When I was in the second grade, a bully named Lionel put a tack in my desk chair...and I sat on it. As Mrs. Tonema was pulling the tack out of me I caught Lionel snickering from the corner of my eye. My embarrassment turned to fury as I looked at him and mustered up the biggest threat I could imagine: "I'm gonna go get my daddy!" During recess I left the school grounds and ran a mile to the church where my father worked as the pastor. He used the handkerchief from his suit pocket to wipe my tears, then he walked me back to school.
In the end, I was disappointed that I only got to see my father talk to Lionel's parents and a bit miffed that he scolded me for running away (he said it was dangerous). I would have much rather seen him kick Lionel's butt. But the point is that for my entire life, whenever I'm threatened, my first impulse is to run to daddy. Of course, I don't anymore. He taught me how to kick butt myself. But the fact that his devotion and protection of me has helped me be brave in the world is why I'm forever indebted to Harrison Gaston. It's also an important reason for women to drop the ball, so that men can meaningfully engage in their children's lives. This week I was thrilled to wish all of them a Happy Father's Day.