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Atticus believes that the best way to teach his children is to lead by example. He is both a father and best friend to the children, best illustrated by the fact that both Jem and Scout call their father by his first name. A widower, Atticus is unable to provide his children with a feminine touch, but he has the good sense to employ a strong-minded housekeeper, Calpurnia, to lend a helping hand. Partly because there is no mother in the home, Scout's young childhood is spent as a tomboy in overalls, but Atticus sees no problem with this. He gives his children as much independence as possible and hopes they will learn from life's experiences. Atticus prays that the children will always trust him and come to him when they have a problem or need a question answered. Jem and Scout come to learn that though Atticus is older than most of their friends' parents and that he is "feeble," he has hidden talents. They know he is a fine lawyer, and Jem even considers following in his father's footsteps. Scout knows that she can curl up in her father's lap when the need arises, and that he will always have time to listen to her troubles. We know that the relationship between Atticus and his children grows stronger in time, since Scout tells us on the first page of the novel that she and Jem still go to Atticus when they need to settle an argument.
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