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Mother’s Day Tips from the Rosary

 

 

As a mom who was confirmed as a Catholic at the age of 34, while 9 months pregnant with my second child, you would think that I would have been interested in learning the rosary. But as a former Methodist, I had my suspicions about the practice, so I managed to ignore it until my third child gave me one as a gift a few years ago.  I was surprised to learn that, despite its repetitive nature, the main focus is to meditate on scripture.  Recently, as I meditated on the “Joyful Mysteries”, I realized how perfectly these aspects of Mary’s life from the Bible offer wisdom and encouragement to mothers.  Here’s what I took away:

 

  1. Pregnancy sometimes catches us by surprise.  When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce she will carry the Savior, it must have been quite a shock for such a young girl. Pregnancies can be like that. They’re not always planned or convenient – they might come during a time of unemployment or when a marriage or relationship is struggling.  Statistics show that almost half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Sometimes they can be a shock to the mother and to those around her.  But despite the inconvenience, embarrassment and even danger of an unmarried pregnancy, Mary said yes to God’s gift, and thus gave a gift to the whole world.  How often do “surprise” babies end up being the joy of our lives?
  2. Moms need support.  After receiving the news, Mary quickly goes to see her cousin Elizabeth, who is also expecting.  Boy, do we need other moms. One of my dearest friends is also a lawyer, who has four kids to my three. We were pregnant at the same time, three times in a row (she had a bonus baby).  How wonderful it is to have other mom friends to listen to our joys, sorrows, stresses, worries, and crazy stories.  Mothers need to lean on each other, especially in today’s world where we are expected to do it all.
  3. Babies aren’t born on your schedule.  In the Bible, the Gospel of Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to take part in a census, where Jesus is inconveniently born in a stable.  Babies have a way of coming on their own timetable – early, late, or when your doctor is not on call.  Accepting your lack of control here is one of the first things you learn about being a mom.  Even if you think you’re ready to take that little life in your arms, you’re really not.  Your children will do things on their own schedule.
  4. People will say things about your children.  When Mary and Joseph present Jesus in the temple,  Simeon the prophet says that Jesus will cause the rise and fall of many in Israel and “a sword will pierce [Mary’s] soul also.”  From they day they are born, other people will say things about your children. They will speculate about gifts and talents. Others will speak gloom and doom.  People will say things about your children that will encourage them and uplift them, while others will hurt them, and hurt you, and they will pierce you to the heart.  As Elizabeth Stone said, being a mom means to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
  5. When kids grow up, they take paths we don’t always understand.  While on a trip to Jerusalem, 13-year-old Jesus gets separated from Mary and Joseph and stays in the temple for 3 days, talking to the rabbis about the Scriptures.  Mary and Joseph are scared, frustrated and unhappy when they realize he just went off to do this because he wanted to.  But Jesus doesn’t understand – “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  Even Mary, who surely had a better understanding of who Jesus was than most people, did not always understand what he was doing.  But she had to let him begin to make his own decisions about where his life was going to go, and she had to accept them.  Watching your children take those steps toward an adult life is both exciting and terrifying.  We always want to keep jumping in and directing and fixing things.  But after a certain point, it’s time to stand back and just cheer them on.  (Of course, I still keep my first aid kit ready as I’m standing on the sidelines). 

As my own children are all nearly grown, I am particularly thankful for Mary’s example of lifelong love and support for her Son. I’m also very proud of each of my children as they make their way into adulthood.  My prayer for all of us moms is that we will have the love and grace to be faithful mothers throughout our lives.  Happy Mother’s Day!

  

Gun Owners Hold the Key to Increased Safety

A little over a month has passed since the terrible shootings in Newtown, Conn.

After a brief period of national mourning, many of the usual attacks and counterattacks by gun control advocates and the National Rifle Association began. Just listening to the anger and hostility on both sides made me feel discouraged.  Still, I am hopeful that reasonable gun owners will participate in the debate and that politicians will find some common ground.

As many people are saying, the biggest question is this: How do we prevent dangerous people from gaining access to weapons that are privately owned? The shooter in Connecticut found weapons and ammo in his own house because his mother, who became his first victim, had legally purchased them.

