I think you are simply being obtuse. If not, then we lack a fundamental agreement as to what a discourse entails. You assume, label, and dismiss. The fruit here is sour and lacks nourishment.

  25. Cane, frankly from what I see of this example you did a lousy job, and you’re satisfied with how well you’re doing because she obeyed you. You control the resources, you are bigger and louder, so of course you got your way in the end.

    Your attitude about this incident disgusts me. I did not in any way suggest that you should not be leading your family, but I did say that you could be doing things more effectively. If what you would like to receive is simply congratulations on how you ended up creating the drama over the meal then you won’t get any from me. I despise bullying, and I’m calling you out as a bully in this example. If you honestly think this is imitating Christ you are lying to yourself.

  26. Job, I was not being obtuse at all. I was asking if you were on about Cane’s parenting story (a single issue) or something else…issueS. If there were some other things you’d like to discuss, I was making the query.
    I’ve done no labeling. You characterized something i said as labeling, then followed your own leading from there. I was, however, characterizing. I will now label and suggest something.

    If you’d ease up on being such a raging pompous ass then a discussion might actually break out. Know this, most of the people you will encounter here and elsewhere in our little sphere are not going to be impressed, and certainly not to the degree that you impress yourself. You wear your lexicon like some aristocratic coat of arms. You will not find easily impressed people here. Your opening remarks invite every manner of scorn because they were scornful. Elements of Style may keep the red marks off your pages but your style needs work.

    I do not run around picking silly debates with self important blow hards as a rule. I will use a term that I have never invoked…..not once, because it is over used. You are a mere troll. (more labeling)

    Dialog with us, do not condescend at us.

  27. @SScribe

    I didn’t get mere obedience. Read the title.

    As I’m typing this, I’m sitting on my bed. I can barely move because my wife and three of the four kids are jumbled all around us; so much so that Mrs. Caldo is trying to convince them to leave, but they’d rather just be here with us.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Your resort to the charge of “bullying” is telling; as the force of public sentiment is on your side, expressed as: “Dads are always to be sweet and gentle men, and children respond to instruction if Dad’s don’t screw it up.”

    No.

  28. Pingback: Stockholm Syndrome Blues | Things that We have Heard and Known

  29. Not sure where Job is reading his parenthood manual, but for sure it was written in the last 40-50 years. Raising kids can’t be a touchy feely thing all the time: many times there will be conflict between being the child’s friend and being the child’s parent. At the risk of reading too much into Job’s words, he strikes me as the type to value friendship and self esteem over parenthood.

    A point around CC and his daughters that he mentions: he’s training them to be future Christian wives worthy of Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5. But today, as rebellious teens, they’re definitely not there yet. So CC can be their friend at times, but it’s far more important that he is their father and that he models the leadership and authority the girls should be looking for in their own potential husbands when they get to that age. Which is not all that far away…

  30. “freshly minted educrat”

    “I can tell you have not read the one most important book”

    “raging pompous ass”

    “self important blow hard”

    “troll”

    “parenthood manual”

    “he strikes me as the type to value friendship and self esteem over parenthood”

    …and nary a question asked or specific point debated. This group cannot know one like me, an inquisitive mind, a seeker. Existence of a concept for the likes of these is predicated upon positional ethics. In this mindset, ethics cannot be sought or refined, only positioned as for or against as quickly as possible. Such is the way of a wartime economy. A villian is needed.

    I should dine elsewhere.
    Judges 19:22

  31. @JI

    [bunch of labeling]…and nary a question asked or specific point debated.

    I don’t think this is true. It would be more correct to say that many of the specific points (the labels) raised are not what you want to talk about. Though, we can say pretty definitively that they’re off the topic of the post. Furthermore: SojournerScribe has basically tracked with you on my errors–real or perceived–and for my part I’ve addressed your points of criticism and questions. Whether for weal or woe is for you to judge.

    One thing I’ve learned is that there is a tendency to get impatient with the growing process of knowledge (I’m horrible about this.) The truth is that it’s silly for us to put a seed into the ground, and expect it to flower immediately. I’ve seen it in the blogs I comment on: One day I’m battling six people over one of their cherished concepts; three months later I’m being aped by my biggest critics. They don’t even know it happened, and I’m incredulous it did!

