I was talking to my sister the other day about the difficulty in finding a father’s day card. There are funny cards and sensitive cards, but I have a hard time finding one that is accurate.
I love all of the men who have played a father type role in my life. My dad has not always been around, but we can split the blame on that pretty much 50/50. When my mother remarried, she found a great guy, but he worked in Alaska so we saw him for a week and a half every month. I ended up spending most of the time with my mom’s dad. I enjoyed spending time with him.
With my dad’s side, he had several siblings who all had kids, so it was easy to get lost in the mix. My grandfather on that side was not the most loving or caring of men, so I never really formed a bond with him. Now on my mom’s side, she was the only kid so my sister and I split their attention so we bonded more. They used to watch me several nights a week while my mom was going back to school, but my father was too busy doing other things to watch me.
No relationship is perfect. It took a while for me to learn that one. You don’t really get the message from television, at least not back then. I guess we were all in denial back in the day.
When I look for a card, I want one to be sincere and honest. It is the honesty part that kills most card selections. None of the men have always been there for me. Some have tried more at times than others, but the sentiment of the card is never really met. I told her I needed a card that said something like “You were an emotional wreck and were not there for me but I know you loved me and did the best that you could considering your dad sucked too.” It’s rather heartwarming isn’t it?
One of the things that we are taught by the men in our life is how to relate to men. When we are young, the interactions and habits that we see demonstrated for us, guide us throughout most of our life. We can make changes, but it is not an easy process and the hardest part about changing is seeing that what you are doing is wrong. Our dad’s have so much ability to warp us and instill negative behaviors, that there is a ton of responsibility to being a father. In all honesty, most men are not ready for that when they become fathers because their fathers were just as ill prepared.
I can’t remember who said it, but I read a reference that one of the difficulties in our relationship with God is the perception that we have about our own father’s. When you do not have a father who is loving and approachable, you do not see God as being loving and approachable. When your father is not there for you, you have that perception towards God.
Most of you know how hard it is to change our perception of God. I watch the men around me and their struggles with trying to approach God and you can see the reality of the problem. You can tell them about what they are doing wrong, but until they can see flaws that they had with or without their fathers, they don’t make a change. Most likely it is too painful to go back through the emotions that have been repressed throughout the years.
I don’t blame the men in my life anymore. My father was not emotionally available to me growing up, but neither was his father and my dad never beat me like his father beat him for disappointing him. He made a step to break that pattern and not pass on that aspect of a generational curse. He tries to get past the emotional detachments, but it is hard at times. I guess I am grateful for what I have though.
Many are honoring father’s today either out of obligation or maybe because they truly were those great fathers. Those with great fathers should truly be thankful for what they have. The rest of us should honor our fathers because they are doing the best that they know how to. Today is not about being a great father, but about seeing past the failings and any expectation about what a father should be and seeing the man who is struggling to do what he can without screwing up his kids the same way his father screwed him up.