Last night I was advising the kids not leave any toys lying around this weekend. I want them to be aware that their little cousin, Nate, can and will pick things up and chew/choke on them. So my advice was, "Anything smaller than your fist has to be up out of reach."*

So, both kids obligingly made fists.

Em's wasn't bad, actually. Nice tight (little) fist. She could do some (little) damage with that. Matthew's ... well? Not so hot.

So, Joe spent some time right there at the dinner table teaching Matthew how to make a good solid fist. Flat across the knuckles. Thumb across the front. How to pull your arm back and apply. What part of the fist should hit and how to avoid breaking your fingers. **

Part of me wanted to stop him. "No, he shouldn't know how to fight. He should never punch someone. Never, ever. Stop. Stop!"

But, I didn't say anything. I watched a father teach his son a likely valuable skill. Something he'll undoubtedly need to apply at some point. Defending himself, defending his sister. Defending his girlfriend, wife, daughter. And, despite my inner horror picturing spilled blood and loosened teeth, I was proud of them both. It was one of those father-son-passing-on-skills moments. It was actually kind of a warm and fuzzy feeling, mostly.

Let's just hope he doesn't have to use those skills any time soon. Particularly not on his big (little) sister.


* After looking at both proferred hands, I amended my instructions to "anything smaller than Emily's fist." My son is a moose.
** Joe would know, too. He broke several bones in his hand punching a blackboard in grade school (better than punching the nun, I guess, which was his first instinct ... long story).

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