Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.
I lost my dad this year and the most painful part about that loss was that I never got the opportunity to reunite with my dad. His method of rearing me and my siblings weren’t accepted, but I truly desired to tell him while He was living that I forgave him for his mistakes in parenting. Although I spoke to him every weekend after I was given the knowledge of his health that was declining rapidly (Dementia), I would try my best to pray with him and tell him of my desires to gain a better relationship with him. He prayed to Allah and I prayed to the King of Kings, I would try to reconcile with my “Father” on several different opinions associated with our divisions and outlooks of life.
Today is Father’s Day. Currently, only one-third of the boys in this country will grow up with their natural father for the important years of their childhood. Some will know their father only occasionally in custody arrangements or meet him only after they have reached their teen years. There is little attention paid to this very important situation for boys. The consequences are immeasurable and since the situation is so recent, we do not know the full impact on our culture of the trend. This much is clear, however: a woman cannot be a father to a boy. Being a father is not a role, like being a mother. Although the natural mother is usually (though not always) best, a male or female can mother a boy, since carrying out functions of feeding, cleaning and providing ongoing emotional warmth is not gender-specific. At the time of identification with one of the sexes during late early and middle childhood, however, the need of a boy for a mature male in his life is profound.
My son in the above picture has quoted me by saying: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein. I attempted to rectify my relationship with him this year by utilizing resources within my church to find him and plead my case with him. To open myself up with him to ask questions and to give him some clarity about what kept us from being a tight unit as Father and son. He said he has no good memories as it relates to us and he doesn’t want to be hurt anymore. The pain of his rejection cuts to the fiber of my being, but I try to understand and still model forgiveness is better than resentment.
Having been absent from my kids life due to riotous living and going back and forth to prison I have seen the hideous consequences that fashion and shape their existence. I have two kids serving prison terms one for life, click the link to view the why pt.1. Aaron Jr. escaped the plight of percentages due to his moms involvement with education and God’s favor. He was traumatized after my untimely fourth prison term. I had attempted to raise Parris and Aaron Jr. in the same home as the then family I had been blessed to share some of my life with. Boys who were raised without fathers fill our prisons. They are slower to launch, being more inclined to stay closer to the home, which is symbolized and embodied by the mother. The father represents the world beyond the boy’s home. Just as important, a father transforms a boy into a son. A male and a female can create a boy, but only a father can create a son. This is a symbolic act. Luigi Zoja, an Italian Jungian psychologist, has written a full account of this in his wonderful book, THE FATHER. Last, consider this: In his relationship with his mother, a boy first learns he is lovable. A mother’s love should be unconditional and infant boys do not respond to this with love, but rather with gratitude. Love for his mother follows in reaction to being loved. In his relationship with his father, however, a boy first initiates loving another human being. He does this as forming a foundation for identifying with a male. A boy identifies only with someone he first loves.
Most fathers respond to this with a love they have not known since the relationship with their own father. It is important to realize that this first proactive loving is the model for a boy (then the man he becomes) in all his relationships of intimacy, with women, friends, and his own children. This is the crucial relationship in a boy’s life. Father’s Day celebrates this. Freud once wrote that the death of a man’s (or boy’s) father is the most important psychological event of his life. Here Freud was certainly spot on. But what of boys who have not known a father and there is none to lose? A world in which males grow up where this is a common scenario is one the like of which we have never known. The only comparable situations are times of war (1914-1918, 1939-1945) when so many men (many young fathers) died. The father as a cultural figure is dying. Think about the consequences of this. Then think of your father. I hope you were fortunate enough to have had one in your life … as I’m happy to say I had. Click here to view Mending Fences with my son .
Whoever you are today that views this attempt of mines to free myself for the unforgiveness of others please know that evil doesn’t win in the promises of God…I am forgiving anyone who has done my kids wrong and I hope this world will forgive me for the wrong I done by abandoning my post as a parent and unleashing any pain that my kids may have caused any one or families affected by their conduct.