Fathering, pt. 82

I came across this quote from Cheryl Strayed’s latest, Wild:

“The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.”

I don’t usually hold with the idea that there is a necessary role for a mother or father to fill. I know enough families that break the molds: two dads, two moms, stay-at-home dads who give everything for their kids while their wives pour themselves into work. At the same time, I think this may be right. The mother provides the safe haven, the place that children come back to. The confidence from the father is to help the children set forth bravely into their futures.

And that’s the rub. In the story I’m writing, the fathers have failed at that, even though many have done it themselves. I’m not sure why or how but it’s clear the gaping hole is there. I suppose I will learn as the characters slowly reveal themselves to me.

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