G-Poppers… June 19th, 2015

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G-Pop’s youngest son asked him, “What was your dad like?”

G-Pop took a long pause. He realized that often in his conversations of discussing his childhood and his relationship with his father, he was not very generous. Maybe it’s the lot of all children–to simultaneously be offended by parents while also defending them out of tradition and respect. G-Pop wanted to be honest with his son, but not overly critical.

“My dad was like all dads in the sense that he wasn’t prepared to be a dad, but was frightened to admit that. For after all, the word ‘dad’ begins with ‘da.’ Nobody knows how to do it. Most men don’t plan much beyond their orgasm. So it’s rather remarkable that the male of our species was actually able to come up with a rendition of fatherhood that is passable enough that all the children on the earth are not permanently damaged.

My dad was quiet, somewhat self-involved, but deep in his heart wanted to be closer to his sons. But by the time he ended up with five of them, he was pretty well overwhelmed and decided to kick into survival mode. So he had favorites. And even though that sounds terrible, we are human beings and we do tend to favor one thing over another.

He also was older. He was gazing at his 50th birthday when I was born. Now that I’ve reached that age, I realize how terrified he must have been to start all over again with a new bambino. So he did what he could.

I don’t think he was always happy with my mother. One of the things that men need to realize is that children often evaluate Father based on how much Dad loves Mom. So I give him a pass. Not because he’s dead and gone and I want to speak good of his departing spirit, but because now that I’ve become a father, I realize the job is ill-suited to humans–especially men. Yet it is our job.”

G-Pop’s son sat and listened patiently and intently. There was a question brewing.

“So what does it mean to be a good dad?”

“There are three things that are involved in being a good dad–a trio of needs that every child has,” said G-Pop. “First, love the me you see. Secondly, work with the child–meek or wild; and finally, pray for the one he or she will become.

Yes, every kid born needs to believe they are loved–if not unconditionally, then mercifully. But every child needs to be worked with. Nobody comes out of the womb with any idea of what to do. And then, somewhere along the line, when they become adults, you need to pray for them, knowing that the work is done and most of the love they require will come from other sources.

It’s not that we ever stop loving our children–it’s just that our love will never be the only love they require. Instead, they need to become lovers and parents.

So you love, you work and you pray. You put each one in the right season, and then, finally, you hope that by some miracle all your mediocre efforts will pan out.”

G-Pop’s son nodded his head and smiled.

G-Pop felt good about the fact that he understood his dad’s weaknesses and had tried to improve upon them. But he did comprehend that his dad didn’t have much of a chance to find ways to be better.

Fatherhood is not a natural happening because one is a man with a sexual appetite. Fatherhood is finding the piece of God breathed within, mingling it with virility and adding the more gentle parts of the woman–in order to create a workable and helpful teacher.

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