“The first fact that distinguishes the human species from all others is that we are born too soon. We arrive, incapable of taking care of ourselves for something like fifteen years. Puberty doesn’t come along for twelve years or more, and physical maturity doesn’t arrive until our early twenties. During the greater part of this long arc of life, the individual is in a psychological situation of dependency. We are trained, as children, so that every stimulus, every experience, leads us simply to react, “Who will help me?” We are in a dependent relationship with our parents. Every situation evokes parental images: “What would Mommy and Daddy want me to do?” Freud made a great point of this dependence.”
I came across this passage and I liked it for various reasons. I read it and re-read it, trying to grasp it all and decipher it in my mind. I thought about it for a few days and even discussed it with Mom2be. I have been thinking of concepts such as the one described above during times that I have asked myself, “What is the role of a father?” and “What kind of father do I want to be?”
The passage above just solidifies for me a very important concept that I had thought about, but had been unable to put into words so far–the fact that my child will be completely dependent on me and his mother. As a father, some of my many roles are to be the provider, the guardian of the family, the teacher, the role model (this is a whole other post!). Being a father is a huge responsibility and I must rise up to the challenge. The passage also makes it “concrete” to me the fact that a child’s relationship with his or her mother and father is probably the most important factor in the development of the child. I made a mental note to remind myself of that importance everyday–as parents, my wife and I will be the most important factor in the development of our child.
Thinking back to my childhood, I can now recognize how my childhood experiences and my relationship with my parents affected me in my development and even now as an adult. A while ago I spoke to my father and we discussed marriage and children. My father, in a candid moment of honesty, admitted to making mistakes with us children and my mom. I appreciated his honesty for I know there are no perfect parents and no perfect childhood. Plus, I sincerely believe he did the best that he could with what he knew at the time. Then he told me a bit of fatherly advice that I choose to remember today, “Yo nunca fui a la escuela. Hice muchos erores con tu mama y con ustedes. Yo nunca fui a clases de padres o de matrimonio. Pero ustedes, ustedes no tien excusa porque fueron a la escuela. Tienen otro nivel de educacion. No tienen excusa para hacer los mismos erores que yo hice o para no ir a las clases de matrimonio o de padres. Es tu responsabilidad.”
And my father was right, I have no excuse. It is my responsibility to be the best husband and father that I can be. My child depends on me.