Make Amend with Your Father or Mother

I have been up since 6 this morning after waking up by Sam and Peter, our friends' children; whom have spent the night here with our treasures. It was another weird day...the ground was covered in snow when we awoke. Throughout the day, it was sunny...snowy...sunny...gloomy...snowy or hailed...sunny...as if it couldn't make up its mind. Was God happy...sad...in between? Or was God empathetic towards you...your relationship with an impressionable 16-year-old daughter and your seemingly unsupportive husband, Jewls?

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Like many baby boomers, I grew up with my father whose primary role was as provider.

The lyrics to Cat in the Cradle by Harry Chapin have always haunted me because my own father was just the father in the song. Sadly, so is my father-in-law. I am absolutely horrified that this type of relationship between father and son even existed and continues in its existence. Call me naive. I don't want even one father and one son to suffer through a relationship like this.

The words to the first few verses are: A child arrived just the other day, He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew, He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad. You know I'm gonna be like you." It goes on: My son turned ten just the other day. He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play. Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok" And he walked away but his smile never dimmed. And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah You know I'm gonna be like him." And the cycle continues...

The presence of a male figure in the home does impact children. I believe It affected hubby's relationship with our daughters and son. His father made his and his sister's lives hell as they saw it. My FIL wasn't there for his children or his ex-wife. While millions of men celebrate their manhood, others try to conceal the broken relationships with their fathers and its consequences. Obviously, fathers are imperfect and this has been amplified in our society. Personally, I blame postmodern culture for fueling this negativism.

Clearly, we are being bombarded with negative concepts of fathers. We do not live in an era of Leave It to Beaver where dad knows best and we have a caricature of Superman. My experience is that many fathers of our era are trying to do the right things; however, this gets lost in the day-to-day drama of life. I love how engaged my husband is with each of our children's lives. There isn't a thing he wouldn't or haven't done...changing and washing cloth diapers, giving them bath, bottle-feed them breast-milk, doing laundry, cooking for the family, cleaning, scrubbing toilets, housekeeping, chauffeuring the kids to social activities, Martial Art, gymnastic, soccer, musical theater performances/rehearsals...whatever learning adventures take us...while I climbed the Corporate Ladder in my 17 plus years of an ambitious career path.

Personally, I live with the regret of not reconciling with my father before his passing in early 80s. I don't want to see my husband or friends (like my friend Stephanie here) having the same regret I carry for past 25 years. I pray for all fathers in the world to rekindle the fire in their bellies and allow them to live life more vibrantly, as a positive influence on their children/their grandchildren, and encourage their children to grow their dreams even if they don't see things eye-to-eye. What a wonderful by-product of getting closer to your children and father! Same goes for mothers and daughters/sons. Begin the journey of giving you and your children all that they deserve. I guarantee you will never, ever have the sort of relationship as described in Cats in the Cradle. I am thankful to see hubby is beginning to make amend with his father. First time in his life, my FIL is finally showing respect to hubby as a being, for what he knows, and as the person he has become.

Fathers are essential for a healthy family balance even though they are not celebrated as such. Obviously, there are numerous examples of deadbeat dads, abusers, and downright losers. But, if society buys into the notion that fathers are useless, how do we give our children a sense of hope for the future? We must showcase the positive things fathers are doing in the community while counseling the misguided ones. Our world cannot survive without real fathers and real men. Opportunities to communicate openly and build the father-son, father-daughter relationship have to be created. It's worth whatever it takes to achieve. I would give anything to see with a lifetime of love passing between a father and a son or daughter!

Do me a favor...read the words and take the time to act on how you feel.

4 encouragements:

Stephanie said...

Sarah you really put it down well! That song is so sad and so true of many fathers, I know. My dad and I is another story and not for this little box.

I have been thinking since I talked to him how sad it is that I can't share my life with him, it's all superficial. I mean I am going to try but his negative comments bog me down and we don't really agree on much of anything. He wasn't there, he didn't pay child support, I swear I have forgiven my parents but it is impossible to forget.

Jason and I are so determined to treat our children better. Your husband is a lot like mine he will do anything for and with his children, we are blessed to be married to these men :)

Tina H. said...

Sarah,
I appreciate your sentiments. Generations of pain can't be erased easily or quickly. It carries over. I'm not sure it will ever change in a large fashion. But there is always hope.

Hilaree said...

Hi Sarah, Just wanted to pop in and say hi. Your eloquent post is a good reminder to me to appreciate that I also have a husband who is totally devoted to me and my children. Also, one other issue to consider is that I think women especially find ways to bond with their female friends, but don't take the time to embrace all of the special and wonderful things about their spouse. We can tend to just dishonor them rather than making them our best friends...which then can carry over into how they parent our children. I know its not that simple for many struggling marriages or families but it may be one aspect for some to consider. Peace, girl.

Kaylynn's Mommy said...

I agree! We need to show fathers and husbands in a positive light!

True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner
 

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