Put Work at Risk

Kate Bowles offered a moving reflection on work and family. Her critique is grounded in her experience as a faculty member in higher-education, a career path generally lauded for its flexible work schedule.[1]

Flexibility is the latest panacea for the perennial work-family balance problem.[2] Like the panaceas before it, however, flexibility seems to have further burdened the very people it was advertised to help. Ruth Schwartz Cowan offers a brilliant critique of technologies that were supposed to address work-life balance in the home: More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave. Ian Bogost’s Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User over at The Atlantic makes similar points about technology. If academia, the traditional home of “flexibility,” doesn’t foster a better work-life balance (and it doesn’t: How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang or Academic scattering), there seems little reason to expect for-profit businesses to encourage such a balance. Far from easing the work-life tensions, flexibility in the academy seems to exacerbate them, encouraging faculty to work all the time.

Flexibility, technology, or panacea-of-choice cannot solve the problem because it is question of values. We live in a culture that values and rewards most those who work most—clearly those who do not have extra-work commitments or choose to ignore those commitments enjoy accolades and promotions. Choosing not to work as single-mindedly as the unencumbered, therefore, is difficult. It means not being valued.[3]

Rather than looking for a simple solution like flexibility that will cure all our ills, we need to decide how we will spend our finite and ever-diminishing lives. To reduce work to just one of the things we do, and perhaps not the most important thing, requires courage. But we need to do something.

As Kate Bowles puts it:

Hope is the alibi for inaction: what we need is the courage to put work itself at risk.


  1. The post is more specifically about the nature of labor in the university and the culture that demands ever more from faculty without compensating them for their time and effort. Two further contributions to the discussion are: god bless us, everyone and On courage that is in-and-against work. The three are well worth the read.  ↩

  2. The latest post to argue for flexibility comes from Professor Scott Behson: An Interview on Fatherhood, Work-Family Balance, and What Makes a Good Dad  ↩

  3. You might even be accused of squandering your education, i.e., your expensive college degree. Despite all the Hallmark-y expressions about education for education‘s sake, a college degree, at least in the U.S., is intended to help you “get ahead in life,” e.g, get a better job, make more money, buy a faster car, buy a bigger house, improve your standard of living.  ↩

Safety not Fear

As the line crawled haltingly forward Sunday morning, an elderly man steadied his wife whose tremors had nothing to do with the sub-freezing temperatures and the icy wind blowing down the platform. With one hand he rolled her suitcase while he cradled her arm with his other.

When they reached the conductor, he would’t let the man accompany his wife to the train. “Only ticketed passengers,” he barked. Whatever the old man said provoked yet another “Only ticketed passengers.”

tracks

The old man hesitated. He looked at his wife and she at him. Anxiety bred of love and lifetime together flashed across their faces colliding with self-conscious worry because they were holding up the line and forcing people to linger in the cold. Finally, he acquiesced, released his wife’s arm, and stood watching apprehensively as she lurched forward and teetered down the platform without the assistance she needed.

A little girl looked up at her mother:

“Why couldn’t the man go with her?” she asked.
“He didn’t have a ticket. Only people with tickets can go to the train,” her mother replied.
“Why?” the little girl pressed.
“It’s for our safety. Only people with tickets can go to the train,” the mother repeated.
“Oh.”

Of course the little girl accepted her mother’s justification about safety. We had all just exited the station where the Amtrak PSA video was on repeat, exhorting us to keep our eyes open for anything: “If you see something, say something.” Every five minutes we had been redeputized to look for anything suspicious—packages, luggage, people, behavior, noises, an old man helping his enfeebled wife board the train, etc. The video doesn’t encourage safety so much as foster paranoia.

Paranoia, however, doesn’t make us safe, it just makes us paranoid and ensures that old women and men will have to struggle down train platforms alone. Yesterday it could have been your mother or father lurching down the platform. Tomorrow it might be you. One day, if we are not careful, it will be our children.

Let’s not defend our fears, especially to our children. Let’s struggle to overcome them so that we leave our children a better world, not a more frightened world.

Everything in Perspective

The table’s a mess, again. #1 left his hoodie on the chair, again. #2 has strewn her crayons and paper all over the coffee table, again. A stray shoe trips me as I walk in the door, again. My car is filled with childhood detritus, again. Abandoned toys litter the living room and collect in corners like giant, multicolored dust bunnies, again. I’m running to the store at the last minute to buy supplies for a school project, again. [Fill in your favorite lament here.]