    My suggestion is to write about what you want to write about, and ignore what you don’t. If you don’t want to ignore it: then do it with gusto! I’d rather you write that I’m a brute and then apologize (totally accepted, but not at all necessary), than to just not say anything. Especially if you’re a seeker.

    I would also encourage you that in response to labels you do the work for them, and see what they’re getting at. I do a lot of people’s thinking for them, in my conversations. That sounds arrogant as Hell, and sometimes I’m wrong, but a lot of time the process itself makes me better at it understanding what they’re trying to say. Answering the charges with the equivalent of “That’s not fair!” may be right, but it goes nowhere. That is the intent of such charges. Overcome them by asking yourself, “Is it true?”, and then fight accordingly.

    As asshole-ish as these things can get, there is no dead girl on the doorstep yet, and you may still save her.

    By the way: The title was chosen because it was my favorite event from the story. You might just be using it as a rhetorical flair, but you’ve mentioned it twice now and I can see the possible confusion. It was not an invitation to eat with me, or to do as I do. It’s a story. It’s a true and emotional story, but it’s still a story.

  32. @cane

    “SojournerScribe has basically tracked with you on my errors–real or perceived–and for my part I’ve addressed your points of criticism and questions.”
    Agreed. My issues stems from the attitudes of the company you keep, aside from the nicer folk. Coincidentally, the sparring I desire is with the others. Rather than sparring, however, I keep getting punched in the dick. I am posting this now out of respect for you.

    “The truth is that it’s silly for us to put a seed into the ground, and expect it to flower immediately.”
    Agreed. Education is less dependent on whether you are listened to than it relies on being remembered.

    “It was not an invitation to eat with me, or to do as I do.”
    Granted. Though my first reference was a cheap attempt at a clever jab, the second was more fitting.

    @the rest

    Self indulgence to follow:

    You want me here. Or, at least, you want those like me here, if your purpose be to raise an army, shift a paradigm, or to be allowed to state what is obvious to those with eyes to see. I would warn you to be careful when quickly dismissing those whose views differ (the labeling does this). I do not require agreement, merely a response to issues raised rather than ad hominem isolation.

    On being a freshly minted educrat: bingo. I have been teaching high-school for three years. If the “crat” suffix refers to the horribly structured framework within which I work, then this is also true. Soldiers must fight, no matter how difficult the terrain. However, I chose to teach after a decade and a half of working in other careers. This is not a fallback job. I am good at what I do, despite administration’s attempts to alter my course.

    On diction (or the lexicon referenced above): I get the feeling that no matter my style, this is open to attack by the very nature of the venue. If I used uneducated verbage, then I would be told to read a book; if erudite, then I must live in an ivory tower. I will not apologize for writing in what style comes naturally to me after years of education, nor should I. With some family members I put on an uneducated air, out of deference, but this requires too much effort to do when analyzing and typing. Note my various typos; this style comes natural to me.

    On parenthood manuals, modern psychology, etc…: You have me confused with my wife. One cannot be in any room without seeing some form of baby book. She has read them all, and each has a contradictory response to any given situation. If left to her own devices, she would drive herself insane. She requires my emotional intervention and practical direction quite often. (I cannot deny that the women I have known rely on male leadership; I only disagree on the finer points of the application of said leadership.) Though keeping my son alive (my primary job at this point in his life) has been so much labor, the work itdelf has been far less complicated than various marketing departments would have my wife believe.

    On self-esteem: self esteem is by definition a lie. Rewards are for effort and accomplishments, never for feelings. This is true of my students as well as my son; he is to be competent and unselfish, should I complete my duty as his father. Vapid reinforcement of self-perception runs contrary to my goal.

    On Christiandom: I am an atheist. Granted, depending on the day of the week, I may explore notions of the godhead and the importance of belief, and I may struggle with whether or not I believe in some Spinozan Entity (the Christians I know love to remind me that this is a start). However, such a dimly-lit concept is far from a god who moves, which is far from a god who prefers, which is even farther from a god who prescribes, which is even farther from a god who loves. So, instead of mincing words, I prefer atheist to sometimes-agnostic. As to why, early on in life I found solace in the trappings of religion, but faith was another matter. Nietzsche warns that one should not break with tradition lightly. I could not agree more. Hence, my son is being raised in the church, which is the American default. Just as one, regardless of beliefs, should refrain from raising a daughter to be feminist, I will not raise my son to begin life at odds with society. Of my atheism, Paul warns that one under the God’s Law is not beholden to the Law. Perhaps this is a place of law, with discourse a tertiary matter. If so, if this is an insular blog, then I should not be here.

