Fathers / Sons

A weekend seminar for men who want to strengthen their fatherly qualities.

The spirit of the father, together with the father/son dynamic, are the focal points of this seminar. Participants will get to test and strengthen their fatherly qualities, especially their capacity to direct and generate, and to exercise their power of vision.

Who or what is the father?

“The parent is a caretaker,” I tell those family men who ask me this question, “but the father is a voice.”

A man without a connection to the father and his authority will have a hard time getting anyone to listen to him. He will have to shout in order to be heard. He will resort to making threats or using physical force to get his way.

You can question the father’s judgement, but never his authority.

The power of the father is the power to bless or to condemn (a man’s propensity to curse is a bastard offspring of the latter power); to call or command a thing into being; speaking to get things done. With the father, it’s never a plea, never a conversation or debate. “Don’t make me say it twice,” says the parent to the recalcitrant child. Thus speaks the father.

No one has more to give in terms of guidance, support, and strength than the father, but no one has more to ask of you either — as any person’s death for the sake of a military leader and his cause makes poignantly clear. “Father, father, why have you forsaken me?” cries the biblical Jesus in the final hour of his agony. The father will support you in fulfilling your destiny, but don’t expect him to save you from your fate.

Part of a son’s legacy from his father can be to live out what his father, for one reason or another — caution, cowardice, moral principle or just plain good sense — has chosen not to. What you don’t or can’t actualize, your children will. As someone once told me, “There is all this potential in you. It does or doesn’t get expressed, and then, lo and behold, there it is, coming out in your children.”

In Margot Livesey’s novel, Criminals, a decent young banker lies to an investigative authority to protect the female colleague he has fallen in love with. “Whatever the cost, he was committed to mendacity …” she writes. The knowledge overwhelms him with pain. “Some small but essential organ had been cut out of him. He was no longer his father’s son.”