Friday, November 29, 2013

Fathers and Families

During Thanksgiving dinner last night, a discussion arose about the role of fathers: the good, the bad and the ugly. All of the "children" at the table were adults ranging in age between 25 to 37 years old. Their maturation process had given them distance and perspective, unlike the tender years of 0-3 when parental energies imprinted heavily on the wide open young soul - or when the hormones of adulthood started churning around in the bodies and minds of burgeoning teenagers. 

Father issues may erupt with volcanic intensity if the formative years are filled with good intentions gone wrong on the part of the father. (This is not meant to be a father-bashing blog as mothers do their fair share of positive and negative actions, but our discussion last night happened to be about the males of the species.)

In the group assembled at our table, the wattage of love, understanding and attention doled out to these young adults from their fathers varied; three out of four had different fathers and two out of four had different mothers. (Don't even try to figure out how this group interconnects unless you are adept at understanding the logic of a Rubic's cube or have studied anthropology.)

Suffice it to say that the upshot of the entire conversation lead to one conclusion. Regardless of whether the father was guilty of benign neglect, total neglect, or blew hot and cold with his gift of love, all of the wonderful "kids" had learned valuable lessons.

To regurgitate a cliched phrase, "It's not the hand you are dealt, it's what you do with it." 

No matter what burdens a father inflicts on his young, usually due to his own childhood traumas, when the offspring achieves independence he or she is free to choose.
Reactive? Depressed? Submissive? Agressive? Or, learn from hard lessons and become more loving, empathetic, insightful and understanding.

As long as every young one growing up understands that he or she is a unique being that was born from, but is not the same as the father (or mother), then self-respect can grow; we are not property. We are human beings fully deserving of dignity and respect.

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