My father wasn’t like other fathers

Recently around the dinner table some friends, all 60+, were discussing fatherhood. We reflected on the sort of father we
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Recently around the dinner table some friends, all 60+, were discussing fatherhood. We reflected on the sort of father we were: the hands on type, the absent father always at work or the aloof, unable to connect, father.

We concluded that for each of us our fathers were our role models and they in turn, looked to their fathers.

The question then arose as to how many of us actually thought about the sort of father we were or did we simply copy the behaviours of our own fathers? From our discussions I wrote this poem reflecting the thoughts we shared.

 

My father wasn’t like other fathers

He didn’t like to play tag

He couldn’t swing a bat

Or throw a ball

His jokes were always stilted

He was no Atticus Finch.

To be safe he stayed away

From us kids when we played

I think he was afraid

Of us, our noise and all our toys.

We’d find him hidden in his study

His head buried in some book

Far more interesting than any of us.

His books were all in foreign tongues.

He prided himself that all around

He was known as a man of letters

A man who read Greek and Latin

In large impressive volumes

He kept up high, well away

From our sticky fingers and prying eyes.

I stood in his office the day he died

And wondered who he was

This man we were called our dad

Who rarely uttered a word to me

Other than correcting me when I ‘spoke all wrong’.

His voluminous books sat in prominence

Having only known his tender hands.

I knew from that day they’d gather dust

As we had no interest nor understanding

Of the classics or scholarly books.

When we buried him we did so a mystery

As I couldn’t think of a word to say

Other than,

My father, wasn’t like other fathers.

 

So the question is what sort of father were you and do you have any regrets about fatherhood or are you now reaping the benefits of being a connected father and enjoying the connection you have with your adult children?

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