It’s nice that there is a day to honor your Dad. And I was thinking of writing another reflective Father’s Day post like this one I wrote in 2006, and another in 2007. But I woke up in a jet-lagged daze this morning and opened our newspaper only to be bombarded with all of these feel good, oh aren’t they superhuman, I owe them everything articles on brilliant fathers out there and I realized, from a contrarian’s point of view, that not all father’s are the cat’s meow, God’s gift to humankind, or even deserving of a Hallmark card. What about folks this morning reading their paper who just couldn’t relate to all the niceties, who had simply wicked, outrageous, abusive, uncaring fathers? Some of the statistics are glaring. Abandonment, lack of support for childcare, food, shelter, education, etc. I could go on and on with this negative train of thought, but suffice it to say this: NOT ALL FATHERS ARE NECESSARILY SO GOOD. And to anyone that believes the opposite (that father’s can do no wrong, it’s unthinkable) what is your current address in lalaland? So there. We all have our pluses and minuses. But some are really more wicked than others. Ever wonder why the term “wicked step-mother is so much more in use than wicked step-father?” And we tend not to discuss bad fathers a lot. Possibly ashamed that having a lemon in the family reflects on the children themselves (not true at all), when the whole concept of chicken before the egg (or sperm, in this matter) is clear.
But we do expect a lot from our own parents, and frankly, since they decided to bring us into the world, they have serious obligations to their children as well. I write this because I suspect there is a fairly substantial percentage of folks out there who may not necessarily feel they won the lottery as far as one or more of their parents are concerned. And maybe, just maybe, to balance out all the feel good stories in the paper this morning, they should have included one that wasn’t so icing sweet and peachy keen. As for the view that apples or coconuts don’t fall far from the tree, and that all sons will eventually turn into their fathers, I say a big fat “baloney” to that. My own advice is to take the best qualities you observed and respected from your own ancestors, and improve on them wherever possible. If you happen to have an axe-murderer in your genealogy, turn that into outrageously good knife skills as a chef, or other such nonsense. And if you are contemplating having kids of your own, my own view is that being a father is one of the most difficult and challenging roles you will ever play, and if done right, the most rewarding in your entire lifetime. :)
Note: The t-shirt in the photo is one of my favorites at the moment. Whenever I used to have similar discussions with my mom at the lunch table and she decided she no longer wanted to continue and was ready to dismiss me lightly, she would quietly say with a smirk, “pilosopo”. :)