Donald Trump, Fatherhood, & Saving Sons from Themselves

August 4, 2017

This week there was controversy about President Donald Trump.


You may or may not be aware of this. And either way, you probably need more specifics.


Specifically I am talking about the revelation that the President’s son’s statement regarding a meeting he had with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, in an attempt to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton, was actually personally dictated by the President himself, rather than his son. That sentence was confusing, but not nearly as confusing as the whole mess in Washington D.C. To summarize, the President’s son is in hot water so the President wrote a statement and then it was released with people being told the son wrote it.


Listen, I have no intention of defending a single thing this President, or frankly anyone else in our nation’s capital, does these days, but as a father I think I may know where he is coming from. Sometimes junior says and does things that get him into hot water, and as a dad you do your best to point him in the right direction. I would like to think that my sons and I have very little in common with the Trumps. I certainly do not condone the dishonesty, lack of ethics, or impropriety of this story, but occasionally as a father you see your son taking a long walk off a short pier and you have to try to help.


Take last Sunday for example. We were in church and our six-year-old Zoologist was doing what he does best – making a racket. He is allowed to take a notebook and some pens to church to take notes and to draw pictures of what the pastor is talking about. Some Sundays this arrangement works well. Some Sundays we give a lot of latitude on the subject matter of the pictures. Some Sundays he likes to click his pen rapidly as loudly as possible—this was one of those days.


My lovely wife had already told the Zoologist to stop opening and closing the metal rings in his notebook because it was too loud. I was holding the two-month-old Jedi at the time and did not realize this had taken place. A few moments later I saw her telling the Zoologist to quiet down, and I thought it was about the pen clicking. It took me a minute to get up to speed on which activity we were trying to stop at the time, but we got on the same page.


I looked at the Zoologist and said, “Do what your mother is telling you to do.”


He looked back up at me over his glasses and in a moment that brought him closer to the afterlife than he realized said, “But dad you are the boss.”


I took a brief moment to mentally survey my options on dealing with this brazen attempt to take his life in his own hands, then I told him, “When it comes to you, WE are the boss. Now do what she said.”


Was our little Zoologist meeting with Russians in an ill-fated attempt to dig up dirt on a political opponent? No, he was not. Was he choosing a course of action that could ultimately result in some significantly negative consequences? Absolutely.


Now, as a dad these are moments that you have to handle carefully. I wanted my son to learn that what he did was wrong, but at the same time wouldn’t wind up as a comedy sketch similar to Bill Cosby’s famous “Kill The Boy” routine. So, I corrected his thinking in church, then I told his mother what he said.


That night.


After he was in bed.


So his mother had a few hours to cool off before she saw him again.


One day he will thank me.


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