Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

Over the ages, humans evolved a family system which consisted of father, mother and offsprings. The role of the father was to provide for and protect the family and the mother cared for and fed the family.

The Christian faith confirmed this natural law with the wedding vows which
were ‘ . . .to love, honour, and obey, so long as you both shall live, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health’. In modern times we have seen a loosening of these vows and changes to the age old family unit.

Now it is relatively common for parents to live apart and for the children to live in a single parent situation, with the single parent adopting both roles. I am sure the children in these situations accept as normal the single parent and the backward and forward journeys between one parent and the other. Perhaps it is simply age and nostalgia which makes Bill and I think the old ways were better for the development of the child.

The relationship between father and son is a complicated one. At first mother takes responsibility for the new son, father is just recognisable as a face, voice and perhaps even a smell. The little boy is born with a ‘Nature’ which will begin to show itself as he grows. These traits may show themselves as sensitivity, happiness, curiosity, contentment, quick to learn or other individual tendencies which mothers croon over and fathers see as things which Dad will change or develop as little Alec grows.

Maybe subconsciously, John (Alec’s Dad) sees in his son the opportunity to almost re-live his own ‘growing up’. There is no way
HIS son is going to finish up like his Dad in a boring accountant’s office. Had John been encouraged he feels sure he could have been a professional golfer (Or cricketer, or footballer). he determines that as soon as he can he will start to teach his son the skills so that he can become a star and travel the world. John looks forward to the day when he can take his son to the pub to enjoy a pint and a game of darts - (Therein lies the potential for a drink problem!) Sadly, this plan does not take into account nature. It may be that Alec’s natural tendencies and aptitudes are diametrically opposite those of his father.

Initially, Alec sees Dad as the fount of all knowledge, master of all skills, totally dependable; a grown up playmate with all the answers. Unfortunately, for John this doesn’t last. As puberty approaches infallible Dad becomes ‘The Old Man’, full of outdated ideas and totally ignorant of the important things like technology or the latest in music.

Alec just wishes his Dad would stop banging on about cricket. The ball is too hard to be fun and watching it is closely akin to watching paint dry. He also finds it excruciatingly embarrassing when his dad tries to be one of the boys with Alec’s friends.

It may be that a charismatic teacher who awakens in him a love of classical music and - shock horror - ballet. Young Alec finds numbers fascinating and strains in the relationship between father and son grow as Dad’s attempts to
nurture attitudes and aptitudes come into conflict with Alec’s nature.

Dads should try to steer their sons away from the bad things in life but it would be good if he allowed them to experience things other than those he himself has chosen.

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