The Corner

The Father Effect Revisited


Ah, the golden oldies. For those who missed it, bio-con blogger Razib Khan archived the whole 2006 Derb-Jonah discussion on fatherhood. (Though he omitted Rich’s original column, which is here.)

I don’t think anyone reading through my posts there would conclude that, as you claim, I do not “think parents can make a difference in the kinds of people their kids become.” E.g. this, from the third of my postings in Razib’s main list:

Let me disabuse any readers who might have got the idea that outside school hours I keep my kids chained in the basement with opened cans of dog food. In just this past not-atypical week: (1) My daughter’s braces came off, a multi-thousand dollar expenditure, plus two years of relentless nagging to follow the no-gum rules etc., in the interest of her adult appearance. (2) Same daughter participated in an end-of-season ballet recital at Huntington Ballet Academy (years and $$$ again, though not much nagging as she loves to dance), and acquitted herself so well she got an award. (3) Sunday we attended the Fekula extended-family barbecue, with a cast of thousands, the high point of which was solo recitals by all underage participants, including my son (piano) and daughter (violin). Again, they did well — the fruits of countless hours of scheduling and nagging (to practice, I mean) and more money put out in instructors’ fees than I care to think about. Parenting? I’m on the job. If it only makes a difference at the margin, I want to make that difference.

I hope I have. At the margin is where it is though, like it or not.


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