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robertogreco : fathers   5

The centripetal force of life
"I don't quite know what I'm doing to myself these days. Last night was an episode of The Americans in which a marriage was ending, another family was trying to keep itself intact, and a young boy struggles to move on after his entire family dies. This morning, I watched an episode of Mad Men in which a mother tries to reconcile her differences with her daughter in the face of impending separation. And then, the absolute cake topper, a story by Matthew Teague [http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/a34905/matthew-teague-wife-cancer-essay/ ] that absolutely wrecked me. It's about his cancer-stricken wife and the friend who comes and rescues an entire family, which is perhaps the truest and most direct thing I've ever read about cancer and death and love and friendship.
Since we had met, when she was still a teenager, I had loved her with my whole self. Only now can I look back on the fullness of our affection; at the time I could see nothing but one wound at a time, a hole the size of a dime, into which I needed to pack a fistful of material. Love wasn't something I felt anymore. It was just something I did. When I finished, I would lie next to her and use sterile cotton balls to soak up her tears. When she finally slept, I would slip out of bed and go into our closet, the most isolated room in the house. Inside, I would wrap a blanket around my head, stuff it into my mouth, lie down and bury my head in a pile of dirty clothes, and scream.

There are very specific parts of all those stories that I identify with. I struggle with friendship. And with family. I worry about my children, about my relationships with them. I worry about being a good parent, about being a good parenting partner with their mom. How much of me do I really want to impart to them? I want them to be better than me, but I can't tell them or show them how to do that because I'm me. I took my best shot at being better and me is all I came up with. What if I'm just giving them the bad parts, without even realizing it? God, this is way too much for a Monday."
parenting  cv  fathers  jasonkottke  children  self-doubt  humans  humanness  relationships  friendships  fatherhood  families  kindness  matthewteague  death  health  cancer  marriage  selflessness  love 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Rethinking manhood — What I Learned Today — Medium
"I wasn’t quite prepared, as a father, to question the role of masculinity as I was the role of femininity. Three years ago we had a son, Herbie. It was my own short comings that led me to believe that having a boy would be easier. We (the men) are the ones with power, right? The fight against sexism, misogyny and prejudice isn’t there. How stupid am I? The battle and burden of responsibility for changing equality has to be placed on the parents of boys. What follows isn’t a well thought-out critique of gender politics, it’s heart-felt concern from a father rethinking his notion of manhood and masculinity. Here’s a few things that have triggered my growing discomfort:

Herbie is an Alpha male

It feels ridiculous to say this about a three-year old, but all signs point to the fact that he will be one of those aggressive men with iron will, self determination and dogged ambition. He’s physically strong, intellectually determined and a charming little bugger. This scares me. Now, I know it’s my job to guide and advise him in how he tackles the world and manages relationships, but sometimes I feel like King Canute — fighting against a force of nature so strong it will crush me.

Herbie loves fighting, I’ve been told that this is normal ‘boy behaviour’, but I find it quite hard to relate to. I have a vague memory of wrestling with my friends during childhood, but he’s three and relishes rough and tumble with an almost manic delight. Sometimes, I’m woken up by him at the bottom of my bed demanding; “Daddy, FIGHT ME!”. I’m not sure where this physical aggression comes from, be it baked into our genes since the time of the hunter/gather or leant through the continuous exposure of media representations. What I do know is that I’m unsure of how to direct it; how to harness the power towards doing good in the universe."



"Years ago, in conversation with the wonderful Anne Galloway, I remember her recounting stories of her enjoyment playing with Barbies as a young girl. I was shocked, as a strident feminist I’d expect a different story, maybe some regret or rejection of her younger more foolish self. But she made a brilliant point; it was what she was doing with them where role identity was constructed, the stories she told through them was the important thing.

This has stuck with me. I now try hard to shift the roles and activities that Batman and his peers engage in. It’s a great place for parents to start; the power is in the stories we tell our sons, the games that we play and the adventures that we act out. Stopping Herbie playing with his favourite Batman toys isn’t really a desirable option, I’d prefer to hijack, subvert and add sensitivity to a framework that we both love."



"We’ve had an on-going argument with Herbie about the sex of Peso Penguin. Peso is a great role model, caring, sensitive and smart. He’s a great team player, and the Octonauts medic. However, due to his rather effeminate voice Herbie is convinced Peso is a girl. It quickly became obvious to us, that the characters that go out into the wild to ‘explore, rescue and protect’ are all male. Although Tweek Bunny, the mechanic and inventor of the team, is female — GOOD WORK! — she stays behind looking after the Octopod."



"It makes me so sad that people can still be so blind to the harms of these material and marketing decisions. Each of these thoughtless material acts damage and mould, in however a tiny way, the gender roles of our future generations. We need to ensure that they are progressive and allow the space for a complex identity to be formulated."



"On return, I discussed this with my Mum, she reminded me that it was only on holiday that my dad played with us. He spent most of our lives working, distant and too tired to engage. He made up for this on holiday. Because of the novelty of his presence, we behaved like angels and relished every minute of his time. It made me realise that I was not comparing like with like. I’m a different kind of dad, more engage, more there, but because of this also more fallible. Our generation’s idea of fatherhood and masculinity are changing, we are softer, we care more, we listen and we play, all we need now is the culture to reflect this change."
mattward  parenting  boys  girls  gender  power  media  medialiteracy  genderpolitics  annegalloway  manhood  fathers  masculinity  2013 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Why Not Be Jubilant? - Lapham’s Quarterly
"The secret of success is concentrating interest in life, interest in sports and good times, interest in your studies, interest in your fellow students, interest in the small things of nature, insects, birds, flowers, leaves, etc. In other words to be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life. I do not think a young fellow should be too serious, he should be full of the Dickens some times to create a balance.

I think your philosophy on religion is okay. I think every person should think, act & believe according to the dictates of his own conscience without too much pressure from the outside. I too think there is a higher power, a supreme force, a governor, a something that controls the universe. What it is & in what form I do not know. It may be that our intellect or spirit exists in space in some other form after it parts from this body…"
interestedness  nature  balance  fathers  1928  appreciation  happiness  belief  religion  presence  noticing  wisdom  living  life  whatmatter  parenting  letters  jacksonpollock  interested 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Homeschooling For Dads - Homeschooling Information from the National Home Education Network
"Fathers whose families decide to homeschool may have a lot of questions that can perhaps be best addressed by fathers who are already homeschooling. This section of the NHEN website will provide stories by homeschooling Dads who share their experiences and their ideas. Currently there is not a lot of support for homeschooling Dads but that is starting to change."
homeschool  education  unschooling  parenting  fathers  learning 
november 2008 by robertogreco

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