It’s easy to blame Adam Lanza’s mother for allowing him access to those weapons. I’m sure she never imagined that her son would use those weapons against her, let alone innocent children. But he did. Regardless of the twisted reasons behind his actions, we can’t escape the fact that easy access to an arsenal made this tragedy possible.

A few years ago, one of my elderly relatives was diagnosed with dementia. He continued to live alone, for the most part. This man’s house was full of guns because he had been an avid hunter and gun collector before his illness. His son, who lived in another city, convinced his father to remove all the guns from his house. Given his father’s age and declining mental health, keeping guns in his house put him, and possibly others, at risk.

I have great respect for gun owners who are mature, responsible and well-trained, who take serious precautions to keep their guns away from children and others who could do harm, accidentally or otherwise. But many gun owners are lax in how they store their guns.

So here is my question: If you are a gun owner, where is your gun right now? Is it locked up? Is it out of sight? Who has access to it? Anyone with a bad temper? Anyone who drinks heavily? What about your teenage son’s reckless friends? Are you sure that you’ve taken proper precautions?

The issue of gun violence is a public health issue, just like cigarette smoking and car accidents. In the 1960s, about 42 percent of the population smoked. But thanks to education and regulation, today only about 19 percent of the population smokes, and researchers estimate that nearly 800,000 lives were saved as a result of this decline.   Similarly, in 1977 only about 12 percent of the population wore seat belts. By 2008, more than 83 percent were wearing seat belts. It is estimated that seat belt usage prevents more than 10,000 deaths per year in car accidents.

But those of us who were alive in the 1960s and 1970s remember how hard it was to change people’s attitudes and behavior toward smoking and seat belts. It took years of education and changing laws to require seat belt usage before the culture really shifted.

I believe the biggest hope to prevent future gun tragedies lies in the hands of today’s gun owners. Gun owners can help reduce gun deaths by tightly controlling who has access to their weapons.  Gun sellers can run sales on gun safes and offer deals on gun safety classes. The NRA could lead the charge in this area by pouring advertising money into commercials promoting responsible gun habits, rather than spending so much money fighting government regulation. I think we should allow research into the causes of gun deaths, and use the information gained to educate our citizens. These actions, together with better background checks and tighter controls on assault weapons and large magazines of ammo, could save countless lives.

Avoiding the Trap of Infidelity

For some reason I am always surprised and disappointed when another powerful man is exposed for having an extramarital affair.  Last week’s resignation by David Petraeus, the retired four-star general and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, demonstrated that even the most self-disciplined people can fail in this area.

I grew up being nearly oblivious to this kind of thing – one of my nicknames in high school was “Snow White”.  So it was quite a rude awakening in one of my first jobs as a young lawyer when I realized the senior associate whose office was next to mine was having an affair with his secretary, whose workstation was directly outside my door.  The view was inescapable.  All day long I would watch her trot in and out of his office, giggling, and see them leave work early to “go work out together.”  As the lowliest of associates I could do nothing but sit there and watch as this soap opera played out in front of me. I noticed the pictures of his wife and young child sitting prominently in his office.  The whole thing made me very uncomfortable.   Eventually, they were discovered and the secretary was fired, his career was damaged, and his marriage fell apart.

As I continued to work surrounded by both young and old male lawyers, I soon realized that there were some men I felt very comfortable with, and others I did not. Some men went out of their way to make me feel safe and respected, while others gave me the creeps.  My best friend and I, both very young, married female lawyers, began to talk about the differences in the men we worked with.  She had to work on a trial in West Texas for over three weeks with an older, attractive senior partner.  But the man made exceptional efforts to maintain appropriate boundaries and she never once felt uncomfortable. Even when they had to do pre-trial preparation in a Best Western motel room, he always left the door propped open and kept a respectful distance.  In contrast, I turned down a similar assignment because I simply didn’t trust the senior partner I would be travelling with.

In today’s workplace, we often spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our spouses.  Being human, it is normal to occasionally be attracted to a person we work with.  However, the cost of acting on those attractions can be devastating to both careers and families.  Because of these temptations, both men and women who want to maintain their integrity and keep their families intact must be proactive to avoid falling into the trap of infidelity.

