Teaching 20-year-olds for the past term has begun to make me feel a little avuncular. But yesterday I had this sudden surge in my avuncularity. First, in the morning I finally took the step of shaving the sparse fuzz remaining on my forehead all the way up to the coronal suture. (That’s the lateral seam in your skull that you feel if you put three fingertips between your eyebrows and slide them up to the top of your head.) To salvage a little dignity, I’ve always been one step ahead of the male pattern baldness.

Then I talked to the heat pump repairman (31) about what it’ll be like for him to have his first baby in a few weeks (my first kid arrived in ’98 and is currently 6′ tall and counting). Then I ran into the new neighbour (28) and talked to him about how three out of four members of his mini-commune are vegans or vegetarians. And finally my 20-y-o niece showed up.

I should buy a cardigan and a briar-root pipe and start practicing my kindly guffaw.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

10 thoughts on “Avuncular”

  1. In Roman Coliseum weren’t those gladiators starting the Games with a cheerful ‘AVE Caesar morituri te salutant’?
    Times are passing., ;-D


  2. Briar? Are you guys still allowed to smoke? In front of children? I thought it was all Generalsnus (with the glass!) and illegal distilling.


  3. Actually, you’re not doing to badly, you’re halfway done with getting the kids out of the house, and you age accordingly. Mine don’t pass the height limits at Disneyland, but I remember SOS being top of the charts. Nothing more frustrating than people congratulating you on your cute grandchildren.


  4. I was interested in this blog since I also feel more and more avuncular, and for similar reasons. My eldest is 24 years old this year and is on the way to his own career and establishing his own family unit.

    The avuncular sentiments washed over me especially during this weekend when I went dancing in Finland. It is fun to go dancing in places where the participants are all less than half my age and to be able to keep up with their dance moves or teach them some of my own. A world wide career that included dancing in obscure locations in Africa and Asia creates a nice dance hybridization. Comments in the nightclub ranged from ‘Are you a policeman’ to ‘If you shake your booty for us we might allow you to sit at our table’. Altogether an interesting range of perspectives, as I went around avuncularising in the nightspots of Helsinki.

    My previous blog comment was on impressions in Stockholm. Since then I have also been in Norway which is where I continued my quest to understand the Nordic psyche. I recently read a book on Scandinavian leadership, and was struck by the underlying philosophical thread that one should leave this world a better place at the end of one’s life. It has always been my Leitmotif as well, but where does it come from? I can tell you that not everyone in the world has this basic programming, and there appears to be a predisposition in the Nordic countries to hold this worldview.

    Arne Ness was one suggestion, and here I am inviting more comments from readers. From a quick read on the internet, and from a nice social function I attended with Norwegian professionals and academics, it appears Arne Ness has been highly influential in Norway, if not all of Scandinavia. Professor Ness was the proposer of Ecosophy, was from what I can see on line quite avuncular, and it looks like he was not a great conformer to societal expectations. A great guy by all accounts.

    I have been told that all first year university students are required to read his philosophy and become conversant with the thoughts and frameworks. That is interesting if so, since there are from my experience few undergraduate courses in the world where philosophy is a compulsory subject regardless of the subject major.

    From an informal poll in Helsinki, Arne Ness is not known. Maybe I have been asking the wrong people, or in the throes of executing a new dance move it is difficult to focus on the philosophical. Multitasking is, after all, not apparently a very human trait, so we have been told lately.

    It would be interesting to find out whether Arne Ness’s philosophies have been exported beyong Norway’s borders; or whether an earlier philosophy drives his, Norway’s and other Scandinavian countries philosophies. Luteranism was proposed to me as one possible or plausible explanation..The search continues.

    In the meantime, my avuncular belief that the world must be a better place when I exit seems to be somewhat closer in Scandinavia then elsewhere in the world, if a new Economist report is to be believed. Entitled ‘The Next Supermodel’ it can be found on line. The front page has a very hairy looking Viking on it, unlike both Martin and my pate.

    Nevertheless, it looks like the avuncular gene if one may call it that, is definitely well dispersed amongst the Scandinavian populations. That is a nice development and it will be interesting to see what the next 50 years will bring…..

    Greetings from Helsinki


  5. We’ve been avunculating for a few years now. Our nieces and many of our friends’ children are in high school, and we are the go to people for tutoring in English, mathematics and science. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’re both surprised at how little we have forgotten over the past 30 or 40 years. It’s also let us change a few lives. There’s nothing quite like the look on a child’s face when they suddenly attain enlighenment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: