Monday, July 02, 2007

Dangerous Dads of Boys

Recently, I purchased a copy of Hal Iggulden's Dangerous Book for Boys for my 10-year old. It has plans for tree houses, knot-tying, and even a section on grammar. Iggulden has a great essay in the Washington Post entitled, ”In Praise of Skinned Knees and Grubby Faces." And, from The Weekly Standard, Boys Will Be...
...pleased by this garden of earthly delights

I am fortunate to come from an era and place similar to that of Iggulden, and to share the experience of having a father, like his, who could fix nearly anything, pinched pennies and lived within a family budget (a la The Great Depression), and could make a toaster shine and last for decades. In his retirement village apartment, he still has a workbench in a back room, replete with an iron vice/anvil (!). At 87, he is my compleat man.

What prompted this post, however, was something that the Musical Monk said in a comment on Aramis' review of Evan Almighty. "After the flood, all the colors came out -- Sir Bono," says he. Hmmm, colors came out ... Colors came out. Aha! -- Calvin's Dad! thinks I.

Dads can -- and should be seens, perhaps, by sons -- as "dangerous" too. Caveat -- Not in a sacrificial, abusive, fearful way. Nope. Rather, dangerous as in knowing a few things, because the "Old Man" or "Gaffer" (as Sam Gamgee calls his father) has been around the block a few times. He's been through the School of Hard Knocks. He is a survivor.

And we see perhaps the greatest exemplar of the art of fatherhood in Calvin's Dad. Not perfect (see illustration above), but capable of helping Calvin not to be too "cocky" and to see the wonders of existence. In the linked conversations with Calvin, note especially When the world was still black and white. You go, Dangerous Dads ...


David Nybakke said...

Someone say anvil? If you got an anvil you must have run into an anvil salesman named Hill.

swissmiss said...

My husband had known about the "Dangerous Book for Boys" for some time, but thought it was out of print. Then, we stumbled across it at Sam's Club. Great book, good clean fun. Well, maybe not so clean as much of it is "Tim the Toolman Taylor" kind of things where you get dirty making stuff, but heck that's the point of being a kid, right?

TYF said...

I just bought this book for my 11 year old son, and he absolutely loves it. Given that I didn't grow up with a childhood involving these kinds of activities, I'm enjoying it as much as he is.

I think the book is especially valuable for helping fathers and sons spend time doing "boy" things together. I highly recommend it.