April 10, 2012

Fathers and Sons

My husband announced this morning that he "needs to change gears" with our eight year old son. He feels it's time to get tough on him. When I heard these words this morning, my heart sank just a little.  My initial thoughts were, "But he's just a baby."  

In the Caribbean, the battle of fathers vs. sons is quite commonplace.  I cannot count on my two hands men that I know who have great relationships with their fathers. Frequently I hear, "I don't talk to my old man." 

It's always the same scenario....son wants to prove he's a man and father wants to prove that he's the ONLY man in the house. Many times, there is a physical altercation and most times the son leaves the home. In very rare cases, the two men work things out.  Some pretend to get along just to please the wife/mother.

I know, he's EIGHT. Why am I thinking about this? It just seems to be the natural progression when a father decides to be tough.  You're afraid that tough equates to lack of affection toward his son. No more hugs or kisses. Just handshakes and "You could do betters". Then we end up with the scenario I  described earlier.

Now, I must say that my husband is a great father.  And I don't put him in the same category as the traditional man from the Caribbean.  I trust that he will give affection and tell our son he loves him. But, I can tell you that from the time my son was born, I have prayed that they will never end up at odds with each other.  Yes I expect disagreements, but I don't want separation physically or emotionally.

I do have to reluctantly agree that we I have to stop babying him.  Just last night he came into our bedroom and said that he couldn't sleep.  He expected us to tell him to come into our bed, but he was told to go back to his own bed.  I admit that I still cut up some of his food.  And yes, I de-seed his oranges.

I believe that boys do need to be taught how to be men.  In my opinion, the best person for that job would be his father. But we all know that not every boy is that fortunate to have his father in his life.  My son is especially lucky because his father lives in the same house as him.

Many men say they do things a certain way or act a particular way either positively or negatively because, "that's how my father did it." We as parents need to understand that fathers are more than basketball coaches and wrestling partners to their sons.  They are life-coaches. They are constantly teaching their sons knowingly or unknowingly. And I am grateful to my husband that he wants to teach him purposefully and deliberately.

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