Father’s day is approaching and there are few times we get a chance to express our thoughts about our relationship with dad. Son’s closest relationship in life are generally mothers and for daughter’s, their father. But father son relationship has been seen as a mix of bonding and deep divide.
“It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons.” – Friedrich von Schiller
So going by experience and close observations of other father-son relationships, I’m putting down a few thoughts on what the “idea of father” means to a son.
- A trust worthy mentor
Many underestimate this idea, but for me, a father is foremost a mentor. Not a teacher who “teaches” you what is right or wrong, not a guide who guides you, certainly not a hero (although we all have at some point of time put our parents at a pedestal very right because of the positive impact they made in our lives). A mentor who is invested in you more than 100% and willing to step back at times, giving the space and opportunity to the son who can take his own chances, for failure or success. The outcomes are irrelevant but the journey or process of the son’s experience and learning is more important to the father. The father can give his attention, time and energy to his son (if father is really busy, then he still manages to slip out specific time for his children) like a mentor would. Have open conversations, exchange ideas/ suggestions, being a trusted mentor who will be a beacon whenever his son is lost.
“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” – George Herbert
- Two boys growing up together
Sharing experiences of growing up together is the biggest and long lasting memory of father –son relationship. It is like two boys growing up together at different points of time. It is important to share experiences and importantly learn from each other. There are moments when father discovers and learns a lot from an honest conversation with his son and vice versa. Growing up as a boy has psychological and physical experiences that a dad can help in guiding the son more than his mother. The ability to empathise, support and counsel at difficult stages as a man are important for your son who is thriving in different stages of life. He also can share values and principles which help his son to absorb, sensitivity towards the opposite gender, the opportunities and challenges of dealing with change and so on.
“Don’t wait to make your son a great man – make him a great boy.”
- Leading by example
As children we observe and learn everything from our parents and it becomes crucial for father to manage situations and expectations accordingly. Any relationship is not singular so how a father sustains his relationship with his wife, friends, sibling, his own parents influence and teaches the son in so many ways. A son will grow up to emulate his dad consciously or unconsciously. He might also choose to be opposite of what he sees in his dad. Similarly, as a son I’m also careful how I nurture my relationship with dad not just for the present but for my own future if I have my own child. A source of inspiration, idea and learning is what I seek from dad and unconsciously we both participate in that process.
These were my basic thoughts on what my father would mean to me, what about yours? Till you share your interesting answers, I leave you with nothing better than this simple quote.
“He who can be a good son will be a good father.”by