Why Boys Need Fathers

Some people think it’s funny to joke about not knowing your father. I don’t think it’s funny, because I don’t have a father. Surely I must, you think, or else I would not have been born. True. My father does indeed exist. In fact, he is alive and well. I don’t know him, though. I mean, I know that he retired from General Motors Corporation as a skilled trade’s mechanic who worked on big trucks. I also know that he enjoys cruising in his Harley Davidson Fat Boy. I even have his cell phone number stored in my phone. I told you, though, that I don’t know him. He and my mother divorced when I was two. They’ve both since remarried, and I suppose I could call my stepfather ‘dad’, but that is not the point.

My father’s side of the family actually has a long history of divorce. It’s said that divorce affects children, and it seems to have been passed down paternally through the generations. His father, my paternal grandfather, was my grandmother’s first husband. All good. Until they divorced when my father was a child. My paternal grandfather came back into my father’s life later when I was born, but that only lasted until my parents divorced a couple of years later. My grandfather’s parents, who are my father’s grandparents and my great-grandparents, they were divorced too. Not one, not two, but three generations of divorced couples. Quite the track record.

Boys need fathers. It is my humble yet experience-induced opinion that boys need fathers more than anyone else. Even more than daughters need their mothers. I grew up without my father. I have received no more than a handful of birthday cards, and spent a couple of summers there when I was younger. It’s not enough. Boys are full of energy, need to play, and they need a father to understand and facilitate that. Don’t get me wrong, my mother and stepfather did a great job. It’s just not the same. Boys get older, more rambunctious, and eventually they hit puberty. If you had told my parents that all the years of running after me were only going to get worse, they probably wouldn’t have believed you.

danger boy

danger boy (Photo credit: kelpenhagen)

Puberty is possibly the most difficult time of life for a boy, just as I’m sure it can be on girls as well. Hormones exacerbate everything into calamity, and we all need that support network to help us through it. That’s where fathers usually step in, but I wasn’t so fortunate. I’m not going to blame anyone, because I don’t think missing fathers understand how much they’re needed during these trying times. Nobody was there to explain to me why not to wear a gallon of cologne, how to shave my face without cutting myself, and even explain thoughts on masturbation. I had to figure it all out on my own. Of course that includes girls as well, experiencing all the teenage heartache a father should be there to help with.

We get through it, though, well enough. My behavior during those adolescent years ended up with me being sent to an all-boys school as a disciplinary measure to ‘keep me on track’. That’s where I learned the value of male bonding, because without the distractions of girls and teaching styles that saved us a little from having to sit in a chair all day and listen to adults talk, I was allowed to just be a boy. We were allowed to vent our frustrations in a controlled environment, and I made some of the best friends of my life there. We shared a growing love of sports, and some of us are still friends to this day. Girls were really something none of us had to worry about because we could just be ourselves.

Then high school came, and it was a small culture shock. I loved the learning part of school, but things are so much different in a coeducational environment. The focus shifts from male friendships to female courtships, and friends are not as easily made. I was still a little rambunctious, just a little more controlled when I was under a watchful eye, but I lost out on those feelings of brotherhood that I once so enjoyed. I think this is another crucial time for fathers to be there to teach boys how to become adults. As high school draws to a close, boys (and girls) have to figure out what they want to do with their lives. That is something I think fathers often shape in boys. “Like father, like son,” the saying goes.

I didn’t know what to be after high school. Growing up, I had emulated superheroes and professional athletes, as many young boys do. When you get a little older, though, and those plans start to seem a little less realistic, a boy has to figure out how to make his mark in the world. If my father was around, maybe I would’ve been interested in cars and become a mechanic, or raced dirt bikes, or something like that. Without a father, though, I had to look elsewhere. I spent much of my time during my youth with my grandfather, who was a Marine lieutenant between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He probably influenced me the most, but I also looked up to some authors and historical icons. It’s not the same.

What I really want to press here is that boys need fathers. If you have a son, don’t let him be exposed to the world all on his own. Give him some comfort and nurture, and help guide him into adulthood. If you don’t have kids, the next time you see a little boy down the street playing all alone, try to be his friend, just like a big brother. That’s the next best thing. There was a little boy that I used to let come over and play video games, until his mother became uncomfortable with it. Not everybody is Jerry Sandusky, lady. That dude is fucking weird. Boys need fathers, or big brothers, so if you’re a guy, you owe them some of that time. Be an influence in a young man’s life, and you can change his world for the better.