Then, late at night, I start reading A Conversation with Rachel Adams about her new book, Raising Henry, which puts everything in perspective.

The hostile review posted recently, Disregarding Henry (Competitive Motherhood and Envy offers a critical analysis of the review), along with a more sympathetic review have prompted me to read Raising Henry.

Parenting is relentless and grueling when everything goes as planned. I admire parents who thrive in more taxing circumstances.

Parental Involvement or Teacher Interrogation?

Eleven of us sat there like middle-schoolers, each of us itching to play with the iPad lying facedown on the table in front of us. Although we had been asked to leave the iPads alone, like middle-schoolers, a couple of us couldn’t resist picking one up and poking at the dark screen, perhaps out of boredom or curiosity. Or maybe we think instructions are optional or suggestions. Or perhaps some deeper contrarianism compelled us to do what we had just been instructed not to do. Whatever the reasons, intentionally or otherwise we were behaving just like middle-schoolers as we sat in the classroom, our middle-aged bodies wilting over the sides of the little, primary-color, hard plastic chairs.

The school had invited parents into the classroom to hear the teacher explain how the school was implementing technology. To get an idea of what students experienced, we started with an actual lesson. The teacher handed out sheets of paper, explained the lesson and its goals, and told us how to incorporate both pencil-and-paper exercises with work on the iPad. 30 minutes later we shared our work and talked about what we accomplished. Then the teacher outlined the school’s approach to technology in the classroom and in general. When given the chance to ask questions, the interrogation began.

In confrontational language that mirrored their combative tone, parents challenged the teacher on technology. A technophobic pair of parents used their own inability to work on the iPad as fodder for their technology-in-the-classroom-marks-the-downfall-of-the-free-world argument. They fired questions at the teacher about everything from losing the device to motor and visual difficulties to “surfing the web.” How, they demanded, will “you” prevent students from downloading apps? Aren’t “you” concerned about these apps distracting students when they should be learning?[1] A third parent chimed in with his own doubts: I don’t see what this adds to the “pedagogical” experience. If it doesn’t enhance the “pedagogy,” it’s just going to cause problems. This seems more like the latest “pedagogical” trend than anything really substantive. I wouldn’t have learned any more with an iPad.[2] As the teacher tried to field these questions, a technophilic parent jumped in with a scathing cross examination and condemnation. Why, he wanted to know, haven’t “you” adopted technology sooner? Why are “you” taking so long to introduce computers into the classroom? Aren’t “you” afraid of putting the students at a disadvantage? I don’t think “you” realize how far behind our students are.

Parental involvement is important. Knowing that decisions were made and how they were made keeps parents informed and should bolster their confidence in their children’s educational experience. Parents should be kept informed. We should be allowed a voice in the process and should, perhaps, even be consulted. But at the end of the day, we parents need to admit that we are not experts. We do not have the training, the experience, or the expertise to justify our demands for curricular, pedagogical, and assessment reforms.[3] In fact, we can justify our demands only by some hubristic denial of expertise. As one college professor put it recently:

parents, politicians, and reformers think that they know more than trained educators and experienced classroom instructors, and feel completely qualified to make curriculum changes, press for new grading and assessment techniques, and try to shape education so that it suits their own needs and desires for their children, regardless of their own background, training, or area of expertise—or for what might be good for the children of other parents.

We all have our opinions. We have a right to voice our opinions. We even have a right to think that our opinions are correct—we’re all entitled to that thought. But we shouldn’t confuse our opinions with expertise.

Sitting in that classroom the other night, I heard a lot of opinions. Unfortunately, those opinions were drowning out the expertise I had come to hear.


