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Pragmatism and Grit

strong-fathers-strong-daughters-150The Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters Group Blogging Project continues.

Chapter 6 – Pragmatism & Grit – is brought to you by Tim Heerebout. Although Tim is a recent connection, our friendship has marks of the divine all over it. I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about him here as well.



Have you ever felt like the fates are conspiring just the right way to align the small coincidences of your life into a web of deeper meaning? Like the mystical forces of the universe are trying to, through seemingly unrelated circumstances, whisper a subtle yet profound message into your ear? Yeah me either. Well, except in this case. The fact that I’ve gotten the chapter on pragmatism at this point in my life seems to me to be just the right topic for me to read.

You see, in the near future my wife who is currently 19 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, 18 month old daughter, and myself will be moving into the heart of downtown Toronto. We’re really excited about that and yet, for anyone who knows me and my family, that description of who is moving to Toronto is incomplete. You see there is a very important, well loved, member of our family who we are not able to take with us and to be honest it’s ripping my heart out slowly every time I think about it.

Tele is our 6 year old purebred Siberian Husky and he is as much a part of our family as any of the rest of us. In almost every way he is the perfect dog. Melissa and I bought Tele the year after we got married to celebrate our first anniversary. We saw him in a pet store and he stole our heart – perhaps especially mine. Melissa worked as a flight attendant during the first 4 years of our marriage and so she was away a lot. Tele became my company when she saw gone. He slept at the foot of my bed at night and kept me company if I had a night alone at the house. He’s come on countless runs with me, lived in 3 different cities with us and is generally the best friend a boy…I mean man could ask for.

Despite all of my emotional attachment to Tele I know that bringing him into an urban environment and adding that as another chore for my wife to deal with is not a wise choice. My wife knows this – she knows that amongst the business of our schedules, a new baby who needs a lot of her time and a 2 year old that won’t understand why she’s not the only one who needs attention any more that trying to help walk and feed a dog will just be too much. Knowing is not enough some times though. I think one of the things we love about women is how deeply they feel. And yet, I think in the end her emotional ties to this much loved member of our family would probably lead to a less than optimal decision in this case. Women and men make such a perfect pairing for many reasons not the least of which is how they help us to feel more and how we sometimes balance a purely emotional response with our God given pragmatic minds and grit.

This situation with Tele is where the rubber has hit the road for our family when it comes to the need for a strong father to have pragmatism and grit. Tele is my boy. I love him to death – probably more than some people would think sane or healthy. But logically I just can’t see how he’ll fit into our new life in Toronto so it’s up to me, to use my pragmatic brain, and summon the internal grit to give him to another love home where we will miss him like crazy but ultimately where both he and us will be more happy for the long haul.

I can’t personally relate to the examples the author gives in this chapter – images of broken homes needing mending and such. I can however relate to her overall theme. One friend said to me regarding our choice to give Tele away “you’ve got much larger cojones than me to give up man’s best friend”. I don’t claim that to be actually true but men – your families, your daughters, need you to have the grit and pragmatism, the cojones if you will, to make tough decisions and ground them when necessary. I really appreciate the author for affirming this often demeaned part of a man’s role in his house. I am fully in support of equal rights and yet I also realize there are some roles best suited to one gender or the other. I think this is one area that MUST be stepped into by Fathers. I think if you take time to read the pages of this chapter you will feel encouraged and empowered to do so. I can’t think of a better end to 30 minutes worth of reading.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • lon November 27, 2009, 5:31 pm

    Great post Tim – sometimes i can think my pragmatism & grit can come off cold… but this totally affirms the need to just make the tough decisions and follow through with them… for the good of all.

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