But this is not what Ms Noonan identifies as what she wants from her father figures. She wants them waiting through the night at the side of the hospital bed, like Atticus Finch, or providing safety and security by their very presence. But, while emotionally powerful and probably universal, this view of the father is that of a child. Which adolescent among us has not discovered the feet of clay and the lifetime membership card to the Universal Guild of Imperfect Humanity in his or her father’s clothes one sad day? Who among us has not had to swallow the bitter pill that all-powerful Daddy can in fact not protect us from life or our enemies when we most need him? The bittersweet fact of a good father is that he can and will throw himself in front of a speeding car or a charging lion to protect his children, even if he cannot save them. But that is not wisdom. That is love. Let us be clear-eyed enough to distinguish the two.It is no disrespect to Atticus Finch to say his midnight vigil over his wounded child was the result of love, and perhaps even guilt that his principled defense of his client put his own child in mortal danger. Love and guilt are powerful things, and they can inspire wonderfully selfless behavior, but they are not wisdom. I do not want a counselor who loves me. I want one who is wise.
Never forget: every wise man started out a simple fool like you or me. He learned wisdom by questioning, by learning, and by doing. There is no secret stash of wise men waiting at WalMart for us to purchase.It is time we manned up and learned to become our own wise men.