When I was a kid, my Dad was more than just my Dad. He was also the leader of my YMCA club, 15 rambunctious boys who gathered one evening a week to learn lessons of respect, trust and responsibility, followed by time to play games (the primary incentive to attend) in the gym.
During the school year, we would play various sports on Saturday mornings against other clubs. For a dozen years or more, my Dad led Y clubs for my older brother and then me, no easy task as you can imagine. He used to talk about his philosophy for imposing discipline upon the chaos we would naturally generate: “firm but fair.” It meant the rules applied to everyone, all the time, but they also had to be fair, neither arbitrary nor capricious.
It meant my brother and I got no special breaks because Dad was the leader. Nor did it help the fast-talking, “yeah-but” kid that could normally sell milk to the dairyman. It wasn’t until I was older and in the working world, and eventually when I was a dad myself, that I came to fully appreciate and understand his approach and its applicability in many other situations – even including energy policy. [Read more…]