Donald Miller's hit book, Blue Like Jazz, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies to non-traditional, spiritually seeking Christians. In his latest book, To Own a Dragon, Miller discusses the epiphany he had that growing up without a father affected him in myriad ways long after his childhood.

What was your experience growing up without a father?


My dad left before I remember anything. There were early memories of my mom interacting with my dad occasionally, trying to get a credit card back from him, but I don't have any memories of my dad. It all seemed pretty normal. It wasn't until five or six years ago that I even began to process the fact that something in my life had been missing. There were a lot of the things I didn't know. By know I mean that on a holistic level I didn't know that authority equals love, those sorts of things. I always felt like I was ten years behind in terms of the way I was living my life. I attribute that to not having a father.

It was watching a documentary about a group of orphaned elephants that helped you see the need for a male authority in your life.


Without the presence of older elephants in their lives to mentor them, these elephants remained in suspended musth cycles, which essentially is like a puberty phase. With an older male elephant there, their musth cycle will only last about three days. It's a very uncomfortable time, but it's eased when an older male elephant is in their life.

But for the elephants on this reserve, with no older males, their musth cycles did not end. They basically began to lose it. They acted out aggressively and violently toward other creatures. They began to withdraw from their tribe. When they introduced older male elephants into that community of orphaned ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.