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Friday, February 22, 2008

A Father's Love

Pretty freaking important.
Reminds me of a certain beautiful child I know who is missing some massively important neural connections because of his mother's decision to drink like a fish while she was growing him. There's just stuff missing. Stuff that can't be replaced. The compromised result is pretty devastating, like a row of carrots that got planted with the corn and never got the sun or moisture that they needed to get orange and thick and juicey. It's insanely unjust on so many levels.

Follow the analogy. The pregnant drunk made a choice to drink. The emotionally absent father makes a choice to shut down. Of course, it's all layered in far reaching complications. The poor choices were probably fueled by their own impoverished history of crummy parenting, and they themselves are the walking wounded, not recognizing that the power of changing history rests with them.

But I don't feel like sticking up for the generation one back right now. I want to be mad about the people right now who are stunted because of what they didn't get. I want free corrective surgery for the wounded. And I want to walk right up to dead beat dads and ask them- Was it worth it? Was it easier to disengage? Is it rewarding to avoid eye contact, or are you afraid that I can see directly into your soul?

It bugs me that dads are just people who got the testosterone ration, turn the lights out and release some of that pent-up repression and then land up as surprised fathers nine months later. I wish you`d have to have some sort of a clue of what you were getting into. What is required. What is the minimum amount of time, energy, teaching, and unconditional love it takes to raise a decently balanced kid. I wish these guys would have had an epiphany back in their twenties or thirties. I don`t think it`s ever too late to start being an engaged dad. Clearly a bunch of stages are erevocably lost, but I think most people`s hearts are always thirsting for that daddy recognition. I bet a bunch of those neural connections could grow themselves later on in life if a daddy would wake up and smell the coffee.

There is a stupid amount of unnecessary wounded in this life. The little people without a decent gestational chance have only got that much to go on. I am sure there is no medical intervention that will ever change how they developed in those crucial nine months.

And the rest of us? What are we doing to not repeat history? Granted, we`ve all got our own scars to work around, and we`ll all mess up our kids and relationships in one way or another.

Just, for crying out loud- can we get real? Can we face up to our humanness, maybe choke out a sorry now and again, maybe get the nerve to look inside and recognize the grip that fear has had on us, and how staring it in the face might weaken it a whole bunch?

Sometimes the cheap Redi-Fill that people use to patch up their crippled selves really gets on my nerves. It`s hard and painful work to face up to your crap, but so is passing your crap on to the next generation.


Anonymous said...

My #1 goal in life is to not carry on with the crap that was dealt to me. To see my kids grow up in a home without abuse and fighting. I can't wait to watch it all pass by and know that I could stop the cycle.

Thanks for being mad for me :)

it's a gong show... said...

disengaged fathers eh?! someone VERY close to me has one of those and let me tell you, even as a grown man the hurt is still there. maybe less frequent but nevertheless it still stings. the plus side of it is he is the exact opposite and i thank god for that everyday.

gloria said...

amen sister.

andrea said...

Amen. The problem is insanely simple but the solution almost impossible: to do the work you describe requires one to think of someone other than oneself for once and sometimes those neural pathways are so deep that it's impossible to climb out and make new ones. That's how I explain it to myself anyway.

joyce said...

simple solution but not EASY. Big difference, right?
I get continuously freaked out by the notion that I am now the parent and all those responsibilities and hungers rest with me. Boy, sometimes I'd really like a mid-term evaluation.
or not.

Anonymous said...

Spent last semester doing my first nursing clinical rotation in labour and delivery. I was caring for labouring women who already had a number of children in the system and the situation didn't look promising for the ones that were soon to be delivered. And so I lived the whole shift in the tension of being angry at their poor choices, but also feeling like I should graciously look beyond that to how they got that way in the first place. These women are obviously at the extreme end of the spectrum but it made me think about what kind of nurse I will be, and what it means to be a Christ follower when you are face to face with people who are on the fringe of society.
No easy answers. I wish there were.

Romeo Morningwood said...

Great Post.

Our so-called Civilization is still transitioning from the serious consequences of enduring four Millenia of Male Dominance...
basically Warmongering, Slavery, and unbridled Avarice.

While my philogynical leanings are well documented, it is important to remember that the current cult of misandry is de rigueur thanks to the relatively new advent of Equal Rights.

I can only hope that our children will someday live in a world in which both species, male and female, can overcome their gnenetic predispositions, accept their limitations, and find a way to put the PAIR back in PAIRenting.

Crystal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal said...

(sorry, that's my deleted comment up above)

We have daughters. I distinctly remembering having a conversation with my husband when our oldest daughter was a preteen. I told him that his *VISIBLE* love and support of our daughters in the next few years would be instrumental in their emotional development, especially in the area of self-esteem.

He had no idea. Thankfully he was very enthusiastic in trying this theory out even though it was awkward for him at first. I believe it's made all the difference in who they are today (as opposed to who they could be if he hadn't been willing to push himself out of his comfort zone). Their best friend is their dad and i wouldn't have it any other way.

Great post Joyce!