Friday, June 6, 2008
Father knows best?
Not always! But I think that there is nonetheless widespread agreement that sons need their fathers. Some hormonally-challenged feminists and Lesbians (two considerably overlapping categories) disagree but I don't think that evidence is one of their concerns.
Joe has always been mega-independant -- ever since he could crawl. He would screech if we went to carry him up a flight of stairs that he thought he could crawl up. And his first-known sentence was "Don't help", when he was trying to do something and having trouble with it. In the psychology textbooks there is a lot about independance-training and thoughts about how to foster independance in kids. Joe needed no such training. It was in his genes. I have always been very independant too (guess where Joe got it from?) so I entirely approve of Joe's independant traits. Some might find independance in a one-year-old rather strange but I thought it was great. And that independance has continued to this day. Joe wants to make his own way in the world and solve his own problems. Those are traits that were important in his pioneer ancestors and ones that show that he is a true descendant of those strong men of yore.
So it is rare for Joe to bring any of his problems to me -- less than once a year. But when he does I have always so far been able to solve those problems for him. The fact that he and I are similar in many ways obviously facilitates that. And we are even both academics so I can have both personal experience and work experience to draw on in any advice I offer.
Last Saturday Joe had got quite upset over some problems he had been having with his honours mathematics course at university. Partly at his mother's urging, he did however eventually ring me about it and in a few minutes I was able to put him on the right track. I could not of course tell him anything about mathematics but I could tell him how to deal with the situation. So I was able to relieve his mind immediately and get him acting adaptively. He did roughly as I suggested and with his own hard work and positive personality came out of it all with flags flying (as it were).
I have never criticized him and have always been able to help him so I think in that situation that even Mr Independence will in future allow me to help whenever he comes across really big problems.
So yes: Boys may not NEED their fathers but fathers can nonetheless make a big difference --- even where very independant sons are concerned.