Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

On Fatherhood

with 6 comments

Each morning, after I have finished tending to the horse chores, Delilah and I go for a walk around the circumference of our property boundaries. Lately, I have noticed this time is becoming a particularly fruitful one for inspiration and insights.

Yesterday I was thinking about fatherhood. My children are both grown and living their own lives at this point, so I am well beyond the day-to-day responsibilities of raising them. We are now in a phase that I hadn’t really given any thought to: being a father to adult children.

It occurred to me that when I was the age that they are now, my father had been dead for about 4 years. I was 22 when my father died. I don’t have the benefit of having had a relationship with my dad while in my adult years that I can use to inform and guide my decisions as a father from this point forward.

I suppose that could be seen as a feature instead of a flaw, in some regards. However, I’m finding that not having had my father alive for most of my adult life has me now feeling somewhat unschooled about what comes next. I’m sure that the manual that comes with each kid would have provided answers for any questions I had from here on out, if it had been included at the time of delivery.

Thinking back, the only type of feedback I recall receiving from my father during the time our lives overlapped involved indirect grumpiness and griping. If it came at all, direct praise or reprimand was rare enough that I hold few recollections of them. He was not one to tell me he loved me. That level of connection needed to be assumed. We did the best we could with it.

I definitely love my kids and am able to tell them so, though doing it still doesn’t come naturally for me. At this point, I don’t really know how to say or do much more than that, from within the role of being their father. After they left the nest, they became more like friends for me than people whose lives I direct.

Luckily, they are great to have as friends. From here on out, when the time comes for something more than friendly advice from me, I’ll be winging it; hoping to be the father I would like to have had as an adult.

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Written by johnwhays

February 25, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , , ,

6 Responses

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  1. Watching from the sidelines I see fabulous relationships with your kids! I think as siblings, we’ve helped support any roles that our parents may not have filled – I’m so glad I’ve grown up with many siblings, and apologize to my kids that they don’t have that same option! The cousins will need to support each other like siblings for us!

    Mary

    February 25, 2015 at 11:46 am

  2. I can confirm, he has performed an exemplary job at being a father. In fact, by my rankings he is the best in the biz!

    Love you!

    -his son

    Julian

    February 25, 2015 at 10:24 am

  3. Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up. Good fathers are so important in a child’s life. I think the dad becomes more and more important as children get older. Great post!

    this abundant life

    February 25, 2015 at 9:23 am


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