First, set boundaries and keep them.  Years ago, when Billy Graham’s career as an evangelist began to take off, he realized that women would be attracted to him because of his fame and the emotional appeal of his messages.  He travelled frequently, but he made it a rule to never be alone with any woman other than his wife.  Members of his team even checked his hotel room before he went in for the night.  Some people might find these kinds of precautions laughable, but they are effective.

Second, don’t flirt.  Make an effort to keep workplace friendships strictly on a platonic basis.  We all know when we cross the line between friendly conversation and flirting.  Pay attention to your instincts.  If you feel that a situation is likely to lead you down the wrong path, don’t just walk away, run.  Also, if you are having a difficult time at home, do not start confiding in a coworker of the opposite sex.  You are just asking for trouble.

Third, keep your own marriage strong.  All marriages go through ups and downs, and what seem to be insurmountable problems can often be resolved with time, effort and patience.  Today there are countless books on marriage and relationships and free websites such as MarriageBuilders.com that can offer tips on strengthening your marriage.

Infidelity hurts careers and families, especially children, and often leads to embarrassment, pain, divorce, and financial problems.  It only makes sense to try to avoid it.  As an old proverb says, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?   . . . The man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.”  I’m sure David Petraeus wishes he’d thought about that a little earlier.

Why I’m Wearing Purple This Friday

I will be wearing purple this Friday, October 19.  Depending on whom you ask, I am either taking a stand against bullying of gay and lesbian teenagers, or I am supporting “the homosexual agenda.”  If you ask me, I will tell you that I am showing love and support for teens who have same-sex attractions and speaking out against violence and bullying.  Friday is Spirit Day, when Americans are asked to wear purple to “to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.”

 

Fr. James Martin, a prominent writer and Catholic priest, has called upon Catholics to wear purple on October 19 to show compassion for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, especially those who have been bullied or even driven to suicide.  Research shows that gay and lesbian teens are four times more likely than straight teens to attempt suicide, and gay teens with rejecting families are more than eight times more likely to attempt suicide as those whose families accept them. 

 

Being a teenager is hard, period.  Almost all of us remember what it was like to feel rejected because we were too thin, too fat, or had acne, or weren’t popular.  Everyone knows what it’s like to feel you don’t belong.  Just imagine how this must feel for gay and lesbian teens.  What a tragedy it is when these young people are bullied and mistreated, or when they believe that their only choice is to end their lives.

 

You may think it strange that a conservative Catholic Christian like me, who supports traditional families, would be wearing purple for this cause.  I don’t agree with many of the positions of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and I have deep concerns about same-sex marriage.  But I would never want a young person to believe that they deserve to be bullied or mistreated because they are attracted to people of the same sex.  As Fr. Martin has pointed out, The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that gays and lesbians are to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity,” and that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”  This is part of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.  In “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourages parents of gay and lesbian children not to reject their children, but to continue to offer love, support and understanding, even when they disagree with their choices.

 

The late evangelical author and speaker, Barbara Johnson, also spoke poignantly about this issue.  As a conservative Christian, she became estranged from her youngest son when she discovered that he was gay.  Her harsh reaction to him caused him to disappear from her life and disown his family.  However, after years of difficulty, they were eventually reconciled.  As a result of her own experience, Barbara spent years ministering to parents of homosexual children, encouraging them to offer love and not rejection.  She noted, “The greater sin in our church is that of neglect, fear, hatred, and just wanting to brush [gay] people aside.  We’ve wanted to push these people under the rug.”  As Barbara would say, the rug has gotten so lumpy now that we have to decide how we’re going to deal with it.  With so many gay and lesbian teens hurting, Christians cannot afford to be silent.

 

All of our children deserve to know that they are unique, special and loved, regardless of their sexual orientation.  All of our children need to be free to live their lives without fear.  You don’t have to support “the homosexual agenda” to show a teenager that you care.  Wear purple this Friday.

