Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

26th trait – The modern man civilizes his children.


Only three to go. Here’s one of them:

The modern man civilizes his children.

Recently I was talking to a trusted associate who is a master tailor. He told me of a couple who had come into his small and sophisticated shop for a consultation. They brought with them their two boys aged around the age of six or seven. The children proceeded to literally pull apart the gentleman’s displays, scattering buttons across the floor and pulling ties off racks. The parents seemed oblivious to the spectacle even though it was happening right under their noses. Eventually the tailor murmured that he expected the children to clean up their mess before they left, at which point both parents jumped into action with loud exclamations at their boys that they did indeed need to clean up their mess. The thought did not enter their minds that the mess should not have been made in the first place.

Children are the next generation, and they come of age surprisingly fast. If you are a parent you have a short period of time in which to get them in order. Children are little barbarians waiting to be civilized. If they grow up without this necessary guidance then their lives will be a misery. It is like having an untrained dog. If the dog does not know its place it will be miserable. Children are the same.

As a father you also need to be a significant father figure. Your children look to you for guidance. So guide. Don’t begin blathering about how it’s not easy. That’s like an ER doctor going on the news and complaining about all the carnage that they see. One wonders why they got into it in the first place.

I think that a significant proportion of the troubles we are seeing in the Western world in a social sense is due to the last few generations of parents neglecting their duties. Either they were ineffective or they completely abdicated their responsibilities to government institutions such as schools.

I once knew a couple with two beautifully behaved children. The children were around the age of twelve and were a delight to be around. One day at a social gathering someone said to the mother how lucky she was to have such wonderful children. This normally calm woman’s face clouded over and she exclaimed, “Luck be damned! It was a lot of hard work.”

As a father it is your duty to rule the roost. You must be unwavering in your resolve in the face of your children, and unfortunately in many cases of your wife. Do this from day one and after the initial conflict you should be okay. Neglect your responsibilities and it will be all the harder to turn it around in later years. I have seen many cases in my life of guys who act like men to the outside world but who are weak and timid nothings in the face of their wife and children.

You are a man 24/7.

By doing this you will raise boys to be men and girls to be women. They hopefully won’t have to go through as many trials as the last few generations have had to suffer. The extreme misbehavior that we see today on college campuses is a clear example of adult-children screaming to be civilized. And yet the college leadership groups simply roll over with their legs in the air. It is too hard for them. These adult-children will progress to the next stages and will end up being in charge of our nations. Heaven help us all then.

The photo at the top of the page is of the children of journalist Robert McCain. He is a man who has taken his responsibilities seriously as a father, and as a result he is sending six healthy, well-adjusted, and civilized children out into the adult world. When compared to the majority of young adults out there perhaps it is fitting to raise a statue to McCain at his Alma Mater.

The modern man civilizes his children.


There is no road-map for your life.


No tip jar; no PayPal.


  1. It’s been a very, veeeery long time since I’ve read something with which I agree on every single word.

    100% accurate, and wonderfully written.

  2. Peewhit

    Adam, I wonder how much you have thought about being a parent. Our children idolise all but the worst of us. They imitate us as well as they can, unless we are of the extremes they will revolt against and do the opposite. Also genetics mean that most of them are very like us. My oldest child and I are very similar, apart from some extra ruthlessness he gets from his mother. This is my version. I am going to hold on to it firmly too.

    • Adam

      You raise an interesting point. I have actually thought very hard about being a parent. That was due to working as a rafting guide in Italy. We took many families rafting, families with young children. Italian families and Dutch families for the most part. Over 10 years I must have taken hundreds if not thousands. I would sit the children right next to me, (so I could grab them if things went wrong), and I stuck the parents as far away from them as possible so they would concentrate on the task at hand.

