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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fathers and Sons--Eat your Heart Out Turgenev!

So there I was preparing for work, when my mind started roaming, as it is wont to that time of morning, about life and routine and whatnot…

Then I got to thinking about how for granted I take my parents. Then it developed to whether my future progeny will take advantage of me also. Probably, I thought, maybe man is condemned to have his progeny take advantage of him/her—not because it is deliberate, but maybe each generation being taken advantage of is the way it is supposed to be.

I know there are parents out there who do things for their children out of duty—not necessarily because of love—and those who do it for show. That is out of a myopic and solipsistic, or selfish, desire to prove to the Jones, as it were, that I can also do it for my children. When you ask them whether they spend time with their children, they might just nod at you, and say “look at the expensive school he goes to”, and “the good education that he/she is getting”. Surely that should indicate that the parents love the child?

I beg to differ.

Loving children is not taught. I am inclined to agree that mothers possess the inherent capacity to love their children, but I am not so convinced that fathers do. Having said that, I have many female friends whose relationships with their fathers is just this side of enviable.

And ofcourse, there are many cases—rare though they might be—of mothers disliking their daughters and, well, children.

I think it’s called Yin and Yang.

Laura, that deeply sexy and erudite smut-writer, wrote an incisive post the other day ( about how different she is from her mother and her sister. One particular quote hit home:

"when people reproduce naturally, many of them think of it in terms of reproducing more of themselves. implicit in this assumption is that their progeny will be like them. this is probably why many parents name their kids after themselves. but even if that kid carries your genes, that doesn't make him or her you either. he or she may look like you, and may even act like you--but that's a separate human being who has a mind and will of their own. the fact that this person carries your genes doesn't give you the right to control him or her, and that certainly doesn't give you the right to live your life through him or her either"

Whilst it is a very telling insight, one thing that got me really thinking this morning was this: how having children is the greatest redemption not just of our loneliness, but – if you believe—of man’s self-sacrifice.

Look at the number of times either our father or our mother (usually the latter) has sacrificed something for the child—for the child only to realize much later, and not understand the level of sacrifice. I am talking about going without certain things in order for the child to undergo an experience that will put him in good stead.

And since, we children cannot in any way pay back our parents for all those silent, self-sacrifical periods, we might just replicate that same kind of sacrifice by way of our children. This, simply put, means that we chose to do so much more for our children than our parents were able to do. That way, the level of "recompense"(emotional) is catered for.

Or is this simply utopia?


At Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:52:00 am , Blogger Steph said...

I have so many comments for this post. I'll start by borrowing:

"And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, 'Speak to us of Children.'

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."

Khalil Gibran,
"The Prophet" - On Children

At Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:55:00 am , Blogger Steph said...

And that Family Guy scene, it must be from season 4 or 5, 'cause i've seen every single episode from 1,2 and 3 (so many times), and it's not in there.

PS. Stewie for president!

At Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:34:00 am , Blogger Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

sorry for commenting so late!

I do appreciate the poem; it rocks!! Thankyou!


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