Our Fathers

Our next mens' call is Monday, September 9, 2019 at 8:30pm. Sign up for call-in details

Today I’m thinking about fathers. A dear friend visited this weekend. We are both fathers to young boys. And we were talking about all the stuff that we blame on our parents when we get to therapy. They probably deserve some of that blame. Some of us had parents that truly and thoroughly failed.

But we also talked about the things that they simply could not have known. About the fact that our consciousness is shaped and warped by our cultural moment.

adrienne reminds us that:

we are in a set of transition generations, most of us with mothers who were taught to keep their labor out of sight. this means many men grew up in households where the full time work of managing home was intentionally invisible.

this is especially true if you had a father – you would come home from school, see your father come home from working out in the world, see your mother make a meal and serve it with a smile on. then she would clean dishes while your father watched TV and you did homework.

What are the other ways in which your father (or father figure) modeled a form of masculinity that is simply untenable today? Emotional distance is common. Angry outbursts too. Did your father model a way to numb yourself with substances? Or a way to hide behind work?

Patriarchy is learned. It is transmitted.

It is important to see the ways in which we have been shaped by this figure whose approval we have desperately sought. This can be specially of the totally absent father. The ghost that some of us long for. But it is also true of the overbearing father. And the emotionally absent one. And of the good guy that sure tried his very best.

Can we see how our masculinity has been shaped by our fathers?

Can we forgive them?

Are there parts of it that we can thank them for?

How can we do better?



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