From Chapter 1 of Saint Josemaría Escrivá’s book The Way: Character
Don’t argue. Arguing seldom brings light, for the light is quenched by passion.
As a father to three children I’ve learned a thing or two about parenting and fatherhood. And as my oldest is set to begin his senior year of high school before setting out into the world to make his mark I realize I’ve learned a few other things. Things boil down to “Jeez, I’ve made a million mistakes with him that I will not make with the other younger two.”
I’ve also learned the maxim stated by St. Escrivá above. Because despite the fact that he would be loathe to admit it my oldest is just about a spitting image of me mentally, emotionally, and maturity-wise when I was his age. This is probably why we so often butt heads and are at odds. And when we are at odds there is the quiet yet white hot stubborn male-ego passion that quenches all light.
Behind him comes another boy, and then my little girl. She presents a whole other list of things I’ll be learning on the fly soon enough.
And so below are a few quotes, one or two of them humorous, regarding the subject most on my mind today.
Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death, and certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting him into that predicament. But a child does owe his father a debt, if Dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it. – Clarence Budington Kelland
It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. – Johann Schiller
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. – Mark Twain, “Old Times on the Mississippi” Atlantic Monthly, 1874
Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers. – Aldous Huxley
By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong. – Charles Wadworth
There must always be a struggle between a father and son, while one aims at power and the other at independence. – Samuel Johnson
4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad’s idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.
Father, whom I murdered every night but one,
That one, when your death murdered me.
– Howard Moss, Elegy for My Father (l. 1-2)
One of the greatest things about daughters is how they adored you when they were little; how they rushed into your arms with electric delight and demanded that you watch everything they do and listen to everything they say. Those memories will help you through less joyous times when their adoration is replaced by embarrassment or annoyance and they don’t want you to see what they are doing or hear what they are saying. And yet, you will adore your daughter every day of her life, hoping to be valued again, but realizing how fortunate you were even if you only get what you already got. – Michael Josephson
Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life. – Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, ‘Daddy, I need to ask you something,’ he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan. – Garrison Keillor
Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. – Red Buttons