Happy Father’s Day!

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Happy father’s Day!

Father’s don’t seem to get the same cultural appreciation Mom’s do, it may be that mother/baby bonding. But Daddies are very important.

My own Father died a few years ago. I love him, and it’s a big deal to say that because He abused me as a kid. For father’s day I suppose what I can do is help explain how I love the man that abused me, because I’m not alone. Many people have awkward relationships with their Dads.

In Buddhism, there’s the story of the man that meets his parents, and he cuts them down (with a sword, this is a Japanese Buddhist story), then the man meets a Priest – and he cuts the priest down! Finally, the man meets the Buddha – and the man cuts the Buddha down!

It seems a rather violent anecdote, and senseless even, at first. But the cutting down is not literal, at the same time it is on point metaphorically!

Let me explain. For most children parents are not people, they assume a significance greater than that of simple people – they are PARENTS, they have AUTHORITY! And this sense of who your Mother and Father are, this can endure into adulthood. But for many people, who their parents were for them as children, their parents are NOT that for them as adults. They are simple people, not better or different from other people, except that they gave you birth. And when you accept your parents as people little different from yourself except older – you have CUT THEM DOWN – as in their role as parents with authority – that role has been destroyed.

And so it is with the rest of that violent anecdote – as the man becomes adept at his Buddhism, the Priest loses his specialness and becomes simply another person – and when the man achieves enlightenment – even the Buddha is no longer the Buddha – but just another person.

The gift I hope to share is this. Your dad is just a person, with strengths and weaknesses. I hated my Dad when I was a child, and his abuse of me was real. But as an adult I understand that he loved me and that in his weakness and ignorance he raised me as well as he could, even if the best he could was abusive.

Gender roles traditionally saddle Dads with the ‘bad cop’ role, they enforce parental authority. That’s another reason Dads aren’t beloved culturally as Moms are. But the Dad that is there to raise his child, it’s no longer something to take for granted. And almost all dads really do love their children, deeply. And if you know you love your Dad, that’s great because it means you love yourself! And if you don’t know if you love your Dad, you likely cannot know that you love yourself either.

As a child it’s important to improve on the previous generation. My Dad has passed, but from him I can learn from his mistakes. I don’t have to be abusive, I know to own my faults, I know that it is important to be honest about what I do not know. In my life I can address the problems that plagued my Father, and his experience I can learn from to not make the same mistakes.

Happy Father’s Dad! May you rest in peace! I’m going to be alright!


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