Fathers within the culture have a significant place not only in the home but in the community. That goes for the immediate community and the community at large as well. When you think of a father, do you think of fathers from the past, fathers of the present, fathers of your neighbors, fathers that are relatable, fathers whom you admire, fathers with whom you disagree?
I mention your neighbors because aren’t we making comparisons? Fathers can be described in many ways. Fathers may or may not be justified in their behavior and their decisions. That goes for a father’s choice of a bride, whom he chooses to have children with. These are decisions he made to further his future and the future of many generations.
These men had all sorts of choices to pave a foundation for themselves as well as their family members. Travel, occupation, economic choices, and education are decisions that our fathers typically make. The different options, though similar, are very different. Men from all walks of life are given the same path to walk and create a journey that is inscribed for their own personal benefit.
An example of this dates back generations. Let’s look at our grandfather’s grandfather, his wife, and his life choices. If we think about that man and that woman, if we think about the children and from them and who you are as that seed from that consummation, you can question the links that are strongest, the links that bought you here, and of course those links that possibly caused some adversity for you today because of your father’s choices.
Generally speaking, these men like our grandfathers have been looked upon as good men. Men from different generations where there was a different standard way of living. These are men who work, men who are skilled and dedicated to being a provider for their family.
However, do you find yourself in some form of admiration for a man who is not in agreement with the idea of family responsibility? The type of man who is promiscuous, the man who wants no part of staying home with wife and child but rather have a more luxurious lifestyle of cultural progress, establishment and boundaries. Where do you find yourself in this conversation?
As children we learn, we grow. We love and we begin to understand what it is in our parents that we agree or disagree with. We may say to ourselves, “Well I really like this about my father,” or “My father is a good man.” Sometimes we say other things such as, “I’m not sure if I agree with my father,” or “My father has disappointed me.”
For myself personally, when I was a child I wanted the type of father that serves the best for a progressive community, the type of father that took ownership of his family and took heavy responsibilities tangibly and intangibly. There’s a focus on tangibles which I would say are important. One of them being conversations. Conversations with other people can be good. You have to be a listener as well as be able to pay attention to what it is that someone is trusting in you with.
To empathize and to share emotions of someone’s trusted words is something we embrace with fathers. In return, an opportunity to speak, to share in words your own trusted vocabulary expected for love to be given in regards to what you have to say. The same can be said in the relationship between father and child, for the intangibles are equally important as the tangibles.
Providing positive nourishment for the child is respected from a place of love, compassion, and empathy. Fatherhood is shaped so differently, isn’t it? What would you say is the definition of fatherhood? How would you characterize the relationship of being a man who has children? What are his duties, what are his steps, and what behavior is he presenting before the community?
Dennis Freeman Jr. is a photojournalist and a contributing writer. His portfolio includes shooting images for Sacramento City College and writing sports commentary. Dennis is a native of the Bay Area and resides currently in San Francisco, California.