My two-week trip to see the two boys was a milestone in that it was the first time I had seen them working as adults within a short period. Ned starred on stage . Will leads a major logistic project with huge implications. Both have followed different paths. Both possess characteristics that make a father proud.
I am not the only one who has played a role in their development. Their mother was instrumental in so much of who they are, and I am grateful for her influence and love and caring. They were fortunate to attend a school with incredibly committed teachers who instilled values that helped to extend, round out, or even properly offset weaknesses possessed by me or their mother. Then, there is the role played by grandparents. The boys would not be who they are without the connections to the last generation. I know I could not have provided for them without the help of my father (and of course my mother, but this is, after all, fathers’ day). My values, however adjusted as I grew older, were grounded in what my father believed to be the path to adulthood.
Was this all luck of the draw? The worldwide and domestic horrors of events that destroy families or cause children to hate or fail did not befall my family greatly (fortunately). We recovered from whatever setbacks were presented to us, but a road forward always existed, and support was there whenever it was needed
Support. Loneliness could be described as the door that opens toward a life of social dysfunction . We seek not to be lonely, and wish to find meaning in what we do. Loneliness and lack of support for our goals can cause us to turn to unacceptable behavior. Yes, often there are situations when the parents’ goals are not what the child wants. Revolt occurs, frequently with unfortunate results. It is that balance of providing intergenerational guidance that makes the chore of parenting so challenging.
On this day dedicated to fathers, I do wish to compliment all individuals who end up playing the role in some vital way along the path of development: the father, the step-father, the mother (especially the single mom), the step-moms, the uncle, the grandfather, the teacher, the first boss.
The process of raising the next generation is not easy. There are goals of personal success, but there is also the goal of being a valued contributor to society and not a thorn that disrupts all that is good about human life. Sadly, we have evidence too often of a child whose guidance drifted away from kindness and caring and collaboration. In its place remained hatred or violence or despair.
Dads have a responsibility. We thank them for taking on the challenge, and we acknowledge that it is not an easy job. To be trite, there really is no perfect manual.
I am grateful that I have been able to see my sons blossom. Perhaps, as Dads, that is all we can ever hope for and strive for.