Fathers and Sons

By: Mark Brandenburg Ma, Cpcc

As a personal coach for men and the publisher of a
newsletter, I’m sometimes blessed with personal
stories from readers that touch my heart. This
story sent in from a father helped me to remember
why I’m doing what I do. I’d like to share it with
you:

“As a father of two teens, I've enjoyed your
insight on fatherhood. I was raised in a loving
family environment, but just as you indicated, my
father was the primary breadwinner and the
"backbone" of the family, not an emotional type.
As a child, I never saw him cry or appear weak,
nor did he ever utter the words "I love you". It
was just not in his vocabulary, though I never
doubted his love for any of us.

It was not until his last hours on this earth,
nearly 9 years ago, that I saw him cry for the
first time. Suffering from the side effects of
leukemia, I was visiting him in his hospital room.

As I sat on the side of his bed feeding him ice
chips and jello cubes by spoon, it occurred to me
that we had reversed roles.

He was no longer
caring for my needs, but I was there to help him
with a basic need.

We talked about things that we'd never discussed
previously and as I was preparing to return home
to my family for the night, I turned to him and
said "I love you". He smiled and nodded his
approval as I exited his room for the last time.

Unfortunately, he'd been experiencing internal
bleeding, though he never complained or mentioned
it to me, and he expired some three hours after I
left.

I feel fortunate to have spent those last hours with
him and that I could express my love to him, though I
felt out of character in doing it. I only wish that it had
occurred years earlier.

As a father myself, I’ve broken the male mold. I
freely express my love not only for my wife but for
each of my children. Rarely does a day pass that I
don't talk with my kids, always ending the conversation
with an "I love you".

I'll be the first to admit that life is not always a
bed of roses, and that developing strong family ties
requires patience and perseverance. But I’m incredibly
proud of the family relationships that we've developed
and nurtured in our children."

Millions of today’s fathers grew up with fathers
who were unable to express their love directly.
And yet so many of these fathers have been able to
express their love to their own children.

They’ve done it because they know the pain of not
receiving that love. They know how absolutely
vital their expression of love and acceptance is
for their kids. And they’ve moved past the discomfort
of expressing their love for their kids so that they
may thrive.

This is an acknowledgement to the courage of all
the fathers who have "broken the mold."

If our world is to change, it won’t be without
love from our fathers.

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