Though To Own A Dragon is written by a man for other fatherless men, this book appeals to the human race. I think we are all “fatherless” in some way, in that our parents are not capable of being perfect or giving us everything we need emotionally. We all missed out on something important growing up, and I think that’s why I liked this book so much.
Don Miller, like Annie Lamott, is a writer I admire for his frank honesty and conversational style of writing. He reveals a lot about himself in this book – his shortcomings – taking responsibility for those while also mapping out what he lacked in training and modeling by not having a father.
I was particularly convicted at times as a parent. I know that in my own selfishness I have not led my children in ways that are important for them to be led, and I felt very convicted by some of the ways he describes how his boyhood mind interpreted his place in the world. I didn’t bring the book with me on vacation so I can’t quote directly, but I’ll do my best to recap what struck me the most.
He writes at one point that his mother worked long hours to support him and his sister, and was tired when she came home. At the time of his childhood he didn’t connect her exhaustion to his lack of having a father – to his mother not having a partner in earning income or in raising the family. Rather, his boyhood mind assumed he was a burden to his mom, and that her life would be much easier if he weren’t around.
Isn’t that tragic? The choices one man makes – his father – shapes how Don viewed himself in the world even into adulthood. It made me think of the way I act toward my kids when I’m trying to Get Things Done. I still haven’t figured out the magic formula for parenting AND keeping house – it seems in my home one is always lacking while the other excels. Never do I have well loved children AND a clean house ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
When I’m busy, I’m grouchy. And when they get in my way of Getting Things Done, I’m not very graceful about it. I have wondered lately: am I oozing a vibe that makes them feel like a burden to me?
So you can see how this book is not just for other men who don’t have fathers. You should read this book if you are breathing.