    I am not leaving yet. I search for an answer: with masculinity is awash in a feminized world, can we find a manhood that can scale today’s landscape without sitting at camp pining away for previous climbs?

    If this be a coven, then keep it esoteric, brothers. If this be a forge, then let us strike iron on iron.

  33. Bad typo: Paul warns that one under the God’s Law is not beholden to the Law.
    Should be: Paul warns that one NOT under the God’s Law is not beholden to the Law.

  34. OK Job, thank you for that, sincerely. I am not the host, but I know the host and I am sure he will also be glad you’ve opened up a bit, and we will do likewise.
    You will not get any sort of condescension from me about your beliefs, if you see the feminizing of our culture as you seem to (and the reference to your wife driving herself insane is in itself telling about your view) then, welcome again.
    Those outside of education do not often use the term pedagogy, so it was a lucky guess.
    Interestingly, it nearly became my fall back career in the mid 2000’s, and would have been preferred vocationally if it would have afforded sufficient resources to maintain the family (and that is not a nod to hyper consumption, just a fact with 4 kids and a stay at home wife it would not do)
    I think the issue that brought you in may be the wrong one for us to have started on, though from my standpoint I would submit that the observations and indictments you made on Cane’s parenting efficacy or technique at least would be contributory to the atmosphere of feminization we live in. But I don’t have the formal training to debate that in terms of pedagogy, or psychology or whatever discipline you may invoke. So….its my opinion, and I’m not prone to debate unless I have something real to offer.

    There will be more topics, stick around, follow the blog roll links, lots of stuff you may find interesting.

    Pass the potatoes please….

  35. @empathologism

    My only discipline hard-fought purpose tempered by literature, honed by philosophy, and, as with most men of quality, enkindled by women – most often a woman, though, after my son’s birth, woman has come to symbolize family itself.

    My manuals range from books with dragons or spaceships on the cover on the one hand to Heraclitus and Foucault on the other. Somewhere in the middle, at the heart, are the texts that matter most: Tolstoy, Melville, Auden, Hopkins, and the sundry mythologies, which fools consider to be mere stories but wise men know to be warnings.

  36. Shame…. no chemistry, physics, or math references in there. Its not possible to understand the world without them present to some degree, though it is possible to to misunderstand it with eloquence. Even Asimov wrote “Quasar Quasar Burning Bright”, an astronomy/astrophysics book, in addition to the books with spaceships on them, and Foundation and the rest.

  37. “Shame…. no chemistry, physics.”

    Ha! Not wanting to by any means proclaim myself a polymath or seem presumptuous, I tend to withold this bit: I did study Chemistry and Biology by choice in college. For the sheer hell of it I took Calc I & II, Chem I & II, and Bio I & II, despite being advised to rely on Geology (Rocks for Jocks) to fill in credit gaps. My room was where Engineering majors hung out on Thursdays before tests; I suppose I have always been a teacher. Alas, with a strange combination of moving between colleges, dialysis, and scheduling a kidney transplant, I dropped the double major and finished with a B.A. in English. Please don’t ask me to recall anything beyond the surface theory of the above disciplines. It has been a while. It might interest you to know what I did pick up in my learnin’:

    Applied Math (that is to say, Science) is more interesting than labwork with forgone conclusions and disinterested grad students.

    The Van Der Waals equation is quite fun to derive if you are bored, drunk, pissed at a girlfriend, and have hours to kill.

    Titrations suck after about your 100th logarithm. Labwork was simply not for me.

    Linus Pauling is a pimp.

    If I have to explain how to tare and what it does to you, or if I have to remind you or its existence, you are likely a premed student.

    Calc II is essentially Calc I with Trig, which is to say it is Hell itself, which is a tautalogy.

    Thermodynamics does not play well with others.

    And finally, if your particular “science” has the word “Science” in it, it is in all likelyhood not science: Social Science, Political Science, etc… Real science is calculation; everything else is taxonomy.

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