What Not to do – by my Father

Fathers-daySo I’m not visiting my father today

Now before any of you criticize me for not being a good son, let me explain.

The relationship between my father and I is distant at best – even though he’s always been physically there in my life.

There was a lot of bitterness and coldness – something most sons of absent and “terrible” fathers often have for them.

However, now at 30 years I’m come to realize and internalize many things (one of which is forgiveness) I’m come to appreciate the things that my father taught me – both the good and bad.

The topic of my father and I deserves several posts, but I think I’ll save that for later.

Lessons

  1. Courage – or rather the lack of it. My father though he had a stable job (insurance agent), he never showed any signs of standing up for himself. In fact among his siblings, he has the unflattering reputation of being meek and cowardly. Looking back, I had this unfavorable trait growing up and throughout my 20s. Now I’ve come to accept this trait and realize that only by accepting this part of me can I built to foundations of being a brave man that I see myself to be.
  2. It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one’s real character. I grew up in a world where misogyny was the normal. It was veiled, and you had to be a keen observer of body and language and culture to notice it, but it was there. My father was no exception. In between general disinterest in family life, no desire to improve himself, and low self confidence; he often treated my mother as little more than his maid – and continues to do so some 30 years into the marriage. Speaking of marriage…
  3. Marrying the right spouse. Or rather who NOT to marry. My recent relationship has shown me that I automatically go for relationships that mirror that of my parents – an unhealthy one to put it nicely. If I don’t consciously go after relationships that are healthy and that the woman is comfortable in her skin (among many other things), I won’t have a shot at a healthy life (forget happiness, just being healthy is good enough).
  4. Follow your dreams or ELSE you will live your life full of regret. My father, I get the impression, didn’t take a lot of risks – thus settled for a life of mediocrity. which by the time I was a teenager turned into a life of regret. Which then of course he later responded by numbing himself out. He gave up on his dreams to take on the role of father and husband – a role where he was never happy and was constantly reminded of his past mistakes.

With a marriage that drains him daily and a life of regret that he carries with him. He is the perfect example of what NOT to do.

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