Friday, September 10th, 2010
(Check out Ron Kenoly’s searing performance of “Fragile Hope”, now available to members as a free download. This song appears after the midway point of our story, before the younger son’s return from his escapade.)
As a father, I (Christopher) know that I am anything but powerless. It was me after all who initiated a process (a clinical euphemism I admit) through which expressing love led to the creation of another human being. And another. And another. It was the intimidating, humbling measure of my own power which I savored as I watched my wife give birth to our first son nearly 17 years ago, our second one 2 years later, and our third one 3 years after that. I felt powerful. And I still do.
(And I’m not even going into the story of my wife’s formidable power as a woman to conceive, nurture within herself, and then deliver those worldchangers to the realm of air and light. More about that in a later post.)
There’s another power I experience as a father when my sons, on occasion, watch me teeter on the edge of my patience and good intentions as I parent them imperfectly. I, as all fathers do, sometimes wield a power to squelch, to frighten, and to tear down. (Maybe I jumped to a faulty conclusion to savor my own power!) It’s been important for me to steward the range and limitation of my power as a father, and to admit to myself, my wife, and my kids when I’m overdoing it. I also have to acknowledge when, through overwork and distraction, I can neglect my sons’ need for my guidance, correction, and protection.
So what gives with a father who says: “One son so careless, one son too careful, one father powerless alone”? In the story, the careless son is the younger. The careful one is the elder. But is there such a thing as a powerless father? Is he playing the victim to refer to himself in this way? Is he being a whiner? Is he exaggerating? Or is he telling the truth in some form?
Stay tuned from Part Two.
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