One thing I’ve noticed—and not just on this site—is that a lot of men speak of their father as if he was the absolute authority on everything, and frequently preference statements about their own beliefs, attitudes, politics, and values with things like:
My father taught me that…
My dad always said…
My father told me to never….
It was good enough for my daddy, so it’s good enough for me…
Being enough unlike my father to perhaps qualify as a separate species all together, I find this tendency in men to be both intriguing and questionable; intriguing because it implies a closeness and solidarity between father and son that does not exist between my father and me, and questionable because it seems sheepish and naïve.
I suppose I don’t have a problem with it in principle. I am either for or against a man accepting his father’s beliefs, attitudes, politics, and values as much as I am either for or against those same beliefs, attitudes, politics, and values of the father himself.
However, I cannot help but feel that any man who accepts and emulates his father’s values without question or contemplation is closing his mind—and indeed his life—to the possibilities available to him. It seems to me that he is simply being obedient, and not really making his own choices.
If a man is to make his own way in this world, should he not question they ways of his father, or at the very least rebel against them to some extent? Or modify them to account for current mores and circumstances? Examine their validity and usefulness as an adult, instead of just accepting them as he did when he was a child?
If he does not examine the alternatives, how can there be any value in his final choice—which has really been no choice at all? It’s fine if he ultimately does follow in his father’s steps, but shouldn’t he know how he got there, and why he’s chosen those values in the end?
If you are like your father:
Have you considered why you are that way?
Have you ever considered alternative views, beliefs, or values?
How well has this served you?
If you are not like your father:
How do you differ?
Are your differences the result of a deliberate choice, or did it seem to come natural based on your own experiences or world view?
How well has this served you?
If you are a father yourself:
How much do you try to expose your own children to views different from your own?
What will you think of your child if he or she chooses values and beliefs different from yours?
I think as we are growing up our fathers give us a kind of basic formula that we can add on to and take away from to suit our own needs making us like and unlike our fathers in different ways. Ideally you should keep the good characteristics learned from your father and replace the bad with something else.
I for one am a lot like my father in many ways, but I'm unlike him in many other ways. I'm much more patient than him, but I'm physically lazier when it comes to chores and such. Both of those traits are things my father doesn't possess, but he did influence me to adopt them because of the way he acted and the things he did (be impatient and do everything around the house respectively).
Basically what I'm saying is even if you aren't like your father it was probably something he did that made you be unlike him in the first place.
I would say I am like my father in superficial ways. We share a similar laugh, some similar mannerisms, sometimes use the same phrases. In personality we are different though this stems from me trying to be as different from him as I possibly can.
I see him as a constantly disapproving figure, nothing I ever do is "good enough" for him there is always some criticism to be found, something to pick at. While I agree none of us are perfect, a man sometimes requires a 'well done' or a pat on the back that doesn't sound forced or sarcastic. He'll frequently make comments to undermine me, snide remarks always hinting that I'm just not good enough in some way and it does grate on me a lot.
Frequent references to how lazy I am, I'm apparently "workshy" despite having some form of employment since the age of 13. He trys to put me down infront of other, friends, family. Frequent semi-drunken rants over sunday dinner about how no one in the family respects him and proceeds to lay down what he thinks our flaws are.
Been different by conscious choice has served me rather well. I've always been the shy introverted type, but I don't particularly struggle to make friends. My teachers used to call me 'different in a unique way' to my parents which is something my dad seemed to fear. Often led to him telling me constantly to 'follow the crowd' 'stick with everybody else and join in with what they do'. I've actually gone completely opposite to these nuggets of wisdom and embracing my individuality has helped me get where I am today, making my own choices and allowing my mistakes to propel me forward.
I'll likely never escape the constant criticism and hope its not something I never do to my own children (when that happens). I turned away from a lot of things I enjoyed due to been made to believe I wasn't good enough or growing tired of the criticism from my father, be it sports, academics or artistic pursuits. I've never asked him for advice which is a trait he shares but unlike him I know when to ask others for input where as he's unwilling to thumb through a cookbook to look up a quick idea on what he can use these ingredients for.
Bit of a ramble and I apologise but you get the idea. I think out of the many posts here i'm one of the furthest in distance from my father despite living under the same roof during summer vacation.
He'll frequently make comments to undermine me, snide remarks always hinting that I'm just not good enough in some way and it does grate on me a lot.
I've never understood why parents act that way towards their children. It's almost like they are competing with them.
Often led to him telling me constantly to 'follow the crowd' 'stick with everybody else and join in with what they do'.
Seems like he fears not fitting in himself.
I think out of the many posts here i'm one of the furthest in distance from my father despite living under the same roof during summer vacation.
I'm pretty far from mine, myself.
As far as my personality goes, I am a lot like my father. My father and I though differ greatly on beliefs and values. My father is an in your face kind of Christian, while I am an athiest. I grew up a hardcore Christian as well, but when I was about 17 or 18, I started questioning the beliefs and values that I essentially inherited. This hasn't caused as much butting heads with my father as I expected, but I headed it off early and let him know that I had no interest in debating the subject with him. He once coerced me into attending one of his bible studies and I in turn ended up getting a bit belligerent and in their opinions, blasphemous. To my defense though, I gave him prior warning that that would be the outcome if I attended.
Regardless of our differences, I admire my father. He is hard working, a good husband, and a good father. He takes his values seriously and holds himself accountable. If I can one day be half the man my father is, then I will be happy.
I grew up a hardcore Christian
Somewhat similar for me, though not to the point of approaching fundamentalism.
He takes his values seriously and holds himself accountable.
More people need to hold themselves accountable, to be sure.
I very much look like my father, similar build and we have the same pattern of baldness.
I don't have much in common with his personality other than at times I can be a little quick tempered (not violent though, and neither was my old man).
We differ in views, my dad was something of a racist and shunned anything that didn't subscribe to his world view.
My son does indeed model himself on me, which I find strange to be honest as I didn't do that with my father. I really don't want him to be a carbon copy of me. I'm an atheist, but I want him to come to his own conclusions. I have a somewhat idiosyncratic dress style, and again I'd hope that my boy comes up with his own ideas about dress rather than simply copy me.
I've written about my dad several times here on AOM. He taught me that wisdom wasn't tied to education and that you should always try to keep your sense of humor. He taught me to work hard and do my best, even when I was doing things that I really didn't enjoy.
Dad was a little too friendly with John Barleycorn on some occasions but as I've grown older I've learned to be more caring and less judgemental of men who lived a very hard life and saw the concentration camp scene in Band of Brothers in real life.
Dad died back in 1994. I was honored to speak at his funeral and afterwards I remember one of my cousins telling me "I never heard anybody say anything bad about your father." That's not a bad legacy to leave.
I've had a Gumby figure sitting on my desk for about as long as I can remember. Gumby is a tribute to dad's memory and my philosophy of life - Be flexible and keep smiling.