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Fatherlessness, the lack of natural fathers in children's lives
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"My dad can tell the future."

   "As for ideas, my little daughter radiates them.  Her latest: an imaginary pocket man she carries with her who she sends out to scout a situation before she jumps into it.  In essence, he shows her the future. …"
                                   — Dangerous Devices, by B. Koplen

That reminds me of the time when our third son, Patrick, was about six.  He told his friends: "My dad can tell the future."  Later, I asked him why he thought so.  He said that I always knew what was going to happen.  "Like what?" I asked.  He replied that just a few day before I had told him not to swing on the chairs, because he would be likely to hurt himself (he did have the habit of lifting himself up, just barely off the ground, by supporting his weight on his two outstretched arms that were resting straight down on the seats of two adjacent chairs, and then to swing his body back and forth).  He said that he did hurt himself and, "You always know what things are going to happen." 

   He was a nice kid, always exploring, and he did get a lot of little nicks and scratches, nothing ever really serious.  I had to agree with him that I was often right about what was going to happen to him in the immediate future. 

   That was about thirty years ago.  What I didn't know then was that just a few years later there would be a period during which I had little chance to warn him about life's perils, and then, for eight years, no chance at all because I didn't know where he and all but one of his siblings were.  Our family had broken up. 

Later, much, much later, came the slow process of building up the trust again that he once had in me and that got lost when our bond was broken along with the other family ties.  But, we are working on that.  He's now 37.  We've got a lot to catch up on. 


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2001 01 29 (format changes)