At the children's service yesterday for Yom Kippur, the rabbi asked kids in the audience to share what their hopes might be for the new year. My elder son, Charlie, held up his hand and the microphone was brought to him.
"When we're in the store, I hope that the prices of things are less," he said, speaking like some sort of future economist.
The congregation gave a loud chortle. Little did my son realize that what he said, in regards to saving his allowance to buy silly string, was perhaps the strongest hope anyone of us can have right now.
A day before that, I had received a voice mail from an account manager at Wachovia. Before I could even call back, my phone rang again. I nervously asked what this was about. The manager awkwardly just said she was calling to 'chat' and 'get to know' me better.
When a bank calls you just wanting to 'chat' something is direly wrong.
I write about these things not because I have any business discussing the financial situation (I know as much as you probably do) but to reflect on what this means regarding fatherhood.
In the past, I've written about how historically, in economic hard times, there is more of a focus on involved fatherhood. It's one of the only fortunate offshoots of these difficult periods in the country. While it's sad that we need to be going through the tumult of this period, perhaps there will be some overall growth for fathers about the value of spending more time with their kids and it will impact a mental shift when the economy eventually does come back around.
That's my hope and the hope of the project, anyway.