The Invisible Wall Between Fathers And Sons
My father followed in the footsteps of his father in many ways. However, unlike my grandfather who enlisted in the army, my father was drafted after he completed medical school and served in Vietnam in 1972 when my mother gave birth to me.
My father, like his father, and his father before him, shared a similar parenting style. While all were certainly warm and kind people, they were fathers who maintained the traditional distance from their sons; more likely to speak about current events than sharing their feelings or speaking about deeper matters.
Growing up, I was always amazed when I heard my father speaking with one of his friends or colleagues on a different level than how he spoke to me. I always wished that he would relate to me in a similar manner, and that I could talk to him in the way which I talked with my mother.
Since fathers tried to raise their sons to be men, perhaps he was raised with the belief that sharing emotions was a feminine activity. Perhaps he was just being the father that his father was to him; devoted yet somewhat detached.
I have only seen my father cry two times in my entire life; once on the day his father passed away, and once on the day his mother passed away. I was told, however, that he also cried on the day he that he left for Vietnam; leaving his pregnant wife behind.
While I cannot change the way my father relates to me, I can change the way I relate to my son. I strive to be the kind of father who is always accessible and willing to talk about deeper issues. I pray that one day my son will view me this way.
As for my father, I am not sure if I truly know the person he is on the inside. Despite the fact that I have made numerous attempts to speak to him on a deeper level, I am rarely successful. I love him dearly and hope that one day I will be able to break through this invisible wall separating father and son.