Almost 100 percent of men who are in jail had a bad relationship with their fathers. Many boys complain that they do not speak often with their dads. Something happens during the developmental years between a father and his sons.
Consider the old poem: “What are little boys made of? Snips, snails and puppy-dogs’ tails. That’s what little boys are made of. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of.” Obviously, little boys don’t get very good publicity. My mother read that poem to me when I was a child. I thought it was rather unfair. Now I know that it is prejudice. Perhaps the smell defined us. Little girls always smell better. Playing marbles and coming home with torn blue jeans filled with dirt didn’t quite set the tone for a successful future. Seemed like the girls got away with more, just by crying. But that depends on who you ask. Boys cried too. Yet, we’ve all heard the saying, “Big boys don’t cry.” Then came the song, “Big girls don’t cry.” All things being equal, especially in the realm of emotion. No one has a monopoly on tears. Can we say that little boys grow closer to their mothers? Can we say that little girls grow closer to their fathers? Thus, the titles: “Mama’s boy.” “Daddy’s girl.” Must be some truth in the words. Mothers seem to have less difficulty in expressing their feelings toward their children than fathers. Men historically are the hunters, the protectors, the providers; while women are the caregivers, the cooks, the ones who care for the children. While most men were busy earning a living, women stayed home. The picture has changed drastically. Both parents must work in order to sustain a typical household. The children are raised by a relative or daycare center.
The reality has caused even greater stress in what was already an endangered prototype. The tension between father and son is written all over the Hebrew Scriptures, with echoes in the New Testament. However, Jesus brought clarity when He said, “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Speaks of perfect intimacy. Like Father, like Son. Not only do they resemble each other, they are of one mind. Think of how different our world would be if families were of one mind—if families would just get along. Police are kept so busy with family disputes, violence, abusive behavior. We often look for a target. Someone must be responsible. The man’s fault—the woman’s fault.
There are characteristics that both men and women can possess. Both can be bossy, and domineering and unfair. Neither is better, just different. For example, no one can take the place of a father, no one. As much as the Lord loved His Mama, He does not speak about Her with the endearing terms that He used for His Father. Because that’s why He came—to accomplish the will of His Father. Jesus knew the troubles that we were going to face. Which is why He invites us, come to me, all you who have had it with your families. All you who are ready to give up! Those among you who hold grudges and refuse to forgive. Come to me and I will show you a better way. A way out of the madness. Be meek and humble of heart, just like I am. “Learn from me,” Jesus says. “Be like me.” We want to be like the Lord in charity, starting at home. Home is the most difficult place to be like Christ. Our expectations are often unrealistic, especially between a father and son. Parents fail to realize that they are looking at a mirror. History repeats itself. Yes, there is a generation gap and all sorts of excuses. None can justify lack of communication. Talking is part of the healing. Families must continue to dialogue with each other. Where love abides there is always hope.
To be meek and humble of heart means that we are willing to forgive. With forgiveness everything is possible.