” I’m worried about my generation, Mom. There are so few male role models to set an example, how are we supposed to know how to live our lives?”
My son was fifteen when he shared this concern with me. Having watched his own father turn his back during our divorce, and witnessing the same with so many of his friends, what was he to think?
“It seems no one wants to take responsibility anymore.”
I had no answers. My own father was a good provider, but emotionally unavailable, and abusive. His paternal grandfather died long before he was born.
“I guess you’ll have to carve your own path,” I offered. “Stick to your values and you’ll be okay.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and state that fathering has never been easy. Women share a bond with their child from conception (and a body), while men stand by and observe. That bond continues after childbirth if the woman chooses to breastfeed. A father has to find a way to insert himself into the equation. Some hold back and wait for the child to grow older. Some, like my son-in-law, finds a role and ensure parenting is teamwork.
This week we focused on fathers. The original challenge was: Things my father said, but it soon became apparent that this was not so simple. Some dads were men of few words. Some were absent. Some proved to be awkward heroes.
I think we can agree, that all influenced us, one way or another.
Gathering from all the insights and stories shared, I have composed a message to my son and all future fathers:
teach clear boundaries –
children need guidance
through chaotic times.
Keep your idiosyncracies
they will be appreciated, in time.
Talk about what is hard,
and also how to be soft.
Be kind and believe
in each child’s potential.
Teach us that mistakes
are inevitable, learning good.
Your life is your example –
perfection is not called for
but a demonstration of humanity
Anything else to add?
Thank you to this week’s participants:
See you tomorrow for a new challenge.