Like Father, Like SonBy
Baseball games in the park. Trips to the amusement park. Camping vacations by tranquil lakes. Swimming games in the local pool.
Take a deep breath. Now imagine marijuana joints passed around by the campfire. The toasting of two beer mugs during a night of intoxification. Two women – a middle-age one and her twentysomething daughter – being led arm in arm back to two adjoining hotel rooms.
Which father-son images would you rather have in your memory banks? (Or, if a woman, what mother-daughter images?)
I take it for granted that most of us have been raised with or at least been fed as the ideal the first set. Our parents were authority figures. They set boundaries. We both admired and feared them. They rewarded us when we did good and punished us when we didn’t.
As children, we actually want boundaries. We may beg our parents to stay up late and consume junk food in humungous quantities and be disappointed when they refuse our every demand, but deep down, we secretly want them to draw lines in the sand beyond which we cannot cross. If they did not, we would feel like we were growing up without a guide.
There is no one universal parenting method, no absolutely correct way for a parent to raise a child. I would take for granted that most readers had father-son (or mother-daughter) relationships which more closely resembled baseball games in the park than discussions about life over freebase cocaine. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve observed more and more unusual father-son relationships, with the son looking no worse for wear for it.
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