I’ve long been interested in helping people to heal the wounds they’ve experienced in their families of origin. Often these inflictions are unintended. They are due to a lack of mindfulness or because of the parents’ wounds that they’ve experienced through their own parents’ dysfunction. One widespread wound I’d like to address in the next few blog posts is focused on fathers. I’ll be interested to receive your comments on this important issue.
Our culture is somewhat skewed toward mothering. Most states favor mothers’ rights in custody battle over fathers’. The mass media often portray fathers as bumbling or clueless.
I have no doubt of the unique bond that exists between mother and her child. Yet the bond between a father and his child is in many ways just as powerful. But some fathers have denied this reality or have convinced themselves is not important for a variety of reasons. If otherwise, there would not be the huge number of children conceived out of wedlock in this country (some 45% of children are born to unmarried parents). Many of them are abandoned to the sole care of their mothers and are at emotional and material risk (if fathers don’t at least pay child support). In other cases circumstances prevent a father from being a constant presence in the household: divorce, work travel, military assignments.
Whether or not the father is physically present is not always the issue. What is essential is the consistent emotional connection fathers foster between them and their children. By consistent I mean ongoing—daily or weekly significant, individual, and personal connection that goes beyond a recreational activity to include mindful conversation, story-telling, sharing of experiences, helping with homework, or special projects.
By “father” we generally mean a nurturing male who take initiative and responsibility to support the child in every way possible. This may not be the child’s natural father, but someone close to the family who is not going to go away: close friend, step-father, uncle, grandfather or foster father. He must be a man who freely chooses to be actively involved in the child’s life.
“Father energy” may also include women whose dominant energy is masculine. As we explore the variety of gender and sexual identity we recognize that some women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, lead with their masculine energy (which all women possess to some degree) just as some men lead with their feminine energy (again, which all men possess to some degree). What is important is the balancing and complementarity between the male and female energies expressed by parents and other significant nurturers in the child’s life.
What are your memories of the “masculine energy” supporting you as you grew up? Do you sense a Father Wound in your experience? Where did you find it most embodied among the adults who cared for you? What is your source of masculine energy today that might be helpful in healing your Father Wound?
Contact the Man’s Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org