I was at the Clay County Courthouse this morning at 8:00 AM, ready for grand jury service. I was not one of the 12 chosen. I was annoyed that I had to sit until 9:00 before the process even got under way. At least it didn't take up too much of my time. While being chosen would have been interesting, I'm glad I don't have to make the time commitment, and coordinate time away from work. The judge explained what the service would consist of; basically, the grand jury works with the prosecutors office to determine which criminal indictments should be presented for trial (I was summoned for criminal court). They meet every other week for the term of their service, which I think was four months. I am an alternate, so there is still a chance that I would be called to serve, but this is doubtful, since there are probably about 15 other alternates also. The judge informed us that 9 out of 12 grand jurors had to agree for an indictment to be returned.

I purchased the Cliffs Notes for The Awakening, the novel by Kate Chopin that I finished reading last week. I also bought a translation of Beowulf, the next piece of literature on my list of 100 Greatest Books. I'll begin Beowulf when I finish Dr. James Dobson's book, "Bringing Up Boys".

I've read a few more chapters of Dobson's book today. He is stressing the importance of the father in the masculine development of the son. He is clear that it is a father's role to provide for and support the family, in ways that are often thought of as traditional. He has stated his opposition to placing a child in day-care, unless absolutely necessary. While I shivered at this opinion, I have to ultimately admit that I agree with him. I do think that children are better off at home than at day care, even though we have been sending Dominic to day care since he was a baby. In our case, I think that Sharon did need to work for our financial stability. Sure, we could have managed to survive without her working. But, we felt that the balance between the lifestyle that we wanted to live and the proper raising of Dominic was in place. I think we have gotten lucky with Dominic in day care. I believe that he has thrived. I think that it has helped him to learn how to make friends, and has taught him valuable lessons about companionship. Also, some first time mothers are not emotionally prepared to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a young baby. No matter how prepared they may think they are leading up to the birth of their first child, reality is that it is an experience that nobody could have prepared them for. In these cases, child care is a viable option for a mother that needs a break in the action for her emotional well being. Ultimately, the emotional health of the parents is necessary for the emotional health of the child. Now, it sounds like I am justifying day care after I stated my opposition to it. I guess my point is that the underlying factor must be what is best for the child. I think in our case, placing Dominic in day care was best for him and for us as a family. I honestly don't have regrets about the situation. This is because I know that we made the decision with loving deliberation. Certainly, if he wouldn't have adjusted as well as he did in day care, we wouldn't have hesitated to change our lifestyle or circumstances to do what was best for our family. So, Dr. Dobson, I guess I don't agree with you whole-heartedly that day-care is bad for children. You rattled off many statistics showing that children in day care are 'worse-off' than children at home, but I believe many other factors probably lie behind those statistics. Damn statistics! However, I understand where your concern is, and I believe that it is extremely important for families to place the needs of a young child above their own selfish desires. The degree to which I do this myself, unfortunately, varies from time to time. Though I always intuitively know what is best for Dominic, sometimes I don't act appropriately. It is during these times that I must pray for the courage to do what I know is right.

Dobson also wrote a chapter about the relationship of mothers and sons. Included in this chapter was the importance of family communication, and specifically family meal time. I think that both of these family dynamics are important. We do say grace before dinner, and most of the time we eat together.

It is a blessing to be a father to Dominic. I cherish the moments when he emulates me. I like to be the hero of his world. I am filled with pride when he says that he wants to do things just like me. I must remember that I set the example for him, for good or bad. I must make it good. Dobson stresses the importance of leading by example, and how "doing the gospel" can be more significant that "preaching the gospel". Just last night, as I laid in bed sick with a fever, Dominic came racing upstairs as soon as he got home from day care so that he could present me with the father's day gift that he made for me---a penholder that says #1 Dad. While the design of the craft was obviously aided by school personnel, his presentation of it to me was the gift that I will always remember.


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