This is a corresponding post for “All The Loving Mothers” written on Mother’s day in May.
Laid Back Fathers
Laid back fathers are usually nice and fun loving, leaving most of the domestic decisions to their spouses. They will step up to take charge when their wife nag them to. However sometimes they can show hidden abilities that surprise everybody. I knew a couple who invited people over for dinner (about one or two weeks prior) but then completely forgot about it due to other occurrences in the weekend. When the guests showed up at the door, the wife was completely panicky since she didn’t prepare a thing. The husband, who’s very laid back and passive most of the times, suddenly stepped up. In one hour, he defrosted meats, cut vegetables, cooked on four cooktop with seafood pancakes, soup, stew, and stir-fry all sizzling and steaming at the same time. Everybody was surprised to see he is such an able person.
These fathers work very hard and don’t talk much. If the wife is not too indulgent towards the son, the son will naturally learn from the father and become diligent too. I know W whose sister comes to visit her at upstate New York every year, usually with the son in tow. The sister’s husband stays the entire summer at Hong Kong laboring at a financial company. He’s a workaholic and it is said that vacations don’t even make him happy.
At least two of my childhood friends have strict fathers and nobody dared to visit them at home, for fear of meeting the non-smiling fathers. One of my friends G who’s very pretty and vivacious. I like G even if we fought when we first met. However her father was some kind of government official and it’s rumored that he is very strict about how things should be done and how everybody should behave. We always asked G if her father was in before we went to play in her spacious home.
My best friend in high school P had such a father and I was so jealous. Her father can cook, clean, knit shawls, purchase goods in a better way than housewives, do budget. He does everything. And he is interested in people and he can talk with anybody he met. He’s also so clever and always wants to learn new things.
Whenever my friend had homework problems, her father would be eager to jump in. Actually high school homework is not that easy to do and many adults couldn’t remember their high school material anymore. P’s father had forgotten a lot too. But it didn’t matter he remembered the math formula or physics theory, his willingness to help really impressed me.
Among all the fathers, these are the most inspiring. They have opinions different from others; they behave unlike their friends and they are not afraid; they voice their opinions and are interested in exchanging opinions with others.
I read “Let Love Have The Last Word” and I was very impressed with the author Common’s stories about his relation with his daughter. Usually when a father is estranged from his children, he moves on to other women to create new families. The previous relationship is no longer in his view anymore, but Common is different. He makes great effort to build up relationship with his daughter despite the scathing remarks from his teenager daughter. He is such a good father and a good person too. I know some selfish authoritarian parents cannot tolerate one undesirable word–no matter the context and no matter the innocuous intention–from their children and such parents really need to learn something from Common.