Just wait ‘til your father gets home!
Just wait ‘til your father gets home!
“Just wait ‘til your father gets home!” Exploring these words give us an insight into a model of fatherhood many of us recognise. A father not being home is a common experience; hence, “just wait ‘til your father gets home” is apt in reference to the father not being there in the child’s life.
The phrase is commonly used as a form of discipline, felt somewhat harshly at times, as in the father will sort out the errant behaviour upon his return. The threat is there to contain or punish: the father as masculine, threatening, imposing... a man following societal norms. We can wonder whether this is the role men are most comfortable with.... and question this. We should take a closer look at why many men struggle to offer their children love and affection.
Many of us in fatherhood wish to not repeat perceived mistakes and injustices felt from our own fathers, who either weren’t around or weren’t able to express love for their children. And even when they were physically present, they weren’t really there, only able to perform the role of disciplinarian, and without the intimacy and connection that parenting can give.
How easy/difficult/possible is it to avoid repeating what we perceive as the mistakes imposed upon us as children, when we become a father? It's worth considering if there are times that we subconsciously fall back on what we received in the way of being fathered.
There can be ideals around being tough and resilient, and choosing this behaviour means we become emotionally distant – unable to relate to a child in need of a tender guardian.
Absence in fatherhood may not just be about being away at work, it can be the Dad who is home but wrapped up in a hobby or diversion, or simply struggling to relate his love for his family in a way that his children need in order to feel confirmed and comfortable in their own skin. It is all a theme of not being there – either physically absent or not able to offer intimate connection with his child.
If as boys we didn’t receive love and affection from our own father then we are often left with repressed feelings of hurt. We may not even have given this any conscious thought, so embedded in our life as normal was this rejection. Not addressing how we felt when we were not offered that love and affection as a boy means that no matter our intentions, the role of fatherhood may be dressed-up to repeat, to some extent at least, the fathering we received.
Read James Stanfield’s description of what he felt it used to mean to be a father and what he sees it as now.
“I have always found being a father rather daunting; never really knowing what I was supposed to do. I quickly took on the role of disciplinarian, dishing out orders like a lieutenant in the army and always looking for clues where I could hand over to my children what I had learned from life, as this felt comfortable for me.
I struggled to be affectionate with my children as I was never shown affection growing up and was uncomfortable with it. I always found it a constant battle between being the alpha male I felt I needed to be at work and with my mates, as opposed to being tender and supportive for my children at home. I was forever feeling I had to be a rock, stoic and the provider, seldom letting my defences down or connecting with my children in a way they deserved.
As for a lot of boys of my era, my dad was my role model when it came to me being a father. Consciously or subconsciously I would align to the way I was parented, trying to avoid the traits I disliked and swore I would never do with my children. In spite of this I still ended up with my own bastardised version that ended with the same results for my children as I had experienced.
My dad was always around but never had time for us; he would never come to watch me play sport or come to any of my events, this was all left to my mother. So, I vowed to always be there for my children, which I was, however although I was there physically, my mind was always somewhere else. I never fully engaged with them and if I was spending time with them it was always on my terms and usually with a time limit. I guess the reason for this is that I felt uncomfortable or out of my depth being a father as I didn’t really know what was expected.
From what I have observed most men are not mastered at one-on-one relationships as opposed to most women and I feel this stops us from connecting with our children. We get caught up in the masculinity of trying to portray who we want to be in the world, which results in not letting anyone see who we truly are. For instance, my daughters only saw me cry for the first time when they were in their late teens, for I had felt that I had to be tough around them and this thought process stopped me from truly connecting with them. Even now, opening up to my children doesn’t come as easy for me as it does with others in my life, however I do know it is never too late to make a change.
Hear Mark’s description of what he felt it used to mean to be a father and what he sees it as now.
“I didn’t embrace what it meant to be a responsible father with my seven children.
I was ticking boxes, driving kids to school, sporting events, being the provider, meeting basics, playing the good dad, but I failed to honour each of my children’s uniqueness as a person. I didn’t see past the day-to-day… if the fathering chores were done it was time I could check out – watch TV or some other activity that was a withdrawal from life. I didn’t see all the other interactions as fathering. Now I see it is a crucial part of honouring the child, that detail, that time spent listening and supporting the children in their lives.
I always said, ‘I won’t be like my father’, but I didn’t have the livingness to bring what I wanted to my children as a father. What becomes part of your make-up as a father is often what you have learnt. You take on behaviours from your own experience as a child and bring your children up accordingly.
There was never an acknowledgement that I had been affected by my own father’s behaviour with me. Some aspects I didn’t repeat but others, mainly being disconnected from the family, did occur. I was unpredictable and impacted by the pressures of the day, which resulted in coming home from work and dumping it verbally on the whole family.
I had a consciousness of fatherhood handed down from generation to generation that I feel I have now identified and have broken to a certain extent. At some point in time many men have to break the consciousness that has pervaded the family line to allow our children to evolve. It didn’t just come from my father but many generations before him and how they were as fathers.
I had no awareness of the triggers that allowed this behaviour and that is the key. What I was feeling, and what others were feeling, was not readily accessible due to my lack of connection to myself. Living in that unaware state you roll through life and react to what is presented to you. As a result, I failed to embrace each child’s tenderness and sensitivity and consequently it has meant that I have needed to work on being more open to them as adults.
As a father, I have realised my children’s decisions are theirs and I no longer have to take responsibility for them. I see how they choose to live their lives, and I try not to take that on myself if there are some aspects that I don’t agree with. They are individuals living this life based on the choices they make.
The Ageless Wisdom gives you the awareness to honour each child, for without that awareness I believe as men we live out many of the patterns our fathers did, to the detriment of ourselves and our relationships.”
Yet fatherhood should hold no fears. It is an opportunity for men to offer their children deep nurturing and loving care, a foundation of fathering energy far more conducive to behavioural changes than being told off, harshly disciplined or feeling down-right scared.
Being a father can truly be a joy! An intimate relationship that checks in with the child, never about just time spent together, but about the quality, a deep and genuine interest in the child – meaningful, not instructional conversations. Yes, you can tell a child to tie their shoes, get ready for bed, and clean their teeth, but exploring their being, not their doing, how they feel and what is important to them is what matters.
It can also be deeply healing for the man willing to observe those times where his child triggers his own childhood hurts. This of course requires absolute honesty and can leave a man feeling vulnerable, not a position any of us men find comfortable – but consider the healing on offer from exposing/nominating that which hurt us, as we see reflected in the innocence of our child our own innocent light that was switched off. And from that, freed from those repressed traumas, how much more love we then have to offer as the father – as a role model.
“If a man were to truly love his daughter, that is, by showing in full his affection and deeply caring nature, she will not ever let a lesser way of being marry her”Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings and Revelations, Volume I, ed 1, p 563
“If a man loves his son and allows him to be just like he is on the inside, the son will grow-up to ignite the world with love”Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings and Revelations, Volume I, ed 1, p 564
Not held by ideals of what a strong father is, the father can show his sensitive nature and have tenderness on display. This man is present, doesn’t have expectations of his children to be a certain way, or locked into ideals of having to be a certain type of person for his children. A sounding board, not giving only one way, not imposing of his outlook, equal to the young souls in his care.
It’s fatherhood without those harmful masculine traits. Present, listening, asking questions that matter – confirming your children to the hilt. Intimacy, love, connection – the joy of being a father whatever parenting you received.
‘Just wait til’ your father gets home’ – he's got so much love to give!