 

 

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Once again, an unthinking Republican man has insulted women and seriously injured the conservative cause he was trying to help.  Thanks to Todd Akin and his ridiculously insensitive claim that most cases of “legitimate rape” don’t result in pregnancy, pro-choice advocates are incensed and think that everyone who is pro-life is a cruel misogynist who wants to keep women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.  (Just read the 285 negative comments in response to Sherif Girgis’ pro-life piece in the New York Times, “A Distraction from the Issues About Abortion”, from Aug. 22, 2012.)  Over and over again, I keep hearing that pro-life people only care about the child before it is born, and not afterward. 

 

I wish these angry pro-choice people could have just one glimpse of the women who work behind the scenes at places like the White Rose (a crisis pregnancy center) and Catholic Charities.  Volunteers work long hours collecting car seats, baby clothes, diapers and baby food for women with unplanned pregnancies.  They help refugee women with children learn new skills so they can support themselves.  They help set up apartments with donated furniture so poor women and their children will have a place to live.   All of the women who spend their time volunteering with these agencies are motivated by a deep love and compassion for other women and their children.

 

Contrast their quiet work with the judgmental and ignorant statements of people like Todd Akin and Rush Limbaugh – who called law student Sandra Fluke a slut on television during this year’s contraception debate.  Admittedly, both men apologized, but the damage was done.  I realize there are many men whose actions on behalf of women and children – born and unborn – speak louder than words, but right now no one can hear them.

 

It seems to me that the recent rhetoric about abortion has done nothing but damage to the pro-life cause.  Interestingly, the widespread use of sonograms has led to a significant change in public opinion about abortion. Clear images of developing fetuses have made it harder to argue that abortion only destroys a clump of cells.  Expectant parents carry around sonogram photos of their children before birth – and no one can tell them it’s not a child.  However, the recent debates have been handled so poorly that much of this progress in public opinion may be in danger.

 

 I would like to make a series of proposals for men wishing to represent the pro-life message about abortion.  First, please have some humility.  Maybe it would be better to let some pro-life women lead this conversation, unless you have relevant personal experience or expertise.   One of the most persuasive pieces I have seen lately came from the daughter of a woman conceived by rape.  She and all of her family would not exist if her grandmother had chosen abortion.  Another great example of someone who can talk about abortion is Tim Tebow.  When his mother was pregnant with him, she became seriously ill, and was advised to terminate the pregnancy.   Because of her faith, she chose not to, and Tim Tebow, the Heisman trophy winner and NFL quarterback, is alive today.  Women like Tebow’s mother, who have experienced an unwanted or a difficult pregnancy, can speak with authority on this subject in a way that no man can. 

 

Second, I would encourage pro-life men to work on telling other MEN what to do – they can lead the call for MEN to avoid premarital and extramarital sex and to promote responsible fatherhood. They can promote programs that help men get an education and good jobs so that they will make better candidates for marriage.  How many abortions could be avoided if the woman knew her baby’s father would be willing and able to commit to her and the baby with financial and emotional support?   I’m not saying that all women who get abortions have no responsibility for their circumstances, but I wish someone would focus on the role of men in unplanned pregnancies.

 

Finally, any male politicians with a pro-life agenda should spend at least as much time promoting programs that support women in crisis pregnancies as they do seeking to enact stricter anti-abortion laws.  Those whose political views do not support government programs could spend their time helping faith-based or other charitable programs for women in these situations.  Actions like these, more than anything, would help dispel the notion that the pro-life movement is heartless and misogynistic.  

 

It is standard procedure on airplane flights to instruct those traveling with a small child to put on their own oxygen mask first, then put the mask on the child. This recognizes the plain fact that if you really want to help a child, you have to help its mother first. 

 

 

Why are We Afraid of the Facts?

