Fathers: A Millennial Sketch

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What will your children write about you when they’re grown?

If you have little ones, it is likely that they will enter college in less than two decades. And, if you are anything like me, you consider that milestone to be light years away. (I hear that it all moves too quickly, so I am trying to prepare myself for the blitz of adolescence.)

But I teach first-year writing, and I am offered a glimpse into new life beyond the nest. And I can tell you with confidence that nothing, and I mean nothing, emerges more often in my students’ personal writing than their relationships with their fathers.

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The Bus That Leads Home

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When I shared with my father that I, a 20-year-old graduate student, would be volunteering in Nicaragua during spring break 2007, his response was, in a word, strong. I explained that I would be working with orphans. No give. I emphasized the poverty that the children faced. No give. I told him that I was ready to see the world. No give.

I couldn’t see it then, but his anger and painful disapproval originated from a place of love.

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