Art by Melissa Clark,
Art by Melissa Clark,

The Hearts of the Fathers

by Jeanine Bee

My dad thinks he only taught me one thing growing up. Every chance he got he would remind us, “Kids, never fight a monkey.” I’m not sure what internet video or TV special he saw about fighting monkeys that prompted him to make this his motto, but it is something I’ll always remember. Once, our home teacher shared with us a moment he had when he reminded his daughter of one of those oft repeated Mormon adages. Something like “The spirit goes to bed at 10:00,” or “Modest is Hottest.” His daughter had heeded his sage advice and, of course, avoided something major, like an explosion at a nearby gas station or a freak tornado. After that story my dad said, “I wish I had taught my children something worthwhile like that.” My brother and I piped in, “Dad! You did teach us something important! Remember? ‘Never fight a monkey!’” My dad looked a little embarrassed at our praise.

Jeanine Bee lives on the East coast with her husband and son, and likes to think that she was a harder-than-average teenager to raise. Not because she is proud of the fact, but because she is hoping that what goes around will not, in fact, come around. "The Hearts of the Fathers" was a finalist in the 2012 Mormon Lit Blitz.