Of Fathers and Sons

Being a mother of eight boys, I should have enough experience to speak about fathers, right?

I spoke a little in this post about my father’s relationships with his sons, and his relationship with his father.  But lately I have been thinking more about positive father/son relations.  A few years ago, I was prompted that a friend was having a really difficult time and needed my prayers.  I only saw him at school when I was there for the children.  He wasn’t around for what seemed like weeks.  When he finally returned, I asked him how he was doing and mentioned that we had missed seeing him.  He then told me that his father had just passed away and he had been attending to his father during his final days in mortality and taking care of the arrangements after his passing.  He was still visibly tender from his most recent experiences.  I could tell they had a sweet relationship; my friend had even said as much.

When our boys were young, they came to me for help and comfort.  I was their rock, their foundation, their safety.  During their teens, again their relationships with their father struggled a bit.  When they were willing to talk, they usually talked to me.  I enjoyed that part of our relationship.  It was sweet.  It always bothered my husband.  He was glad they were talking to one of us, but when they were hurt and would come to me, he would say, “They always go to you!”

check out Spanky’s photo bomb!

As our boys are becoming and are men, they now increasingly turn to their father, which is fine and doesn’t bother me.  It is sweet to have them call and say, “Hi Mom.  I love you!  Things are good.  Is Dad there?  I really need to talk to him.  And he isn’t picking up his phone.”  Now my husband gets the scoop before me and then he gets to tell me about their conversations, usually.  There have been times when they have conspired together for a secret only to let me in on it later, because they wanted it to be a surprise.  One of these days I am going to meet a prospective daughter-in-law that way, I am sure.

and this one!

I am so grateful they feel like they can talk to their father.  They have someone to look to and help mentor them as they enter manhood and become men, husbands, and fathers in their own right.  Currently, many of them are laying the foundation for their ability to provide for and support their families.  They have questions and they want and need counsel and guidance.  And the amazing man I am married to is there to help them out.

can you believe him?

 He has a great relationship with his father!  He may not think so.  They argue about plenty and do not have the same opinions about most things.  In fact during our early marriage, I was always so surprised that they could have a lengthy and heated discussion about whatever, only to never have it negatively affect their affection for one another (in my house, that kind of discussion meant you were at war).  They just agreed to have a difference of opinion about the issue.  Their love for each other is fierce.  They do not agree, regularly, but their love and concern for one another is evident and consistent.

Our sons grew up in a home where they could have a difference of opinion also.  It wasn’t always pleasant and caused plenty of tension in the air, but our boys always knew they could rely on their father.  He would be there for them even if they disagreed with him.  The ability to have that kind of a relationship, until now, has been foreign to me.  But it is amazing all the same.  Watching my adult sons interact with their father is priceless.  I can only imagine as they become fathers, their relationships will deepen that much more.

my husband actually ‘trying’ to look mad

In my Book of Mormon reading, I have also enjoyed studying the father/son relationships.  (Some of which are located here:  2nd Nephi 1-4; 2nd Nephi 31-33; Mosiah 27; Alma 36-42; Moroni 7-10.) 
I really appreciate the fathers pleading with their sons to make righteous and moral choices and then see a few chapters or a book later, the sons then pleading with their sons to make wise and moral choices.  I love seeing that faith and hope passed from generation to generation, for what more do we all want than to see that our children and grandchildren grow up to be moral and happy people who strengthen the community around them?

Family Science literature has just begun exploring the dynamics of the father and child relationship.  I haven’t read many of the studies, but from my own experience, healthy father/child relationship tend to correlate with healthy self-esteem development and greater confidence in their children.  My dear friend and I both struggle in our relationships with our fathers and both of us have difficulty with our confidence levels.  We have both had to work very hard to develop positive self-images and to feel good about who we are and what we can do.

I guess the point to my post is just that fathers play a vital role in children’s lives, particularly their sons, but also their daughters.  I am grateful to have a husband who understands and values his role as father, and that he will pass on positive father/child relationships to his children.

Yea for fathers and sons!

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