 

Over the last few months, there has been a veritable firestorm in the media in response to certain government efforts regarding abortion.  The first controversy involves the Texas sonogram law, which requires women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound 24 hours before the abortion, and requires doctors to display the sonogram image, make audible the fetal heartbeat (where possible), and to provide a verbal description of the state of fetal development. The second, more recent controversy has to do with the efforts by the Texas State Health Services Council to conduct a trend analysis by requiring women obtaining abortions to report their level of education and other information.  [1]

 

The main thrust of the pro-choice argument against these government efforts is that they are intended to shame the pregnant woman and are an invasion of privacy.   Most of the discussion in the media on this issue has been in a tone of anger at the opposing side’s supposed callousness or judgmental, self-righteous behavior.  Pro-choice advocates seem to think that pro-life supporters have no compassion for women seeking abortions and just want to shame them into changing their minds.  They also seem to believe that pro-life advocates would think that a woman who dies from a back-alley abortion would just be getting what she deserved.  On the other side of the equation, pro-life advocates perceive a heartless attitude among pro-choicers toward the unborn child.  The truth is that abortion is always a tragedy for both the woman and the child. Even President Obama, who is famously pro-choice, has said, “no one is pro-abortion.” 

 

After the election of 2008, there seemed to be a moment in which both sides could find some common ground.  It began when Hillary Clinton said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”  President Obama has also said that both sides could agree to work on reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, supporting pregnant women, and reducing the need for abortions.  Admittedly, for most pro-lifers, “safe, legal and rare” would only be progress, but not success, since every abortion is the destruction of a unique human life.  But I think most pro-life advocates would also agree that significantly fewer abortions would be a very good thing. 

 

If both sides can agree that “safe, legal and rare” would be progress, then one would think that having more information about the facts about abortion would be a good thing. Psychological studies indicate that people tend to discount information that conflicts with their ideological beliefs or their personal desires.  But I believe we should never be afraid to know all the facts, particularly when serious moral decisions are involved.  The sonogram law is designed to provide women with complete information about the effects of their decision in order that they may be fully informed.  Both the United States Supreme Court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals have upheld informed consent laws as being in the interest of the of the mother.  [2] 

 

Similarly, any efforts to gather information about the circumstances leading to abortion should be welcomed.  This information can then be used to help women avoid unplanned pregnancies and to support women in that situation.  However, in the current climate the abortion issue is so fraught with emotion that it is extremely difficult to have a rational discussion about the facts, or even any facts.  For example, a 2009 study found that 41% of all pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion – and 59.8% of those were to African-American women.  A billboard designed to highlight this troubling information showed a picture of a little black girl with the words, “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb,” led to protests and threats against the building owner.  It was quickly taken down, and an important opportunity for discussion was lost. 

 

To be fair, this argument about accurate information cuts both ways.  I was recently surprised to learn some new information about Plan B, the so-called “morning after” pill.  Recent studies have shown that this method of contraception may act differently than previously believed.  Plan B appears to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation and by inhibiting the path of sperm, thus preventing fertilization.  There does not appear to be any evidence that it prevents implantation of a fertilized egg.  While I am neither a scientist nor a theologian, I believe that for most people, this is a critical difference.  Pro-life advocates must also take care to state the truth when referring to Plan B, which, if this information is correct, cannot accurately be called an “abortion pill.” [3]

 

Prenatal testing can also provide important information to prospective parents.  Rick Santorum stated in his presidential campaign that he was opposed to insurance coverage for prenatal testing, because of the likelihood that it will increase the number of abortions due to fetal abnormality. His concerns are not unfounded, since over 90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies now end in abortion.  The information itself is not the issue, however, but the decisions that follow its disclosure. 

 

Another important development that can provide information to pregnant women is a new form of paternity test, which can prove the identity of the baby’s father as early as the 8th or 9th week of pregnancy.  If this information causes a father to enter the picture more fully and provide emotional and financial support to the mother, it could encourage the mother to continue the pregnancy and may even result in a healthier outcome for both mother and child.

 

I don’t understand why efforts to gain accurate information about pregnancy and abortion are subject to so much criticism.  To me, the appropriate response to unplanned pregnancies is to offer compassion and support to both the mother and the unborn child.  In order to do this successfully, people on both sides need to be willing to look at all of the facts, even those that may not seem palatable to our perspective.   If both sides of the abortion debate can agree that “safe, legal and rare” is something to strive for, why should we not have as much information as possible?

