I wrote my first novel, 'Fishing for Something' as a way to come to grips with my father's abandonment of our family. I was two days away from turning twelve years old when he left with a "here's twenty dollars for you and I'll see you in a couple of weeks when we will all move back to the east coast." I never saw him again. My mother was understandably devastated by the turn of events. I suppose that my older sister and brother were as well. But for me, I had mixed emotions at the time. Part of me I have to admit, was glad he was gone. A military man my dad, he wasn't particularly the warmest of people and spent little time trying to connect or understand me. Years later as a grown man with my own failures to live with and try to overcome, I wonder how much his presence or lack of it has affected me, for good or bad.
A lot of boys are growing up without dads these days, It's almost become an accepted normal way of life in much of our culture. And I got to say I know from firsthand experience how strong and determined moms can be about raising successful sons basically on their own. But this blog isn't about that topic, that's for another day, no this is my musings about how much of an effect the father who wasn't really there has on his sons. For me it is odd that as much as I hated him at times for what he did, and was determined to be nothing like him, I find myself following in his footsteps in numerous ways. From child raising to relationships with my significant others, to my work ethic and world view, I see more of him in me than I care to own up to. I guess it's all a nature vs. nurture kind of thing. He wasn't my 'father' in the real sense of the word, that long, so some of my actions have to be genetic right? I spent a lifetime with my mom and only nearly twelve years with him, but...sometimes in the things I do or the words I say, it seems like the opposite is true. I guess it's like people who are abused as children and statistics say more often than not they grow up to be abusers themselves when you might think the opposite would be true. Maybe I just emulating him as a man because it's the best model I had to go by. I wish I had answers and I am fishing for them here, but really I've just got more questions than anything. I would love to hear from readers of this blog who have dealt with this conundrum themselves. It might be the wife or girlfriend who sees the man she loves angry for behaving to his loved ones as his father acted to him. It might be the mom who sees her son making the same mistakes his father did before him and once again can't seem to stop him from himself. You might be the son, like me, who wants to learn from the past and keep the 'good things' your dad gave you but forget the rest, either way I would love to hear back from any or all.
My book deals with forgiveness and moving on with life, pain and all. I got to enjoy through the story a better ending than I ever had, and that was therapeutic in some way for me. For all my fishing buddies out there I look forward to reading your stories and your endings, or maybe just beginnings.
Hey my first list, this is cool, I don't know why but I always liked lists. Top ten this or that, always loved that sort of thing, remember David Letterman's old top ten lists, hilarious.
So here we go, seven things that sons miss out on if dad's not around.
#7. Lessons in how men deal with conflict and differences with women, family members, co-workers and other men. Sorry ladies but men and women are different and communication issues are a big part of that. I was raised by a strong mother and have been married for a long time, so I know what I speak of.
#6. Sharing dads common interests, in fact men often follow after pursuits and activities very different from their fathers, almost as if to prove a point to themselves. My dad was a mechanic, since he left I have never wanted much of anything to do with an automobile.
#5. Missing out on roughhousing with dear old dad can make it harder for men to know how to control their physical limits and contain getting too angry when pushed in a physical manner.
#4. Not experiencing generally considered male bonding activities. Remember when in the old days on the weekend most every guy on the street would wander over to the neighbor's garage to see what project he was up to. The men would usually share a beer, some off-color jokes and stories of their glory days. I remember those days well, they ended when my dad left and never really came back. It may not have been perfect but it was a very male rite of passage.
#3. The 'Big Talk', you know the one about sex and relationships. My dad left us before I got that one, so right now I apologize to every female I've known in my life, I was winging pretty much
#2. Getting that dad pat on the back when you do things right or have achievements in your life. I know that part of me has been striving for that subconsciously my whole life.
#1. How to be both a leader in the home and a partner with your mate. We need to see our male elders model leadership in the home so we can be better leaders and also learn to partner with our mates and learn how to lead together. This can be with raising children, finances, spiritual matters and just how a man deals with life.
To a good day fishing for answers,
I'm sure not all my blogs will be such heavy topics, some will, but I plan on having some fun with these too. Thanks for sharing this with me, sharing is caring after all.
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