Experience has shown us that the men who are happiest and most content in their masculine role today are those whose fathers invested time and energy in their lives. These dads may have worked outside the home, as the vast majority of fathers in our society today do. But their priorities were in the right place. They were committed in principle, and found concrete ways to maintain a positive, nurturing relationship with their sons. These fathers helped their sons discern and nurture their individual talents, and supported them in their chosen careers. They identified their sons’ strengths and weaknesses and addressed them accordingly. They attempted to understand their sons’ unique ambitions, and appreciated their achievements. In short, these fathers helped their sons become men. And as a result of their investments, their sons are among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our society.
However, men with these kinds of dads are in the minority today. Most men are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm, and validate them at the most fundamental level. Their fathers have left these men a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear, and anger. These adult sons are often the angry men of our society.
Friend, which description best fits your situation? Are you reaping the benefits of a committed, invested father, or struggling to overcome a sonship that has left you a wounded and angry man? If it’s the latter, won’t you take steps to get some help?
Don’t stay stuck there.
Over the last century, America’s undergone tremendous changes including what employment opportunities are available to us today, where and how we live, and how families relate and function’both internally and with others.
How have these changes affected us as men? Well, one important way is that it’s systematically distanced sons from their fathers. In fact, it’s become clear to experts that a primary source of the seething undercurrent of anger pervading much of the male population results from the diminishing influence of the father in a man’s life. Recent studies have shown less than 1 percent of males have or have had a close relationship with their fathers. Many men cannot remember their dads touching them affectionately, or telling them, ‘I love you.’
Men are often not very emotional, but if you want to see a man get that way in a hurry, ask him about his dad. A large number of adult males today have grown up virtually without their fathers, and they’re profoundly hurt and angry because of it.
Why? What’s happened to create this problem? The problem, of course, cannot be reduced to one factor alone. Yet neither is it a total mystery. The last century has seen the American male’s role change, and the role of fatherhood has suffered for it. Over the next several days I’ll be explaining how this happened and what it’s caused. I hope you’ll tune in.
Why has the American father largely disappeared from his sons’ lives? One answer lies in the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society.
A century ago, the majority of fathers and sons lived and worked together on the family farm. Those who didn’t farm often owned and ran family businesses or labored at trades that their sons learned from them through years of observation, instruction, and hands-on experience. Boys spent most of their time with their fathers, who where their primary mentors.
But as the industrialization of our nation expanded, more men were needed to build and repair the machines, sell and deliver the products, count the profits, and pay the bills.
Increasing numbers of ambitious men moved to the city to take these jobs. Instead of spending the day tutoring their sons in the skills of life and work, these men left home every morning to pursue their careers’and their sons stayed home. The more time a man directed to his work away from home, the less time he had to mentor his sons. The downside of this revolution was that young boys were cut loose from the means that once so efficiently ushered them into confident and prepared manhood.
I know it’s much harder now, but you need to make time for your sons. If you feel ill equipped, I encourage you to take advantage of the resources available to you.