Social Question

jca's avatar

Father's Day is coming up and is the big topic on TV and social media this week: How was your relationship with your dad, and do you have any reflections, good or bad, about fathers and fatherhood?

Asked by jca (35976points) June 10th, 2014

How was your relationship with your dad? Do you have any special memories or reflections you’d like to share? Any issues you’d like to discuss?

Any reflections on fatherhood that you have, based on your relationship with your dad or dad in your life, or based on your own relationship with your kids?

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23 Answers

marinelife's avatar

My father was both good and bad. I learned a lot from him, both how to be and how not to be.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My view on this is probably slanted, because I drew an inside straight and got the best Dad ever. We were super tight. He was a hell of a hard worker, but also knew how to have fun. He was my hero and I was known as his shadow, because we did everything together.

filmfann's avatar

My Dad passed away 31 years ago. We had a very good relationship. I miss him very much. I still have dreams where he dies in front of me. Not pleasant.

As a father, myself, I find that the more I deviate from what my Dad did, the more trouble I get into.

cookieman's avatar

I had a great relationship with my father for most of his life. He taught me a lot, was very fair, and we shared a lot of interests.

When I was an adult, I learned he was a bit of a selfish weenie, but I understood where that came from — even if I didn’t agree with it.

He was, in general, a good man and I miss him every day.

Pachy's avatar

The older I grow the more I appreciate how fortunate I was to have had the dad I did. He wasn’t perfect, but he did his best… And that was more than good enough.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I know Dad can’t read it, but I’ll write anyway.

Dear Dad,
When I was young this thought often came to me: “I wish I had another Dad!” Yeah, because I was just too childish and judgmental. I could only see your shortcomings. You were so short-tempered and often shouted at me. You kept on telling me to change this, change that. You said I “need to grow out of it” while I thought it was totally fine… I thought you didn’t understand me and liked to make my life miserable…
If only I had known everything earlier. As I grow up, I eventually find out the reason for your “eccentric” behavior. You are short-tempered because you are under too much work pressure, you tell me to change because I really need to change. You ask me to grow out of it because you have sensed something wrong with it.
You are wise and kind. Although your approach may not be good, I know you are trying to help me, to guide me to the right path. You, along with Mom, have created the moral standard for me to cling on.
Without you our house wouldn’t be completed. Happy Father’s Day

Seek's avatar

My daddy and I were really close when I was a youngling. My mom moved us away from him when I was 8½. We visited for a weekend when I was ten, and my grandparents flew him down once when I was 12. My mother forced me soon after that to tell him over the phone that I didn’t want to hear from him anymore. And so, I didn’t. Shortly after 9/11, he sent my brother a letter saying that he was OK and what his job was when shit went down (he was a police officer with the NYPD). Mom took away the letter before we could get his address to write him back. We know he retired that same year, but literally no one has heard from him since 2002. Not even his siblings. He didn’t show up for his mother’s funeral. My current theory is that he committed suicide – he had always battled depression – and was tagged a John Doe because he didn’t have a driver’s license.

Daddy taught me how to read, how to cook, what good music was. He taught me to ride a bike and throw a punch and climb a tree. He taught me, the wrong way, how to drink responsibly. My daddy was a sad, troubled soul, who had a pretty hard life. He could have done so much better than my mother, and she ruined him.

thorninmud's avatar

My dad’s childhood was largely devoid of affection. His parents died by the time he was six, and he and his two brothers were raised by their mountain goat of a grandma on a hardscrabble Ozark farm. He became a father never having had a model for what a loving parent/child relationship looked like.

It wasn’t the love that he had a hard time with—I knew he loved me—but he had no repertoire of words or actions to express it. What he had learned very well was how to work like an ox, so this became his language of love: he worked in heroic measure, hoping that this form of sacrifice would adequately compensate for what he was unable to give in other ways.

The closest we came to intimacy doesn’t actually sound very intimate: He had risen rather high in the ranks of our city’s health department despite having only a high school education, and he often had to prepare reports and presentations. This terrified him. He had managed to work his way above his station, and he was now surrounded by better educated professionals. He feared having his hillbilly roots exposed through his unrefined language. So from my early teens on, he asked me to proofread his papers and polish his expressions and punctuation. Even then, I understood the subtext of this task: in asking this of me, he was allowing himself to be seen by me as less than competent. To place himself in that position of vulnerability was an act of intimacy. By the same token, this was as close to an expression of his admiration of me as he could muster.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve never really known my dad, his choice. My half-sibs said he never said “I love you”, but now that he’s older he’s starting to be a good grandfather to their kids. It makes me happy that he’s evolving into a better person, and it makes it easier for me to forgive and let go of any emotional baggage I may carry.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I haven’t seen my biological father since I was six. My dad, for all intents and purposes, is the man my mom married when I was 4. I have a good relationship with him, though I strongly disagree with most of the choices he makes regarding his life. He had a heart attack this year and I realized that I’d rather him be alive and stupid than dead.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As a kid my relationship with my dad was great. As an adult, however, he was very distant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@thorninmud Your story gave me chills…..