  1. I understand that the parents were talking to a single person, but I still found their accusatory use of the second person pronoun disconcerting. Most of the parent phrased their questions as direct attacks on the teacher who no doubt contributed to the school’s decisions but was certainly not solely responsible for those decisions.  ↩

  2. This parent did use “pedagogical” and “pedagogy” in his first three statements. He seemed to like the word, drawing out the syllables into an unusual mispronunciation-drawl: pee-duh-GHOH-ghi-kal and pee-duh-GHOH-ghee. I suppose his focus on “pedagogy” distracted him from noticing that he didn’t pose a questions.  ↩

  3. Even the few parents who have the training, experience, and expertise do not necessarily understand what will work best in a different context, with a different set of curricular options and goals, and with a different set of students.  ↩

Parenting by Tally

Conversation overheard yesterday at school pick up:

Mom #1: Why does everything fall to me?
Mom #2:That’s ’cause you’re the mother. We always have to pick up the slack.
Mom #1: I know. [sigh]

Countless mothers and fathers probably exchange analogous conversations every day. Parenting is relentlessly laborious. Bogged down in each drudgerous moment, we readily fixate on the inequities we suffer. As catharsis, conversations like the one between Mom #1 and Mom #2 are beneficial and part of the shared of experience parenting. But efforts to enumerate “the slack”, to tally up the inequities, is a project doomed to failure.

Joules points out that despite superficial appearances of equal distribution of labor (and, as she indicates in the comments, what she expects of a relationship), when she tallies up domestic work, she does more than her husband. Joules’s “mom inch” is no doubt endemic—just ask moms. I would guess that fewer but still not insignificant numbers of fathers suffer from the corresponding “dad inch.” Speaking from experience and “data”[1] (i.e., tallies recorded day in, day out on a calendar),[2] the “dad inch” has plagued our house. What do we gain by trying to count up the inches, feet, miles? Not only is parenting not a race, the labor involved in parenting is not numerically comparable. I supposed we could come up with complicated algorithms to calculate the physical work each person expends, but that doesn’t really get us very far.[3]

Ledgers of parenting credits and debits.

Ledgers of parenting credits and debits.

Such a reductive approach ignores the different conditions in which we work. Does somebody get more credit for the same amount of work if it happens at a less convenient time (say, the middle of the night or the crack of dawn) or in harsher conditions (say in the snow or rain)? How do we account for travel time or making arrangements? How about preparation and clean up? What about work that everybody despises? What about emotionally difficult work? Or dirty work or gross work? What about acute, unpredicted work that prevents somebody from doing something else? Do we need to take into account lossed work or pleasure? And do we get credit for work that satiates our own obsessions?

Seriously, work is not work is not work. It is folly to try to tally the “mom inches” or the “dad inches.”

While evaluating labor distribution is common, parental tallying doesn’t stop there. Ariel is frustrated that despite all he does for his daughter, which he tallies for us, she continues to like her mom the best.[4] Again, I sympathize with Ariel here—I have watched #1 and #2 fight for who “gets to sit next” to the Mother at the dinner table, listened to them jump at the chance to run errands with the Mother rather than loiter around the house with me, watched them run to the Mother when they need to be comforted or just when they want to prattle on about their day. But what is gained by tallying up these “rejections”?[5]

As with tallying up parental labor, so to tallying up affection is fraught with difficulty. Simply summing up the discrete events ignores fundamental differences. Is wanting to be brought “to the potty” the same as wanting “to be carried”? Is wanting to sit next to somebody at dinner the same as wanting to fly like a superhero? Getting dressed the same as playing in the bath? Such tallying also ignores the conditions that might prompt a child to turn to one parent or another at different times and for different needs. Rather than lamenting slights could we rejoice in affections. How many expressions of love and caring do we miss while we are tallying the slights [see fn#2 below]?

Tallying up parental labor or offspring affection seems to depend on a sort of egotism, a worry that the world (or your family) are not sufficiently rewarding your effort. That is absolutely true. With all due respect and in all seriousness: The world and your family do not and never will bestow on you the rewards and accolades that your efforts merit.[6] To borrow from King Lear:

O, let’s stop trying to reduce parenting to a ledger of credits and debits,
for that way madness lies (or rather anger and frustration and discontent).


  1. “Data” is in scare quotes because the tallies recorded are anything but given. Like all tallies, they reflect unacknowledged biases and value judgements. They suffer from limited purview and scope. They efface various evaluative metrics and slide silently between incompatible metrics. Such “data” are little more than anecdote gussied up as numbers and masquerading as “data.” At best, this “data” merely confirms what we already know. More often, armed with this “data” we become righteous in our knowledge.  ↩

  2. “Day in, day out” only hints at the minutia I have in my darker moods recorded. I am not proud of these moments or the obsessions they produce. E.g.,

