Sunday Reading: What the Young Man Should Know

Sunday Reading: What the Young Man Should Know

Sunday September 01, 2013 Written by Son

Dads are full of advice; some more than others. This Harper's article from 1933 is probably the most advice a dad has ever given in one hit. Perfect Father's Day reading.

Written by Robert Littell, "What the Young Man Should Know" reads more like a pandect of the attributes you might find in a very well-disciplined superhero than it does an accomplishable goal for the nation's youth. Beginning with the basics (swimming, public speaking) before moving onto the more showy (dancing, self-defense), Littell warns that while some skills can be left to the child's formal –and no-doubt terrifying –education (including, apparently, boxing), fathers need to provide the rest themselves:

If we want our sons to be able to drive a car, speak French fluently, play the piano, set a broken leg, and make horses do their bidding we shall have to look outside of the schools and colleges.

Littell might not be wrong – even Eton College would likely balk on the equestrianism, but he certainly asks a lot. Wonder what he'd make of today's 30-something manchild? Probably best he didn't make it to this Father's Day.