This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The importance of uncles to young people

Some of the most important people in my life have been uncles. And I don't mean real family-type uncles, just men of the same generation as my father, or older, who have chosen to take a few minutes to help me, or share their wisdom with me.

But something went wrong when I became old enough to be an uncle. Somewhere in the 1990s, I was given advice to never interact with children. Up to that point, I had always talked to kids. I had fixed the brakes on their bicycles. No, I didn't hang around with kids. But I had been avuncular, and that's an old-fashioned term for a kindly uncle type. So I stopped. I never spoke to children, never made eye contact, never acknowledged them after that. Yeah, I'll admit that under certain circumstances, I couldn't resist playing rock-paper-scissors, especially if I was at a boring party, with a kid. But I immediately caught myself and stopped, thinking that someone would think that I was a creep.

As a professional man and a bachelor, I would have made a good big brother. Or really, an uncle. But society had started to get *creeped out* by men who interacted with children. It's sad, but true. There are a lot of bad people out there, and I understand.

But I remember the uncles in my life. When I was a little kid, and they acknowledged me as a human being, I felt great. As a young man, I had uncles who gave me career advice, shared their wisdom. I had uncles who made suggestions of what tie I should wear, and how to tie it.

I hope that they are still uncles out there.
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