A Father of Sons

I make boys.


This is scientifically proven fact.


I do so (of course) with the help of my lovely wife, but as we all learned in 8th grade biology (and was ironically overlooked in the historical tale of Henry VIII) men are responsible for deciding sex in children.


So, now that we have established my super-power, let's get on to how this currently troubles me.


I love my sons. I'm so excited to watch them grow into the men they will become. To watch them experience new things and discover all that the world has to offer them. I'm also terrified that I'm not up to the challenge of tutoring them in guy-dom.


I consider myself about as manly as a tech/comic/movie/tv geek can be. I like football and basketball (even know all the rules of both), I love westerns and rock music and am well versed in both. But is the breadth of my knowledge enough to satiate their sponge-like little minds? When do I introduce them to all these wonderful things/people/songs/ideas? And does the simple fact that I am introducing them make them "un-cool" in the eyes of the kiddos?


These are the questions that plague a Father of Sons.


Any father (or expectant father) has to first and foremost look to his relationship (or lack thereof) with his own Dad. While mine wasn't perfect, I've come to hold him in the highest of regards (see the Classic Rogue post "So I'm Turning Into My Father" for evidence). He wasn't always there at my little league games or to play catch in the yard, but in the end I didn't really like baseball so there's no real loss. Dad did show up to every single play I've ever been in (with one exception, which he still regrets). He also spent countless hours shooting hoops with me in the driveway, which may have more than a little to do with my abiding love for basketball.


My father is not a highly educated man. He never finished college, he doesn't read the New Yorker and he's never (to my knowledge) touched a computer mouse. Those things added up in my adolescent and post-adolescent head to "ignorant" and "simple-minded". Everything Dad liked was obviously beneath me, and my tastes were far too refined for someone like him to understand. Looking back on it, I'm still a little surprised he never throttled me for some of the terrible things I said to him.


Don't get me wrong, I never hated him or anything, I just treated him like the village idiot. He was (to me) lovable, harmless and often embarrassing.


I hope, nay, I pray, that neither one of my sons ever writes that sentence about me.


The happy ending to the story is that as the years went on (and in the scheme of things, it didn't even take that many) I began to see that dear old Dad, had a lot to offer. He and I weren't as different as I imagined in my teen years. His worldview wasn't backward and without logic, it was settled, tried and found suitable. The Clint Eastwood westerns that he loved and I scoffed at became some of my favorite films, and the bluegrass and gospel music that he tried to teach me about finally spoke to my Gaelic heritage and found its way onto my iPod permanently.


Knowing me, my father and my already strong-willed older son, It is likely that Judah will one day tell me "You wouldn't understand, Dad!" while shutting out the sage and thoughtful advice I am trying to give him. The good news is, sometime later, he is likely to hear it again and thank me for it.

Being a Father of Sons isn't an easy job, and it's not one that pays off that much in the short run. But if we take a Warren Buffett view of fatherhood, the long-term prospectus for me and my ever-growing brood is quite good.