I haven’t always been a Kneipp…I used to be a Griffin. My father was a poor paternal example and the last time I saw him I was twelve.
I’m reminded of the kid’s books featuring The Berenstain Bears. The father is always attempting to teach the young cubs to Sail, or ride a bike or something, and generally finishes up damaged, espousing how that was a perfect example of what NOT to do. As a father of two teenage boys, I often feel this way – my teaching efforts turn into great examples of what not to do.
My Grandfather was damaged as was his son, my father, who fell off the face of the planet, taken by alcohol, gambling and a refusal to deal with the responsibilities of Fatherhood. I heard he died a few years ago, still running from the consequences of his actions.
I was recently told that “To become a man you must do three things. Understand your father, forgive your father and respect your father.” I have no problem with one and have come around to two but the Respect for my father is a slow train coming.
I am well aware of the kind of father I want to be. Wise, loving, patient, etc, but I find myself again drawn to the Father Bear of the books – damaged and a bit the worse for wear.
It occurs to me that the lack of respect I feel for my father has bled into my own soul feeding my own lack of self respect. This is the journey that I am now on. This is the lesson that I still have to learn and wish to pass on. If I am going to give my children someone to understand, forgive and respect, I must first deal with these things that hold me back.
My greatest desire is to break this chain, this long line of damaged fathers damaging their children. So far I think I’m doing okay.
Trying to be a good father
Without fatherly advice
A son born into fracture
Raised within divice
No malice borne toward him
Through the decades that have past
Nor lack of understanding
Of the shadow he has cast
I remember very little
Of the man behind my scar
But his demons’ ever haunt me
And his madness’ never far
So I’m learning from my children
And my one truth, lover, friend.
And I fight to finally put
this damaged cycle to an end