My God. There are glowing images of fathers teaching their kids to ride a bike… small children running into the outstretched arms of actors who probably have no kids, but are pretending to be a father. 3 second vignettes of tender daddy moments ad nauseum.  The song playing in tandem is none other than “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler On The Roof.  It’s a very melancholy tune:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzK3Jl64dyc

” Is this the little girl I carried? / Is this the little boy at play? / I don’t remember growing older  / When did they? / When did she get to be a beauty? / When did he grow to be so tall?  / Wasn’t it yesterday / When they were small? Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset / Swiftly flow the days / Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers / Blossoming even as we gaze / Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset / Swiftly fly the years /One season following another / Laden with happiness and tears /What words of wisdom can I give them? / How can I help to ease their way? / Now they must learn from one another Day by day”

Next up on KSL is a “family expert” talking about how to be a good father.  He’s talking about being a leader and a protector. This leads me to my next topic…

Those of you who are closest to me may know the nuanced feelings I have about religion.  For those of you who have not met me, I’ll try to summarize it here:  I believe that organized religion is a corrosive influence in the spirit of a person, because it detaches a person from their own sense of morality.   I believe that there is nothing in life as important, beautiful, powerful, and peace giving, that one’s ability to listen to one’s intuition, trust it, and follow it, no matter how difficult those choices may be.   It’s called integrity. Organized religion places priority on compliance with with the dictums of the organization over the silent, inner knowing of the individual.  “Listen to the still small voice, as long as it agrees with us”.  There is nothing more destructive than this.

As the father of Makinley and Makelle, I feel compelled to teach them to have integrity and to follow their inner knowing. If I gave them nothing else in this world but that, I would feel like a decent dad.

Up until now, I have been supportive of them attending church.

Makinley is about to turn 12. This is the point where she will begin to be shepherded into reading the Book of Mormon, to gain “her own testimony” of it. The problem is that from day 1 of her life, she has been surrounded by sobbing adults in weekly church meetings professing their “knowledge” of it’s truthfulness.  There is also an implicit message that gaining one’s own “testimony” is the only way to remain a part of the tribe. To arrive at a different conclusion is to commit social and familial suicide.

I believe that today is the day when I have the talk with Makinley about seeking truth.

I believe that if I did not have this talk with her, I would have major regrets about my life as a father.

Check back for more on how this all goes down.

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