 

 

 


[1] See Floyd, Jacquielynn, “An Abortion? The state has a few questions first.” The Dallas Morning News 19 June 2012: B1+; Hoppe, Christy, “ ‘Doonesbury’ lampoons Texas anti-abortion sonogram law.” The Dallas Morning News 09 March 2012. 19 June 2012 http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20120309-doonesbury-lampoons-texas-abortion-law.ece

[2] In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, while upholding Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court also upheld a similar informed consent law, noting that it was designed to further the psychological well-being of the woman by allowing her to make a fully informed decision.  And in Texas Medical Providers vs. Lakey, reviewing the Texas sonogram law, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stated, “the required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information.”

 

[3] I stand by my belief that contraception is a moral issue, and not just a health issue as many claim, particularly where fertilization may have already occurred.  However, as with any moral decision, knowing the facts is crucial.

The Value of a Dad

Last week, Michael Landauer, a new father of twins, wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Dallas Morning News entitled, “We Have Downgraded Dad,” noting the disrespectful attitude of popular culture toward fathers in general.  I’ve certainly been guilty of rolling my eyes at my husband in our house.  However, over our 27 years of marriage, I have come to appreciate the unique role my husband plays in our family.

 

When our oldest daughter was about two, my husband starting throwing her in the air and catching her.  Like most mothers, I was greatly alarmed by this practice and certain that he was going to kill her.  Later, I found out that dads instinctively throw toddlers in the air at just the right time to help with the development of their inner ears.  Research indicates that fathers play with their children differently than mothers do.  Fathers are more physical, aggressive and noisy, and this kind of challenging play is an important part of early child development.

 

I’ve also never forgotten the time my middle daughter came home from an Indian Princess campout on a Sunday afternoon, hair uncombed, covered in dirt and face paint, wearing the same clothes she had on Friday when they left.  “Mom,” she exclaimed, “it was the best time ever!”  Of course, if I had taken her, she would have come home with clean skin, hair and clothes, but it would have been a much less exciting weekend with completely different memories.

 

And when our daughters were in high school, I really came to appreciate my 6’3” husband, with his broad shoulders, deep voice, and firm handshake.  Many a high school suitor had to have some shaky knees after leaving our house for a date with one of our girls.  Also, one night a few years ago, our 16 year old daughter and a friend were driving not far from our neighborhood when a drunk, disoriented man staggered out of the bushes in front of their car.  She fled home and immediately wanted – not me – but Dad.  It was Dad who offered safety, security and comfort, while I called the police.

 

I haven’t mentioned the other 17 Indian Guide and Indian Princess campouts he went on, the 8 or 9 Father-Daughter dances, or the late night “come to Jesus” talks he had with our teenagers when they broke curfew.  I like to think I have a lot of good qualities as a parent, but my husband definitely brings things to our family that I cannot.

 

I find it hard to believe that some women can ask “Are Men Necessary?” as Maureen Dowd did in her famous book a few years ago.  Sure, female celebrities over 40 are adopting babies on their own, and the world laughed at Dan Quayle when he questioned whether planned single motherhood was wise.  I guess I’m just old-fashioned enough to believe that fathers really do matter. No doubt there are plenty of examples of deadbeat dads and dads who disappear, or dads who don’t leave but are terrible parents.  And there are plenty of heroic moms who raise children on their own.  In our own community, though, we are fortunate to have many dads who are at every Scout meeting, every football game, every concert and every track meet.  Their presence and support makes a huge difference in the lives of their children.

 

In spite of the popular trend to disparage and discount fathers, I was encouraged a few weeks ago by an episode of “Modern Family,” in which Jay, the patriarch, recounted his decision years earlier to stay in a difficult marriage when his children were young.  After a pointless and terrible fight (one of many) with his wife, he took his two children to Disneyland alone, while she stayed home and pouted.  By the end of the day, he was seriously considering divorce when he took the kids to see the robotic Lincoln exhibit.  As Lincoln spoke about “a man’s duty” and “keeping the union together” Jay said that he realized that “staying with my kids was more important than leaving my wife  . . . now that’s not the right decision for everyone, but it was the right decision for me.” The show makes clear that his continued presence in his children’s lives was definitely worth it.

 

So for all the dads who stick around, who roughhouse with their children and spend their weekends at soccer games and piano recitals, thank you, and Happy Father’s Day.  You deserve it.

 

 

Michelle Daniel Chadwick is a writer and an attorney living in Dallas, Texas.