Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fatherhood: An Equal Reaction

I catch a glimpse of the wall behind my computer. Squeezed in-between the world map and cycling goals are notes from my daughter; “Dear Dad, thank you so much for helping me move my bed! You Rock!” There is an envelope next to it addressed: To The Best Dad In The World.

If I reach inward I can taste and feel the anger. I was aware of it at seventeen. I was achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. I knew that even if my dad attended the ceremony he attended in name only. The award had been achieved with no involvement from him. The same could be said of my turning eighteen.

The phone calls from my dad’s wife, Ethel, are predictable. She will be (understandably) at the end of her rope because my dad is pulling on it. He will have been angry, violent, abusive or---D: All of the above. The calls often incite guilt in me (see last weeks’ post) for not calling or visiting.

There are two basic laws of physics known to everyone: ‘For every action, an equal reaction’, and ‘an object in motion will stay in motion.’ These two laws have made me a different father than my dad.

An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force. Simmering anger was normative in my life. Christ taught me to forgive and give up control. Being acted upon meant the last thirty years with my dad in my life and a grandfather in Hailey’s’. Reacting to being fatherless I am aggressively involved in the life of my daughter.

A driving force guiding my decisions is to be the father for my daughter that will prevent gaping holes and vacuums in her heart. The key is to do it with a focus on her being a whole person and not letting my chinks and chasms get in the way.

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