    March 16 [of some previous year]
    7:15 Got #1 & #2 up and ready for school
    7:35 Made breakfast for #1 and #2
    8:05 Took #1 & #2 to school (the Mother leaves for work)
    8:40 Arrived at work
    15:15 Retrieved #1 & #2 from school
    15:45 Finished working on closet door
    17:30 Made tomorrow’s lunches for #1 & #2
    17:45 Made dinner and cleaned up afterwards
    (18:00 the Mother arrived home from work)
    18:45 Bathed #1 & #2
    19:30 Reviewed homework with #1
    20:00 Got #1 & #2 ready for and in bed
    20:30 Read to #1 & #2
    21:30 Painted door in basement
    22:30 Returned to office to work

    Clearly I was doing the lion’s share of the domestic labor. Oh wait, maybe I wasn’t. Not only could I not record what the Mother was doing while I was occupied (she might have been browsing the internet or slaving away at some invisible-to-me task such as paying bills), I didn’t even bother trying. And I didn’t bother thinking about the type of labor the Mother was sparing me, until those isolated instances when I had to rant and rave about some horrible burden I was now forced to bear.[2a] I was too busy recording my labor in an effort to compile the “data” that demonstrated what I already knew.  ↩

    [2a] E.g., I hate with a deep and visceral passion the phone—calling somebody, receiving calls, making appointments, following up, hearing it ring, knowing it’s there, listening to messages on the machine or even seeing the little red light pulsating at me like some demonic eye, anything. Thank god the Mother takes care this labor. I don’t know when, or where, or how, and I don’t care. I owe her an enormous debt just for shielding me from the phone. Just yesterday I had to phone AT&T about a bill. I was stewing about it for an hour while I retrieved #1 and #2 and brought them home. I was short-tempered while looked again at the bill and collected my thoughts and prepared to dial. I girded for the worst as I dialed the phone. I hated every second of my otherwise pleasant 5-minute conversation with a very helpful person on the other end of the line. 5 minutes. Problem solved. Despite this productive and efficient encounter, I hate the phone. Again. I am eternally indebted to the Mother for sparing me such torture.  ↩

  3. The equation for calculating work is pretty easy: Work = Force x distance. The challenge comes in measuring all the forces exerted and all the distances through which that force is exerted. While perhaps possible, the mechanics of such a project are daunting to say the least.  ↩

  4. Ariel’s letter is clearly, at least in part, meant to be humorous (a point I should have made initially). His letter has been reposted at that grand re-poster of content, Huff Post, which is not, as a rule, humorous.  ↩

  5. And according to whom are these choices (if we can ascribe such intentionality to them) slights or rejections?  ↩

  6. If it‘s any consolation, our partners (and probably children) are suffering the same injustice.  ↩

My quagmires become your vistas

I hadn’t signed up for the infant I was holding. The imaginary photo album that chronicled my life didn’t include any pictures of me and her. There were no blank pages waiting to be filled with snapshots of us. No loose leafs of paper on which I had written sage fatherly advice fell from that imagined miscellany of keepsakes. No. There was no record of this little girl.

Yet there I stood in the dark looking down at an infant in my arms. When there was no one there, she called out in the night.[1] I had no quarrel with her. I had no right to make her the object of my resentment, which would unpredictably distend like some tumor into ire. For months I had raged about. I had fulminated and protested. But fury is an emotional conflagration — it devours combustible passions indiscriminately leaving behind charred ruins and smoldering embers. So too my wrath degenerated into melancholy.

It was so unfair. At least it had seemed that way. Without even knowing it I had cast some cosmic die, and the outcome had changed the course of my life. Former plans and schemes lay scattered about in my life’s imaginary boneyard. I was discontent as I looked out over a new emotional and professional terrain — panoramas of success had been replaced by quagmires of failure.

That’s all a lie. I hadn’t suffered any injustice. Fate hadn’t conspired to rob me of my future. Questions of fair and unfair were misplaced if directed at my life. No, I hadn’t anticipated my predicament. But to what extent had I planned any given moment in my life? Even the most carefully engineered circumstance is a salmagundi of realized design and unanticipated confusion. If I wanted to continue to claim the title adult, I had no right to self-pity or petulance.[2] Insofar as “fair” played any role in my situation, it applied not to me but my actions: Would I treat other people fairly? Would I, to put it bluntly, blame an innocent infant for my acts?[3]

She was too young to understand anything I said. Nevertheless, each night I picked her up when there was no one around and convinced her, just talked to her. I was afraid, there in the dark. So I told her how much I loved her. I reassured her. I promised always to be there. Every night as she slept in her bed, when there was no one around, I leaned over one last time, whispered “I love you” into her ear, and kissed her forehead. She’s only a child and she’s dependent on me.

