We had the best start in life – a proper Dad

From the Guardian via Men’s Rights Reddit:

We had the best start in life – a proper Dad

In February last year my father died after having a massive stroke at the wheel of his car. David was 86 and his death, while deeply sad, was not entirely unexpected. He was an elderly man, increasingly frail – and it had been a bone-hard winter. When my husband, Tim, died seven years ago, it was a different matter. He was in his prime – only 47 – and he left a young daughter behind him. Molly, at 11, was still a child when she lost her father; I was in my 50s when I lost mine. The two events are incomparable in magnitude, yet the impact of each death has been profound. It has left me wondering about the deep bond between dads and their girls. For when the connection is a healthy one, the gift of the father – while he lives and after he is gone – is precious indeed. (Continued here)

Get yourself enough tissue, fathers and daughters!

After reading and crying, we might have a proper look at the story and realize we are educated right in the headline:

Never forget, there are two kinds of fathers, proper and improper ones! Or rather, the usual improper ones and a handful of proper. Relatively speaking, of course, because who could imagine a father who is just proper without contamination by improper traits? Or, in other terms, there are fathers who establish the usual unhealthy connection to their daughters and a handful exceptional ones who create a healthy one.

For when the connection is a healthy one, the gift of the father – while he lives and after he is gone – is precious indeed.

So the headline has the implied subtext: The two of us were lucky that we were spared the ordinary scum posing as fathers. Therefore it is worthwile to write the article, in order to remind the world of women that there need not necessarily be scumbags around a girl’s house of childhood. Given that the mother makes a decent choice of sperm-donor and income-provider.

And what is the deficiency of her father she is eager to present?

David was an educated, but rather traditional northern male.

Oh, gosh! How could the family put up with such a drag? A traditional male! Yuck! And a northern breed! Aren’t those said to be really hard to train? Yes, he even resisted the basic gender-equality education. Obviously he was spoilt by his mother. And his sister. Not even wife and daughter in unisono could retrain him effectively. Take heed, mothers! Do not wait on your sons, or you procure trouble for your daughter-in-law! Plus your granddaughter. He won’t even pee sitting.

Fortunately the daughter listened to the mother’s complaints and chose an unspoilt, well trained non-traditional southern male. With whom she was the one who could act the traditional northern male, somehow untalented to muster an efficiency in cooking, cleaning and changing nappies comparable to his. But not because she was spoilt by her mother,

over-attached, emotionally charged and furiously hard-working, providing a tireless stream of clean clothes, cooked meals, discipline and intelligence.

Isn’t the stream of nappies missing? Anyway, she had her mother and herself recompensed in having her husband act the provider of the tireless stream. Now that I mention the word, does anyone notice that she never calls him such? He is “the man I married” or Tim or her daughter’s dad. A strange estranged way of telling the story, like a behavior analysis of an ethologist. There is not one word of love from the side of either the woman or the daughter. The mother’s father is said to have adored his wife, and both of the two fathers of the story are said to have demonstrated, not even given, love to the daughters.

Fathers are the providers, the procurers of what the daughters can make good use of for their sense of self:

What we share, my daughter and I, is a deep down sense of self, one that comes from having known, right at the start of our lives, the unconditional love of a good and a loyal man. A proper dad.

If they have or show unconditional love they are to be called a proper tool for the daughter’s use. Because the fundamental question posed above is: What are fathers good for? No, not in the all too obviously demeaning, instrumentalizing wording. That would be rather unsophisticated, would it not?

What is a father for? What is his role, his special contribution? There are as many answers to that, of course, as there are fathers.

Can you, for heaven’s sake, imagine the same sentences about mothers? A father has no obvious general use, she precludes as common understanding. Even before that: One has to ask the question of a fathers use, a hair’s width short of asking for his justification for being part of the family, another hair’s width short of asking for the justification of the term “father” in comparison to sperm-donor or impregnator.

And then, take note of the frivolousness of the answer! There is no selfexplicatory role of a father, she says. He is, after all, merely a contributor. As we are supposed to know, the family consists of the mother and her children. And as one would never ask: What is a child for? What is its role, its special contribution? Such as we would never respond by: There are as many answers to this, of course, as there are children. In the same way we never come across the idea to ask: What is a mother for?

Unless we are explicitly conducting a psychological analysis within which the question served as a rhetoric introduction in order to position ourselves as primarily unknowing and methodically neglecting common sense, for the gain of fundamental freedom to observe the matter at hand with an unprejudiced mind.

Even if the author meant her style of approaching her family’s story of the importance of fathers for daughters in a similar way, how come she seems unaware of the scientific coldness, the alienating heartlessness of such an approach in a daily paper under the categories of lifestyle and of family?

Well, look at her defiant chin and her guarded eyes, the schizoid expression of a distinct retractive off-ness! To appeal to the readers emotional intelligence and empathic sensitivity. Which is not said here in the purpose to demean the author but to understand the article.

Can’t you immediately feel and imagine how little chance a husband of hers would have to relate to her heart to heart? What else but take on her domination and pour out his love and playfulness towards their daughter where reciprocity is happening naturally. The alternative would be to leave her and look for a woman with an open heart. But who, in command of his empathy and love would leave his little child? What would result because such a dragon as mother would not ever allow the continuation of the closeness and intimacy between father and daughter outside of her control. Can you see perhaps what a violation of the daughter’s personal integrity it is to not only write about her relationship and similarity to her passed on father but to put a picture of her out to the public? Can you see the embarrassment and the resignation in the daughter’s smile opposed to the triumph in the mother’s?

For those interested in psychology, David could defend his autonomy against Kathleens trials of domination only because he was the sole breadwinner. Tim had to comply with Barney’s (what a name for a woman!) – and as I said, for psychological purposes of understanding family dynamics only – “Ssh. Don’t tell Mum” tells it all. Going into the position of the older brother of his daughter. Siblings in conspiration against their mother’s authority.

And David? Basically the same toward the daughter, but different toward his wife. Staying outside of her realm, as observer and commenter:

His cool, often comic refereeing from the sidelines acted as oil on her sometimes turbulent waters.

Why mention these bits of psychological commentary? Because it is paradigmatic for the submission of fathers under the rule of mothers from one generation to the next due to the loss of man’s role as the sole provider of income. Which is connected to the decrease in the number of children, in this case from 3 to 1, paradigmatic in itself.

And what about the death of the father when the daughter was 11 years old? Nothing can be said in proper regard to the family presented by the author, to be clear about that. But taken as an abstract symbolic image, the father as psychological instrument for the daughter’s building of a secure sense of self, which actually is the topic of the article, his work and function was accomplished. So he was not needed any longer. And he left.

So, independent of the actual family and their dynamics, let us cry together! Fathers and daughters! And let us be happy and grateful that the daughters do, actually, albeit as if miraculously, carry on the legacy of the father’s loving heart and faithful spirit.


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