What Is A “Good Father”?
‘Father’ is a most gloriously complex word. It is subject to our remixes pop, dad, papi, each with their own connotations and inferences.
We also bring so much to the word by way of its behavioral application like fathering and what that might entail, along with stereotypes and norms about male behavior.
Sometimes we talk about structure and support, keeping the food on the table etc. which could be viewed as superficial. Other times we talk about love, wisdom, and advice which are hard to value objectively. And with so many that do not have traditional relationship experiences with a biological father how can we even begin appraise this seemingly crucial role?
What is the role of a father? How do you qualify it as good or bad especially when love itself can be expressed and felt on so many ways? In our modern society many of us have decided to substitute ‘father’ for ‘positive male role influence’ and there are many conversations about whether a father is necessary.
Personally I feel privileged to have had and continue to have a strong relationship with my biological father who I feel is almost inarguably a “good man” albeit imperfect. I find myself wondering how I have come to this determination after becoming so well aware of who he is a person now in my adult life.
I look at the other men he holds dear, I notice their behavior and how they show up in my father’s life. I also look at my grand father and how their relationship has developed as far as I know it. Ofcourse I look to how he treats his own mother and mine, his sisters and other women. I pay special attention to how he treats children and the elderly and I find that I have adopted many of these behaviors myself.
Largely my father seems to be guided by a desire to be of service and yields himself to a higher spiritual power, his family, and varies communities he is a part of. But none of these things have to do with biology.
When I look through old pictures I find solidify my own identity. We share great physical resemblance and so much in personality as well.
Looking back on my childhood I realize that much of what I experienced as harshness was due to my own misunderstanding of what was going on and it is nearly impossible to gauge what I would have done differently given that I could not have raised myself. But some how I find that I am happy with myself and my imperfections and so can not help but credit much of that happiness to his efforts.
My childhood was most certainly not all peaches and rainbows. There was an intense amount of strain on our relationship and pressure on me growing up. A pressure that I’m sure reflects itself in my personality today.I can’t help but wonder now if I am happy with my father’s parenting only as a much I am happy with the product of his work or if I feel that he could have achieved similar or “better” results through other means. Would not I be a different person had my father been a different person, and without having that other experience be unable to know whether I would be happier?
I don’t have any answers to any of this but I felt like today is a perfect day to reflect on it and share my thoughts. Happy Father’s Day America.
published from my iPhone