What’s the secret to raising generation after generation of great families? The right map.

Us against the world?
This is how it’s done.

The only families who reliably raise great families – good kids who grow up to raise good kids – are what I call Testudo families: Dad has persuaded everyone in the family to progress in a metaphorical Testudo formation – everyone marches together with their shields held together overhead so each person is shielded from outside attack by all the others. They are defended not from poisoned arrows but poisonous ideas. A Testudo family is explicitly – and obviously – a distinct polis, a well-defended Hoplite redoubt.

Can’t spot ’em? Look for matching outfits from Dad to newborn, often home-made. Listen for uncommon first names, especially names sharing a theme. The easiest tell, though, is how they are organized: Dad is in charge, but everyone contributes, and everyone shares in the responsibility for maintaining, sustaining and defending the family.

How do you spot that? It’s in the way they walk together in public, for one easy tell. But they do everything that way, everyone fully-committed to Dad’s leadership.

The DISC of the Testudo family is simple:

Dad will be Dsci in that order – Mister Married. Mom will be Sdic or Sdci – with the the former being reliably more prolific, I would bet. They will be hugely committed to each other – astonished by adultery in others – and together they will raise their children in their combined pursuit of Dad’s peculiar social-repulsion strategy – the Testudo displays they invoke to declare their shared identity and to separate themselves from every alien influence.

Their objective is to live only Dad’s way, whether that idea is informed by some external doctrine or is self-adduced, and the relative success of the Testudo praxis – Testudo families for their children’s children – can be measured by the commitment of Mom and the kids to Dad’s ideal.

No mutiny? Not even a hint? Wonderful kids and grandkids, and an enduringly inspiring marriage.

Got mutiny? Dad is Disc or Dcsi – or even less reliably Sociable.

Every Dutch Uncle game is a family because every family is a Dutch Uncle game: Dad plants his seed, and the family works to the extent that he and everyone else respects his leadership.

You show me a well-working family, I’ll show you a Dsci Dad. And if a family is breaking or is already broken, it’s because Dad is not Ds – not Ds enough at home, in any case.

What’s the redemption of Loyola? “The conscious choice to do better in the midst of chaotic life.”

Whether it’s from brilliance, paternal loyalty or the blind luck of survivorship bias, Testudo Dads have gotten love, marriage, sex and family right, and, accordingly, everyone else – me included – has been getting it wrong.

How do you do better? Ahem.

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  • Brian Brady

    I knew the Loyola link would take me to Canticle.
    The good news (of that link) is this; it’s never too late to start doing the right thing

    • Every choice you make will make you better or worse. Tiny increments, usually, but big things are made of little things. For every man to move toward Ds is wise, and for every woman toward Sd. When you factor in everything, Ds/Sd is the optimal strategy for a happy life.