When you think of your father, you might think of the hard-working guy, or the guy who makes you laugh, or the guy that makes a great barbeque. But Kirk Thurbide asks, how well do you really know your father? And maybe you should take the time to get to know him better. Getting to know him better will only strengthen the relationship and make the bond between the two of you all the stronger.
Growing up, I would spend time with my father by going to the golf driving range. He would tell me, patience is key in golf. Also, the harder you swing at the ball, the worse of a hit it will be. The way I played, I think I would have been better off playing hockey. However, I did manage to lighten my swing, and my shots were improving. Eventually, my father thought I was ready to go to my first golf course; things ended up pretty shaky. Although my first experience at a golf course was not great, playing golf always was a way for my father and me to bond.
Thurbide mentions that Dr. D. Charles Williams says that there are 5 identifiable stages in which sons relate to their fathers throughout their lives. They come in the acronym: IDEAL.
Idolize: Our childhood view of our fathers, when they seem invincible.
Discord: During the rebellious teen years, when we want to be nothing like our fathers.
Evolving: During young adulthood, our scorn becomes something more like competition.
Acceptance: During our 30s and 40s when we let go of old wrongs and acknowledge the positive traits of our fathers. Friendship begins to evolve in this stage.
Legacy: In our 50s, we realize that we are living a product of our father’s influence.
While this model may not be exact, it serves as a guide and should be worn as an awareness to both fathers and sons. Thurbide says you want to understand who you are, and part of that includes understanding who your father is. Thurbide also mentions that it is important to view your father as a person and not just your father, and to really get to know him. He suggests to get him to tell stories about his life, and to ask questions to help get a bigger picture of your father. By knowing more about your father and learning to accept and understand him, then maybe there won’t be as much scorn and competition in the earlier years of life or even later in life.
Several ways Thurbide suggests you get to know your father better: Appeal to the expert in him; ask him what he’s good at. Unfold his memories with old music or a photo album. Thurbide suggest to talk to people who know his history. He also says to make a family tree in relationship to your father. Getting to know him will only build on your relationship with him. Also, telling him more about yourself will help the relationship as well.
According Dr. Williams’ model, it seems as though our relationship with our fathers get better over the years. However, as I mentioned earlier, this model is not exact and the relationship between father and son can only be improved with effort.
Wayne Parker mentions that males have a tendency to not communicate feelings, and both the father and son want a better relationship, but neither one quite knows how to go about it. That can be a problem when it comes to the father and son dynamic. A daughter may express her feelings to her father where a son may stay silent.
Parker also mentions that a father has a big influence on his son. Parker explains that a son learns when he watches his father interacting with his mother, he learns about respect or disrespect, he learns about how men and women interact, and he learns about how men should deal with conflict and differences. Parker also says he will learn how men talk as he watches his father talk with other men. In many ways, a father is a role model.
Parker also says it is important to find time to do something together both father and son enjoy, as their relationship will grow. He says getting involved with something like Boy Scouts may be a good idea to spend time with your sons, if you get involved with their activities. Also, having your sons play recreational sports, as you can be the coach or simply support from the sidelines. Better yet, play a game of catch or a game of tennis to spend quality time together. Also, going together to a ball game can be a fun idea.
Parker also says it is important to spend plenty of time actively listening. Children have plenty to say and it is important to listen carefully to everything they have to say. It is also important that they listen to the father as well. Parker mentions that as a parent, it is important for fathers to give their sons approval for something good, and praise their accomplishments and feed constant positive reinforcement to combat negativity. It is very crucial to instill a positive outlook in your children and can only strengthen the father-son bond.
Parker also suggests to make one on one time with each child. This will strengthen the individual bonds between each son.
There are many ways to develop and build upon the father-son bond. According to Dr. Williams, there is a basic model that sons follow over the years in relationship to their fathers. That model mentions that in the latest years of life, we accept that as men we are a product of our father’s impact. Thurbide mentions that we should really get to know our fathers in order to strengthen the relationship. Parker brings to light the interesting dynamic of the father-son relationship, and how males have a tendency to not communicate feelings, and how a father has a big influence on his son as a role model. It is important to keep the bond healthy and strong through the years because the father-son relationship is very substantial.
Parker, Wayne. “Ten Ways to Strengthen Father and Son Relationships.” About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://fatherhood.about.com/od/sonsanddads/a/Ten-Ways-To-Strengthen-Father-And-Son-Relationships.htm>.
Thurbide, Kirk. “Father-Son Relationships.” AskMen. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.askmen.com/dating/single_fathers_400/491_father-to-friend.html>.