Amy: Well, I need a snack, and Michael needs a nap. Jacob and Zach, what do you need?
Jacob: We just need to wrestle.
What? Haven't we been wrestling all day? Do you remember when I gave you all haircuts this morning? Wrestling with shears! Or when I wrestled you all into that limousine of a shopping cart at the grocery store? How about when I wrestled Zachary away from attempting a head-first dive into the bathtub? (I'm not making this up.) I wrestled Michael away from drinking out of the toilet bowl at least three times. We could institute a preschool WWF around here!
But mommy-wrestling was not the type of wrestling that Jacob was talking about. He was talking about daddy-wrestling: rolling on the floor, laughing wrestling. The kind of wrestling where you might actually get a real scrape. The kind of wrestling that you do when mom's in the other room. The type of wrestling that only a dad can do.
Several years ago a feminist colleague asked me how people dare suppose that there are some things a man can teach a child that a woman can't. "Name one thing!" she screeched, rolling her eyes. I didn't know what to say then, but now I know. As a mother of boys, I can teach them to be kind, smart, loyal, and righteous. I can teach them to read, to ride bikes, to count by fives, to swim, to plant a garden. If I summoned up the energy, I could even teach them how to really wrestle. But only a man can teach a child how to be a man. Popular societal ideologies cheapen manhood and a father's role as presider, protector, and provider. God bless the good men who lead families in roles that they are specially designed to fulfill, all the while teaching their children about real manhood. And God bless the ones who even take time for some wrestling.
P.S. Two incredible resources on manhood, and particularly about positive male role models:
Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys (along with the wrestling conversation, the impetus for this post)
Elder Richard Edgley's masterful talk "Behold the Man" from the October 1999 General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS (I practically have this memorized because I've listened to it so much; it's a gem for every parent of boys)