I Would Make An Excellent Father

My 3-year-old brother thinks he’s slick. Every time he comes into my room he brings a toy but doesn’t take it out when he leaves. My room now has Spongebob Squarepants, colorful trains from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Laa-Laa, and a very naked Ken doll. As long as it looks like he’s not about to break anything expensive, I let him do whatever he wants. The idea of applying discipline is not compatible with someone who has a problem with authority; I think a better model is rewarding positive behaviors and ignoring negative ones. Of course raising kids is a lot more complicated than that, but it’s a ideal start.

Once a week I make a large batch of tuna salad to feed me for lunch. My 10-year-old brother was watching me and remarked how disgusting tuna is. “Have you ever had tuna salad before?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “but it looks gross.”

I made him taste it through threat of big brother violence. I told him if he doesn’t like it then he never has to eat it again, but he needs to try things before he makes up his mind. He tasted it and said it was “Okay,” but a couple days later I noticed a large can of tuna on the kitchen counter. Turns out he liked the tuna salad so much that he asked my dad to make some. I decided to keep it real so I took him to eat sushi with me at Tono Sushi in Woodley Park. I told him that, yes, technically sushi is raw fish, but it doesn’t taste like fish at all. “It tastes less like fish than tuna, which you already tried.” He was down.

I wish I took a picture the moment that first piece of tuna and avocado roll went into his mouth. It looked like someone nailed him in the stomach; pain, fear, and confusion was painted on his face right after the first chew. He wanted to bring it back out, but I encouraged him like only an older brother knows how: “Chew! Eat it! Close your mouth! You better finish that!” He ate only a few more pieces but I was very proud of him, like a parent would be after watching a child’s first step. After all, I didn’t try sushi until I was 21, and let him know that he is far ahead of me in becoming a real man. I stressed real man one more time, adding that you need to try new things even if you fear it. How else will you find out about things you could like?

My dad spends hours a day with the boys, teaching, talking, and playing, but there are so many parents who drop the ball at being a positive influence on a child’s life. And you wonder why so many adults are messed up. From what I see, the key to raising a decent human being is to treat them with respect and give them attention and affection. Sound familiar? Don’t dumb things down and don’t push away their concerns or questions. Don’t let the television compete with them for your attention. Don’t tell them “Because I said so.” The only reason I would make a good dad is because I’d copy what my parents did to me, which, except for my mother’s occasional broom beating, seemed to work out pretty well. The last thing I will do is buy a parenting book from a writer/expert/businessman who has no investment in me or my family.

“So what do you think of sushi?” I asked.

“It didn’t have a lot of taste. But it was really cool!”

Yes, little brother, it is cool. Now when you turn 20 or so, there is this book I want you to read…


  1. Land-Man May 2, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Mein Kamf?

  2. mike says May 2, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I’ve got a much younger brother too, and in a way you almost envy them. Having someone much older who’s already been through things and knows the game is invaluable and separates the cool little kids from the awkward only children who have to sort things out on their own. By the time our brothers are ready to start dating, they’ll already know more than most kids twice their age.

    Even beyond dating, when it comes time to choose a college, a career, they’ll have someone there who’s already seen and done it all and knows the angles. Pretty sweet deal.

  3. Jo May 2, 2007 at 10:29 am

    You made him try Sushi? Wow. You’ve got a brave little brother there.

  4. mm May 2, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Cute post. I especially liked:
    “I made him taste it through threat of big brother violence.”
    I miss the days when I could throw my weight around and bully my brother and sister. Then my brother got bigger and taller than me. Now he can kick my ass. And my sister got cool at around age 12.
    After watching my crying niece for a couple hours last night, I spent my morning seriously contemplating getting my tubes tied. Children are a full-time job. I don’t know how anyone can handle more than one.

  5. inowpronounceyou May 2, 2007 at 11:22 am

    This is great stuff, and made me miss my nieces. When I take my 11 year old niece out, Kid Brother says to her “remember what I told you?” and she resonds “Keep Uncle INPY out of trouble”.

  6. Roissy May 2, 2007 at 11:37 am

    “I didnโ€™t try sushi until I was 21, and let him know that he is far ahead of me in becoming a real man.”

    when did sushi go from frou frou food to test of mettle? in my dad’s day my grandparents had him suck the marrow out of bone to prove his manhood. more evidence of the vaginafication of the west.
    next step — convincing your little bro that eating quiche = real man.

    kind of related:
    the reason kids don’t like a lot of “adult” foods is because their taste bud receptors are more sensitive to bitter and sour. it’s speculated that this is nature’s way to encourage kids to eat more sugars and fats because their growing bodies utilize calorically-dense foods more efficiently than adults do.

    “there is this book I want you to readโ€ฆ”

    to any future sons i would give dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ and ‘mystery method’. i would tell them that those two books are your holy bible. read every word as if handed down from god (or up from satan).
    and ignore your mother when she gets a shocked look on her face.

  7. gn May 2, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Presh. I just cried a little bit.

  8. Land-Man May 2, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    That mystery method guy is a tool. He looked like an idiot on Conan.

  9. Some Catchy Chic May 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Haha. I had a similar experience as your little cousin with popcorn shrimp, though I still “claim” not to like it just to rub it my sister’s face.

  10. eugenius May 2, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Great post……

  11. Kristin May 2, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Tugging on the heart strings? Who are you? What have you done with Roosh?

  12. virglekent May 2, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    ” threat of big brother violence” = I will fart in your face….

    Being a big brother myself I’m highly skilled at this…

  13. irina May 2, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    is this an advertisement? now this is real game

  14. kayla May 2, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Not only is this real game, it’s FANTASTIC game. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Very endearing post (and my smartass means that). – makes me wish I wasn’t an only child…..

  15. Roissy May 2, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    landman a lot of the guys who pioneered seduction science don’t do well in interviews because hosts like to hammer them with their preconceived self-biases, hence putting the guests on the defensive from the get go.
    that said, it’s not markovic i’d have any sons of mine emulate; it’s his teachings, which really do work. and they work for the reason that they are informed by evolutionary science as well as in-field experience.

  16. Hiro May 2, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I make tuna salad for the week too. Salt, Pepper and some sour cream are key. Friday’s sandwiches always suck though. Soft celery is a motherfucker.

  17. Generate May 2, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Dog is on fire….

  18. surfallday May 2, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    yeah weather myst is a tool or not is as relevant as weather someone like einstein is fun to hang out with, how he comes off on a talk show has nothing to do with his work ๐Ÿ™‚ because a guy that looks like a tool ON THE SHOW is lightyears ahead of the guy that has not chance to GET ON THE SHOW IN THE FIRST PLACE, when it comes to attaining the one common goal they share.

  19. surfallday May 2, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    and now to address the post ๐Ÿ™‚ yeah being a good parent (imo) is not too different than being a good person, though kids do need to learn things like focus and determination, and thats very hard to do without having some discipline (not to be confused with disciplining kids in form of punishments or whatever negative association most people have with the word)…. good post ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. jess May 2, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    My older sister *never* was good for this sort of thing. She’d cut off the hair of my Barbies before giving me good advice… Ah. Mem’ries.

    The point being — my folks did this too, genuine love and respect. I think my dad talked to us like we were adults from the time we were 5 onward. Kids respond to real people. They rebel against fakers — which innattentive, disrespectful parents tend to be. I think…

  21. Genevieve May 3, 2007 at 8:33 am

    I like my sushi with raw fish, rice, soy sauce, and wasabi. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I hate seafood but man I love me some canned tuna.

  22. Phil May 3, 2007 at 10:45 am

    they’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight
    shunting trucks and hauling freight

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