"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Failures of a Father


There are many things to desire as you parent your children. One, of course, is good communication and bonding. Despite the fact of being in a profession which is all about communication, my sense is; I was a good communicator with clients, but not a very good communicator with my own children. I desired a closer bond with the kids but for reasons that I could never pin down, don’t think I ever achieved that. I was usually willing to listen but asked too many questions and, perhaps, had nothing of myself to share other than the jokes/humor and running commentary on random things of interest. Sharing myself with my family has always been extraordinarily difficult. So the children grow up knowing the “Dad” facade but not knowing the fears, doubts, bewilderment and panic that seem to come with experiencing life and being in theory the head of the family.

Other failures include outbursts of anger and frustration. I could be and sometimes am quite impatient. I had my own ideas of how things should be at home; what the children should be responsible for, what they should be doing at any given moment but rarely, it seemed, did my ideas ever pan out. For men, when we get frustrated, a lot of us just simply withdraw from the field of disagreement and move towards a angry/passive type roll. However, that surely doesn’t make for good parenting. It’s probably good for children to see parents work through disagreements but I wasn’t very good at doing that on my part.

Can you tell your children too many times that you love them? I don’t know the answer to that one either. You surely hope you communicate it, you also hope you communicate your respect and admiration for their accomplishments but one is not always sure that the message you want to convey is actually conveyed. I was very good at hiding love behind humor – in my own family of origin love was rarely directly expressed. I now find that my sisters and I try to tell each other “I love you” but it remains difficult to do. I find I have to work hard at that. Expressions of humor are much easier. - to be continued - JB


Steve Pinzon said...

I saw some kids get really wild after what appeared to be excellent parenting. It convinced me early on that all we could do is take our best shot, they are going to make their own decisions no matter how good/bad we do.
I know this is vague, but I think being consistent might be more important than anything else. At least the kids know what to expect, even if it creates a good laugh later when they reminisce. Finding areas of common interest also helps: with my daughter, it's food and cooking. With my son, it's music and sports. These areas help our ongoing 'bond'.
I know you well enough to know you treated your kids with love, no matter how it was individually expressed. They'll be fine and come to appreciate you more as they mature, especially when they have kids and face the same dilemmas!

rabbi-philosopher said...

Ooh, my first comment from one of my oldest friends - from my salad days at Azusa Pacific University.

Nice post Steve, nice post. JB

the daughter said...

i blame you for how i turned out!!!!!!!!!!

especially for my tree-trunk legs.

you and i used to have our shouting matches. those were the days... whew.