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The Age of Reason

Veronica was on her way home to her family when she first met Vincent. She had a ring on her finger and a husband at home. He was now a businessman, having snatched up his young wife a number of years ago. He was now well off and able to provide stable financial support for his wife and their two daughters. The first to ravage his beautiful young wife, he was a number of years older than his teenage bride at the time. Had her husband been a man who insisted, he could’ve produced sons, but as a man who acquiesced, he filled his teenage bride with two daughters instead. Such is the case when beauty causes men to falter.

Veronica

But now is later, and their lovely daughters are now lovely young women with daughters of their own. His once astonishing young wife is now merely amazing for her age. Her face is still beautiful, but proximity reveals wrinkles around the corners of her eyes and mouth. Her smile still lights her face. Her skin is soft, and her shape is smooth. When she takes off her clothes, in lingerie she could warm any man’s loins. But maybe her breasts sag a little, or may they don’t but her skin shows the colored patterns of age. Maybe her buttocks aren’t as firm as they once were, but remember that she’s had two children. Age wears on all of God’s creatures, no matter how blessed they once were. Of course, a man could still enjoy her body, even though a moist crotch would still give way to her now eternally dry passageway. Those gates are closed forever from youth.

But this story is not about Veronica. Our protagonist is Vincent, the one she met not long ago. Fate makes those things happen. Vincent was a war veteran, but not of the retired variety. Vincent was a child soldier during the War, and his enlistment records show he had been stationed on both fronts. War taught Vincent emotions. Some of these most men never experience, and some others experienced to depths unknown. He learned loss, of course, when his best friend didn’t make it through, and then nights of crying, wondering why, just why? The emptiness, the numbness, not being able to feel anything despite the knowledge that there are things to be felt, good or bad, they just wouldn’t register. And joy, much more the same than many think, the adrenaline rushes, accomplishment, survival of the most fit. Then the anger, the rage, “Hulk SMASH!” in not so many words. And the love, the feeling of euphoric orgasm of the soul. And he felt whatever residuals remained, the bitterness, the loneliness of experiences no longer shared, changed excitements, and everything that War does to man, without actually changing who he is.

Vincent wearing the ...

But remember, Vincent is a war veteran. He’s been normalized for what he can, and is a child soldier no more. At the age of fourteen, the War is now behind him, at least chronologically speaking. For all effects, Vincent leads a normal 14-year-old life, with friends and joys and cares. He even met a beautiful girl just recently, named Ashley. She must be 13 or 14 as well, a friend through acquaintances. Ashley caught Vincent the first time they met with eyes like Venus fly traps. Such kind, welcoming eyes, poisoning their prey with a smile. Ashley had a beautifully structured face, with each part carefully calculated to entice. But something else was wrong with Ashley. Something Vincent couldn’t ever hope to overcome. Ashley was mute. It was on learning this that he left. “That’s life,” he said, and walked away, perhaps forever.

Now is when Vincent and Veronica resurface together, but don’t go thinking that was all a setup to create a love story for them. Because remember, Veronica is married. Had someone like Vincent arrived before, then maybe it could have set up another love story. But it is not to be. Fate was not so kind, at least not to ours. So let’s just forget it was even mentioned. What’s passed is past, and what’s past is passed. In fact, just to show it’s not their love story, when Veronica and Vincent met, there were no ‘sparks’ to describe, or ‘connections’ made. He simply looked at her, and she looked at him. Maybe one of them lowered their eyes, but surely nothing more. They were going to the same place, but alas to different destinations. Oh how fate punishes those who don’t deserve it. But this is how their relationship began.

Childhood Home

Time passed, as it often does, and Veronica and Vincent started hanging out. He would go to her house, or less often she to his apartment. There they would sit and just talk about life, each nervous at first, hearts pounding to escape their chests and reveal themselves, at least until they adjusted into being friends. Two people sharing with each other, laughing at the same things, or feeling the same angers and frustrations. They began to hate each others’ enemies, and admire their friends. Moments of silence would allow for the return of heart-pounding nervousness, assuaged by broken silence and a return to laughter, sharing, hoping and dreaming. Until one day when it all stopped.

We all know that conversations with close companions can segue into shared interests, hobbies, and the like. So of course it was only natural for Vincent to progress their relationship to the next stage. And Veronica felt the sane. But this is where the rift began. It started small, with Vincent wanting to watch cartoons at her house. He was excited to share the characters and the stories that resonated with his own life and experiences. But Veronica didn’t understand. So she attempted to bridge the gap, sharing with Vincent all the gossip of the neighborhood, the husbands, wives and families nearby. But Vincent didn’t understand. Now here they had come all this way developing a comforting relationship, and they were already losing commonalities. Soon after, Veronica stopped calling. And Vincent lost his desire to do the same. Time had created irresolvable differences, and therein lies the parable.