I have sons, one stepson and two who sprang from my loins—an odd image, that.

I was once a child myself. I enjoyed being a child, not as much as I enjoy being an old man, but childhood wasn’t bad.

Taking care of a whole other person is pretty much indescribable. A full-time job doesn’t compare, and being a parent is permanent. Spouses come and go, but your child is your child forever. My sons will always have only one father, namely me, a predicament that may yet prove to be survivable.

One of the hardest parts of being a parent for me, and I suspect for others, is just letting children be the way they are. New children are completely uncivilized, and it can be a constant temptation to try to mold and steer and guide them. Children are such ignoramuses. Their cuteness is a survival mechanism. Fortunately, children are smarter than adults, not having had much schooling, and they manage. Some days my boys are indistinguishable from grownups; some days not.

Getting my sons to do what I wanted them to do was indescribably frustrating until I learned how to make them kowtow properly. You parents might want to try it, too. I haven’t had any discipline or behavior problems with my children since I threatened them with death.

Now my sons fear me. They don’t tremble much, but I’m sure they fear me just the same. They know that, as their father, I have the power of life and death over them, and I’m willing to use it. When they forget how afraid of me they are, which happens more often that one might think, I gently remind them that I could kill them on a whim. They laugh, but it’s probably nervous laughter.

My sons are fine young men, fortunately, because if one of them were the slightest bit defective in any way, I wouldn’t hassle him or lecture him or punish him—I would kill him.

My sons obey me unquestioningly. When I tell them to turn off their computers and go to bed, they eventually do, only because they know I would kill them dead on the spot.

When I say “Jump!” they don’t say, “How high?” They don’t say anything. They act like I’m not even standing there. They’re paralyzed with fear.

I would kill either of them at the drop of a hat if he ever displeased me, if I ever found any fault with him. They’ve been lucky so far, because if I ever thought one of them were less than outstanding, it’s a bullet to the head.

Our grass gets cut now and then only because if it didn’t, somebody would have to die.

My sons are alive today only because I allow them to live, and they know it. They pretend not to take me seriously, but they know their lives hang by a thread. You could ask them, but they won’t tell you, because if they did, I would kill them.