Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Angst of Fatherhood

Posted by Thomas on November 22, 2010

Before you continue:

This post has 497 words.

On average it takes less than 4 ½ minutes to read.

If you are a dad reading this post, please take the time to comment. Give your insight to help someone else.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an involved and caring father? I’m challenged to find the balance between fatherly advice and guidance with allowing my young-adult son to express who he is as a person and burgeoning adult by making his own decisions.

Officially our family’s journey down the Rites of Passage road is over (at least that’s the way I conceived the Rites of Passage Program in my mind many years ago—the overarching purpose of this blog). At the beginning I stated (for myself and visitors) that the blog was for a “season”. I thought my internal dialog surrounding my son would start to quell now that he’s turning 18 soon.

Here’s an excerpt from a previous post “The hardest, most challenging, fear-filled role in my life is that of fatherhood. In short, like most parents, I wonder how much I’m screwing up my child. Do I tell him I love him enough? Does he know how proud I am of him? How many more times can he stand me repeating my mantra “excellence not mediocrity son, that is your goal”? Sometimes I get tired thinking about…his future, his life, my shortcomings, my missteps, my frailties.” But, those emotions, thoughts, and energy don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Now, we are working through options after high school for him; college or the military? As much as I want to leave the decisions fully up to him I also see the need for my input. Though my input is necessary I struggle with how much I should offer and how my thoughts and what I say influence his decisions.

So, to all the other involved dads out there: how do you balance fatherly advice and guidance with allowing your young adult to express who they are as a person and burgeoning adult? I feel that too little input from me leaves him uninformed and groping for what to do. I feel too much input from me unfairly stifles his need to be his own person, making important decisions for himself. Also maybe I’m crippling him from being independent and self-sufficient. In the midst of this I’m also trying to be sensitive to the fear he’s experiencing. I remember how scared I was graduating from high school. The fear was paralyzing!

The dynamics of our relationship is changing. The dynamics of our family is changing because he is changing, growing daily into adulthood. Yes, there are some things in him still lacking that make me worry. I try hard to remember, he is not me, and I have to validate the person that he is, not chide him for not being a mini-me.

What is your biggest fatherhood challenge? If you have experienced what I’ve described with my son how did you handle it? Mothers please leave your comments as well, your input will prove invaluable as it always does.

I look forward to learning from the collective wisdom to come.

Peace!

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