Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fatherhood

It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."

- Anne Sexton

"A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be."

- Frank A. Clark


"Fathers should neither be seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life."
- Oscar Wilde
 
"His father watched him across the gulf of years and pathos which always must divide a father from his son."

- John Marquand
 
When one has not had a good father, one must create one."

- Friedrich Nietzsche
 
Perhaps host and guest is really the happiest relation for father and son."

- Evelyn Waugh
 
I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.

- Sigmund Freud from Civilization and Its Discontents


All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye.
- Margaret Atwood 1939- from Cat's Eyes
 
For thousands of years, father and son have stretched wistful hands across the canyon of time, each eager to help the other to his side but neither quite able to desert the loyalties of his contemporaries. The relationship is always changing and hence always fragile; nothing endures except the sense of difference.

- Alan Valentine From Fathers to Sons: Advice without Consent


My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
- Clarence B. Kelland 1881-1964
 
That is the thankless position of the father in the family -- the provider for all, and the enemy of all.

- J. August Strindberg
 
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

- Jim Valvano

The state of being a father or fatherhood is a complicated and immensely diverse function of life, it involves fear, love, protection, provision, sexuality, discipline and growth. Fatherhood alienates, yet invigorates; castigates, yet propogates; represses, yet progresses; originates, yet frustrates; leads, yet serves; frees, yet enslaves; organizes, yet destabilizes; compromises while remaining inflexible; defines while being open to interpretation; clarifies and creates ambiguity; it is both the most dangerous ground to hold and the safest; there is the most intense conflicts and the most sublime peace;  and the contradictions are as prevalent as the redundancy. No man in his right mind would enter into this oxymoronic quagmire and only a moron would anticipate surviving yet alone achieving success. However, the quiet moments of peace, when a father can love a child, nourishing the soul and the spirit, by far, outweigh the loud moments when the anguish of conflict mean seperation and isolation. As the quotes denote there exists a dichotomy and paradox to the role of father.
When we hold a child's hand we hold the future.

What a daunting task, nay, a task is to simple a term, it is a promise. In a paradoxical twist as a father we commit and consign ourselves to our children. What is paradoxical is the sacrifice which is inherent in this position. We bind ourselves to the care of our children without any guarantees or assurance of the outcome. We intrust our love, transfer our affections without any control of the consequences. We commit to love regardless; repeatedly; willingly; accepting of the injury to our feelings; forgiving.
It is so easy to fail, or at least sense that we have failed.

Maybe we are too sensitive to our own pride. Maybe the reality of what the role entails is in actuality beyond our abilities. I am sure that all men have 'failed' at fatherhood, the redeeming aspect may just be, being there. Just a matter of showing up, round after round. Defeat is not surrender. "The deepest human defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become."


A Father is someone to take you where your dreams lead.
John Stuart
 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama:
Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. it's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.