Now six years later I can only with difficulty recall my rage. My love and hope have smothered it. I no longer worry about the shards of some imagined life. Instead, I revel in the life I envision, especially for you. You have made me happier than I’d been by far. Where I once saw only the dank morass of my life I now see the panoramic vistas of yours.

We have only a few more years together. One day you will leave. And that’s when, if I am successful, you’ll do the things that you always wanted to. Without me there to hold you back. Don’t think. Just do. Know that wherever you are, whatever you do, I’ll be watching you. Because more than anything, more than life itself, I want to see you girl, take a glorious bite out the whole world.

I didn’t sign up for the little girl whose hand I’m holding as we go to breakfast today. But nothing will slow us from filling up page after page of our imaginary photo album with real memories of us.


  1. The songs and lyrics that inform this essay have been adapted, repurposed — violated? — to fit the context of the post. Music’s power stems in part from its ambiguity and malleability. Although these songs are different in so many ways, they both confront the twinned issues of responsibility and love.  ↩

  2. Here, perhaps obviously, I take adult to mean more than simply a person of a certain age and biological maturity. Instead, adult denotes emotional, mental, and intellectual development. Age and biological capabilities too rarely coincide with this meaning.  ↩

  3. I intend this post to be more than simply a confessional memoir. The goal, particularly of this paragraph, is to highlight how easy it is to become consumed by perceived injustices, injustices done to us by some abstract, perverted divinity (or, for the unvarnished atheists, reified Chance). This evaluation of life’s events assumes that the world, nature, society, anything out there cares enough about us to notice our existence. Rather than work so hard to identify the injustices we have suffered, perhaps we could spend more effort recognizing our own culpability for our situation and more time taking responsibility for how we respond to the circumstances that we have helped to create.[3a] It is all too easy to interpret life as a series of injustices. It is much harder to take our role in life seriously. But to do so, to recognize that we have a choice in how we respond to any circumstance, that’s what adults do.  ↩

    3a. Innumerable injustices and crimes have been committed against equally vast numbers of people. And those crimes have real and, at least in principle, identifiable perpetrators. Let’s not cheapen those real crimes and injustices by conflating the circumstances of our lives with them. ↩

My Afternoon as a Predator

I ignored the phone when it rang. Then the email arrived, flagged urgent:

Dear [MainLineDad]
I just tried to call but you’re not in your office. Please call me as soon as you get this.
Sincerely,
[Lower School Principal]

What? Had #1 has caused some serious trouble? Had #1 been hurt? Turned out, it had nothing to do with #1.

I was in trouble.[1]

Background

Three months earlier, members of the Home and School Association had phoned me to ask if I would be willing to be #1’s “Classroom Parent.” I agreed. On the one hand, as Classroom Parent I would have more chances to be involved in #1’s life. On the other hand, I thought it was my responsibility to share the labor with the other parents who have given their time and energy. It was also a chance to model father involvement—the ranks of Classroom Parents are dominated by mothers who shoulder the burden of school-related labor, at least in primary school.[2]

As Classroom Parent I had attended the obligatory “organizational meetings,” had accompanied the class on a couple field trips, had persuaded different parents to help with in-class activities. I had sent more emails about school related topics than I can remember. And along with the grade’s two other Classroom Parents I had helped plan the annual parent gathering for our grade.

That annual parent gathering became my nemesis.[3]

In preparation for the parent gathering, we, the Classroom Parents, had decided it would be nice to have a slideshow of the students in their classrooms, on field trips, and romping around the playground. My task was to ensure we had photos of every kid. Over the next few weeks I went to school a number of times to take pictures of the kids in the class and on the playground.

Accusation

When I phoned the principle that afternoon to find out what was wrong, he told me only that he and assistant principal needed to see me. That day, if possible. He hinted only that there had been a concerns voiced about me.

When I arrived they ushered me into the principle’s office where the principle and assistant principle were waiting for me. They didn’t prevaricate. “A parent or parents” — they were careful to protect the anonymity of my accuser(s) — had been disturbed by my behavior. A parent or parents had seen me taking pictures of the students on the playground, the jungle gym, and the swings. A parent or parents had seen me “taking pictures with a big camera.” A parent or parents had seen me “waiting in the hallways with a camera.” A parent or parents had claimed I was “threatening.”