Strauss's avatar

My dad was in many ways the good face of the American dream. He was the son of immigrants, and left school after 6th grade to help support his family. He worked the construction trades, and was active in the union movement all his life. He never let us 6 kids know that we should be considered poor. He made us truly believe that his favorite parts of the chicken were the neck and the back, so we could get the pieces we wanted. He taught us always to see the good in others, and to try to understand why people acted the way they did. He supported us in our successes and coached us through our failures. He did not necessarily approve of some of my lifestyle choices, but he was still very supportive and loving. We were all adults when he passed, and had even produced grandchildren and a couple great-great grandchildren. At his funeral, there were at least 50 cars in the motorcade from the church to the cemetery.

He passed 26 years ago, on June 4th. I still miss him a lot!

stanleybmanly's avatar

My dad was was terrific. When we were kids, he knew and understood all of us so well, it was almost frightening. We couldn’t get away with anything, because no matter the crime, he knew who did it. My mom hadn’t a clue about her clutch of little criminals, but my dad would somehow know exactly who had gone into the closet and dug around for a preview of the Christmas presents. He was the sort of person that everyone knew, both humble and exalted, which was another reason we couldn’t get away with much. I think my dad understood kids so well because he himself was in no hurry to grow up. He had a lot in common with us, including a basic fear of my mother when she was angry. He also shared we kids’ love of sweets, pastries, ice cream etc. In the summers, he would have several days off in a row from the railroad, and we would be left in his charge. My mother before leaving for work, would cast a glare at him much as an eagle might regard a rabbit, then declare something like “If you decide to spend the day stuffing these kids and yourself with sweets, you’d be better off if the 5 of you hopped on one of those trains you drive and leave town rather than let me find out about it.” She’d then hop in the Chevy and peel off to work, and the 5 of us would march straight off to the bakery.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I recently read the behavioral characteristics of someone with borderline personality disorder, and the piece could have been written about my father.

Alcohol abuse; compulsive gambling; indiscriminate sex; severe mood swings; reckless spending; unsafe driving; leaving jobs and abandoning businesses; running away; extremely easy to hurt or offend, but careless about the feelings or suffering of other people.

Shortly before he slipped into his final coma and died, he asked my brother and me to visit him together. We thought he wanted to say “goodbye” and maybe leave us with some kind words. No, he wanted to tell us that we’re a pair of losers, and that he’d always been disappointed and disgusted by us.

At the time, I was working in a high-level job on Capitol Hill, supporting myself, living well, and asking nobody for anything. My brother was excelling in college and forming an incredibly successful, lucrative career as a software engineer. Our entire lives, we’ve both been decent, honest, responsible people who should make any parent proud.

AshLeigh's avatar

I don’t have much of a relationship with my father, anymore. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him in the last year. I try not to see him.
Growing up, I never got along with my father. He was an abusive ass, and I’m not ready to forgive him. I’m not sure that I ever will be ready. At this point, I do just enough to keep the peace.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul OMG. I am so sorry. You know he was just transferring his feelings about himself on to you guys. I admire you and your brother for pulling out.

It hurts to see the extremes.

flutherother's avatar

It wasn’t a very close relationship, we seemed to annoy one another. Now he is long dead I recognise him in much of my behaviour and I am pleased to bear his name.

Blondesjon's avatar

My Dad was an alcoholic, narcissistic, wife-beating prick.

The only thing I took away from our relationship was the intense desire to be everything he was not. My wife and children are proof that I accomplished what I set out to do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think my son has set out to be everything his father wasn’t, and he’s accomplishing that grandly. I am so proud of the young man.

DominicX's avatar

My dad and I have never been quite as close as my mom and I, but the difference has never been too large either way. He shares my love of learning languages, travel, computers, and reading non-fiction books about absolutely anything you’re interested in. It just happened that we had less in common than I did with my mom and he had much more in common with my two brothers—add that to the fact that I simply didn’t see him as much as a kid; his job was always very demanding. But my dad was always supportive of me, had no issues with me being gay, and I’ve always been decently close to him and I’ll always appreciate what he’s done for me. Looking forward to spending time with him on father’s day :)

ibstubro's avatar

I choose not to remember my dad.

Humorous to think that he and my mom would wind up at the same place. I know that burning in Hell could be a mutual heaven, but can co-existing in Heaven be a Hell?

josie's avatar

My dad was my hero. ( in fact he was decorated as a hero). I can’t begin to list all the lessons of life that he taught me.
A few of his little pearls of wisdom -
“Take no shit- unless you deserve it”
“Don’t start a fight, but if you have to defend yourself make sure you finish it’”
“Never be your own enemy”
“Try? Shit, a steer can try…”
“Marry the right woman”- I regrettably did not follow that one
“You can’t help everybody. So when you are helpful, at least pick the ones who are salvageable.
“As much as possible, try to be a friend to all men.”-He meant mankind BTW
Etc. Etc.

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