While I was at the “I can do it Toronto” conference last May, I participated in a group meditation where we were asked to clear our minds and to try to remember a happy moment from our childhood. It took me back to a memory of my father sitting on the floor, his back against the couch, allowing my sister and me to hop over his head and slide down his chest. My dad!!!
Always having considered my relationship with my father to be of a more respectful nature, rather than a loving one, how could I explain that this specific memory, above all others, made its way to the surface? And where was my mother in all this, the one I loved so dearly? Which leads me to ponder: Can we love one parent more than the other, or do we simply love them differently? I will surely need to dwell deeper on this question, perhaps at a later time.
Subsequently, we were asked to recall a more recent happy memory. And to my surprise I was instantly transported to the time where Alexandre (my son), then 3 years old, proudly wearing his toy construction helmet was helping me build a wooden patio. It made me wonder, why I recalled these two memories in particular, both associated with fatherhood.
It’s in this moment that I understood the importance I attached to the paternal role as well as when I finally realized that I truly loved my father. Even more so, I realized that my father had been an exemplary role model, helping shape me into a good father myself (at least I consider it to be so, but to be certain you would need to ask my children). I also understood that my father, in his way, constrained by the mores of his time, could not have been other than he was. My father was therefore the best of teachers and succeeded in passing on to me everything he meant to.
So can I blame my father for having preached out of an excess of love, if it was the only way he knew how? Can I reproach him for having been excessively overprotective of his family knowing that he accomplished merely what came to him naturally? Considering the times in which he lived in, I must recognize that he did his best and much more! He was actively invested in the lives of his children, more so than most men of his time.
So like him, who was probably better than his father, I think that in turn, I might have surpassed him just by being who I am and even more so due to the times in which I get to evolve. And all this, in large part thanks to him. Therefore, I can only hope that my son Alexandre continues on the same path and eventually comes to surpass his teachers.
So dad, despite the fact that you left us in 2011, I thank you for everything that you have taught me and on this day, June 19, 2016, I wish you a happy Father’s Day, wherever you may be. Thank you for everything… I love you!
And to all fathers out there reading this, rejoice in knowing that, just like my father and me, you can’t be anything but the best father you can be and that in itself is a privilege. Fatherhood is a privilege and many responsibilities come along with it, but most importantly, it brings a great sense of pride. So to all of you fathers out there, I wish you a happy Father’s Day.
Finally, to my two precious kids who have become adults, thank you for the privilege of still letting me be involved in your lives and allowing me to share fatherly wisdom. It’s the most beautiful gift you can give me.
© 2016, Jacques Dufort. All rights reserved.