I sat in stunned silence. I was ashamed. Embarrassed. Insulted. Mortified. Afraid.

After a moment, I asked for clarification: What were they trying to say? Were they accusing me of being a pedophile or a predator? Had a parent accused me of being a sexual predator?

No no, they assured me, nobody had “actually called [me] a pedophile.” Their insistence on the adverb, “actually,” which they repeated a number of times, suggested that the parent or parents had all but called me a pedophile or some sort of predator. And the reassured me that they had no suspicions. The principle and assistant principle were merely following up because they had promised the parent(s) that they would talk to me.

My shame was turning to anger and outrage.

How could any parent see me as a threat? How could the school let a parent believe for a moment that I was a predator? I was doing what my co-Classroom Parents had charged me to do. I was on school grounds with the school’s permission, taking photos for a function the school had compelled us to organize. I had volunteered in the classrooms. I had chaperoned field trips. I had attended assemblies and back-to-school night. I dropped #1 off every morning and picked him up every afternoon. Every teacher at the school new me by name. I wasn’t a stranger lurking in the shadows. I was a public fixture.[4]

Yet there I slumped in a chair in the principle’s office, listening to them accuse me of being a predator if not “actually” a pedophile.

Searching for Clues

I get it. Parents want to protect their children. Predators don’t walk around in neon-green shirts with the word “PREDATOR” emblazoned across the front in 144-pt Helvetica. Consequently, parents scrutinize people’s behavior for suspicious activity that reveals malevolent intent. As parents we look for and find those clues. A father at school during the day is, apparently, suspicious. Put a camera in his hand and clearly he’s a predator.

We find ourselves in a precarious position of trying to discover evil intentions in neutral behavior. Like some reincarnated Matthew Hopkins, each of us searches for signs of maleficium. And like Matthew Hopkins, we pursue our demons with zeal and determination.

The Dad Double Bind

We have painted ourselves into a corner. We want fathers to be involved in their children’s upbringing. Scholars continue to report on the unique and life-long benefits of having an engaged father. We encourage and cajole fathers into spending time with their children.[5] But then we are suspicious when fathers play too large a role in their kids’ lives, or perhaps we are suspicious of fathers who choose to play a large a role in their kids’ lives. And if the research is valid, men are more frequently predators. So it comes as no surprise that we are more suspicious of men.

That doesn’t make it any easier when somebody assumes you are a predator (see, for example, Dad Profiling). Or worse, when you are explicitly accused of being a predator.

I don’t know who my accuser was (or who they were) or exactly what they said. I know only that my accuser(s) had won. I wanted nothing to do with the school or the parents. I walked out to my car and returned with the flash drive that contained all the photos I had taken and had been editing for the upcoming annual parent gathering. I handed it to the principle and then left. I resigned as Classroom Parent and, more importantly, as school predator.

This year, when I was again asked to be a Classroom Parent, I respectfully but unambiguously declined. I had no intention of ever being school predator again.


  1. The events at the center of the post occurred a couple years ago when I was “Classroom Parent.” I reread them recently when I stumbled across the notebook I had used to organize class events, to arrange activities in the classroom and coordinate with other parents, and to draft emails and other communication with parents.  ↩

  2. That year, I and one other father agreed to be a Classroom Parent. In contrast, 11 mothers stepped forward to be Classroom Parents. That ratio has held pretty stable. The disparity in parental involvement permeates various aspects of primary school, from attending curriculum night to helping out in the classroom to chaperoning school field trips.  ↩

  3. This parent gathering was a disaster. We struggled with dates, we argued about locations, we didn’t agree on food or drink, we didn’t see eye to eye on equitable distribution of labor. It was cancelled and rescheduled at least twice. And then, in the end, it never occurred.  ↩

  4. Clearly none of these is a reliable indicator of innocence or guilt. Neither strangers nor friends and relatives have a monopoly on abusing or abducting children, though friends and family seem more likely to commit such crimes.  ↩

  5. Innumerable fathers play a large part in raising their children without having to be shamed into it. Yet it remains more common for mothers to play a larger role in raising children and to have to persuade fathers to take on more varied responsibilities.  ↩