      And I began to notice something interesting. The children were mostly unremarkable but there would be quite awful children mixed in as well. Very often the awful children had lovely parents. Truly lovely people who I would have been happy to go out afterwards for a drink together. I would wonder how it was possible for such lovely people to have such horrible children. And then I began to see the reverse. Beautiful children with awful parents. I remember one young girl in particular, even after all these years. She must have been 9 or 10 years old. She sat at the back next to me and we began an immediate conversation about the river and rafting that was worthy of two adults. She was intelligent, precocious but also very mature and down to earth. She was fascinating. Her mother was a dreadful woman who spent the whole time in the raft shrieking due to the fact that she was attempting to cover her own panic by feigning concern for her daughter. The girl would look at me and raise an eyebrow on occasion when the histrionics got particularly bad. I took the girl rafting a few more times, but without her mother.

      I began to actively observe parents and their children. There were very few times that I would witness a direct correlation. I am happy that you have managed the feat, but do not consider it to be the norm. Put families together in a stressful test and the truth often comes out.

  3. Peewhit

    Adam, sometimes it seems the best thing you can do is to pick your parents carefully. From an early age my parents pointed out that children often went the opposite way to their parents. It is an interesting line to walk. Not being too extreme in any way. But as I have said to others in the past, funny isn’t it that energetic smart parents have energetic smart children. I probably should mention that my children at present range in age from 41 to 30, and I am very happy that they are good citizens, with worthwhile jobs they enjoy, with the possible exception of my daughter. I think she enjoys being a lawyer specializing in contract law, but I am not sure. They are all adventurous, but more careful than their father, while also being agro, but subtle about it. The most important part of being a parent is letting go of them as they are capable of looking after themselves. Last thing is that I did not manage the feat of making my older son in my image. I just raised him as best I could, he can’t help being like me. If you were to ask me for a description of me, I would refer you to him. He can be distressingly honest about me, and to me. I am sure that when you put families in a stress situation you would find out things they would normally hide. You might consider too that the girl who stayed calm, was reflecting her father who had the job of trying to counteract his wife.

  4. Peewhit

    Further, I forgot to mention that Mum and Dad did tell me that the most demanding parents had the nicest children, and the nicest parents had the most demanding children. As I already said I was not all that old when they pointed this out. Very educating my parents. All we can do is try to provide our children with all the wisdom we can for them to stand on. See Newton for this reference.

    • Adam

      Further, I forgot to mention that Mum and Dad did tell me that the most demanding parents had the nicest children, and the nicest parents had the most demanding children.

      I like this.

  5. BTampa

    A few thoughts on parenting:

    1) As a young lad, I trained hunting dogs and could make a decent pup do anything you wanted him to do. It is a matter of being sure you are communicating your intent to him and being fair, firm, and consistent. When my first child was on the way I reasoned that since a human child is much smarter than a puppy, I should really only have to tell him once. Imagine my surprise!

    Even so, the rules about clear communication, fairness, firmness, and consistency all work if you stick to them.

    2) Disciplining children really is unpleasant. It isn’t difficult, only unpleasant. You will become tired of doing it, maybe even resentful that you have to do it, but it is the price for well-behaved children that other humans can tolerate in their presence. Eventually you can reason with them on a more adult level. If you expect this and cultivate it it can come sooner than most people realize.

    My oldest son, no more than five at the time, was crying over something I wouldn’t let him have or do and I asked him, “Has that ever worked with me? Even once?” He answered, “No.” I asked, “Then why are you doing it?” He stopped crying and walked away – and left me a memory for Dad’s Highlight Reel.

    3) When our four were young, we were stationed briefly at Ft. Lee, VA. We became friends with another couple who also had four children. Their home was pandemonium. The kids ran wild, made messes, and had apparently not been taught that some behavior works outside and not inside. When they visited us, they were amazed to find we had not “child-proofed” the house and were able to leave breakable items on the coffee table.

    You don’t have to teach them to misbehave. They come equipped with that knowledge. You have to teach them to behave and every day you waste pretending bad behavior is cute or a phase they will outgrow only makes the eventual lessons more painful – if you undertake them at all.

    • Adam

      Another good one for a crying 5 year old – “Is this a small problem, a medium problem, or a big problem?”

  6. dearieme

    Start with problems at table. Allow a nipper to veto, say, three foods, the list to be changed only once a year. The veto applies only to the tiddler of course. The rest of the family may scoff them with evident relish. As may the cat, the dog, the goat, …..

    Fuss is much reduced and the idea of prohibition becomes familiar.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: