We didn’t learn how to be sons from books or YouTube clips. We learned it through trial and error, rebellion, apology, some tears, maybe an awkward hug or two and a whole bunch of lies.
And still some of us are no good at it.
Some of our Dads figured out fatherhood even without knowing how to be sons. Some of our brothers were ok brothers whilst being terrible sons and our sisters…. they were the worst of the lot. Attention grabbing successful and intelligent whilst we played the perfect role as black sheep and ‘creatives’. Which is a nice buzz word for… ‘I’m not sure what he does’.
We didn’t learn how to be sons because there’s a cookie cutter perfect standard. I never had to pull Dad back from jumping. I never copped abuse, I never lacked anything. So it should have been easy for me to be a perfect son right? I didn’t even have much to rebel against. I had to get super ‘creative’.
Some of our Dads were children. Some of our mums had to be dads and some of our dads were the reason we could never be dads because we would never want to fail humanity like ours did. Some of our brothers were the front-runners to failure so we didnt have to. And others of our brothers were and still are the shining light. Some of our sisters needed to be brothers and some of us were sisters and mothers, but how do we really become good sons?
We didn’t learn how to be sons from our best friends. Some of them were terrible sons with terrible dads. And some of them were strangely awkward sons with awesome dads. Thats why we wanted to play football in their back yard. Some of our best friends even became our dads. Like when Mitchell Brown told some of us what sex was even before we really understood all the other words he was using. We learned some things about being sons from pseudo dads. Our teachers, our coaches, our pastors, our short-lived driving instructors. Our rebellion against these ‘Dads’ needed to be limited. As was some of our behaviour towards cops. But others of us only had policemen and women as dads. And they did the best job they could.
I learned most of my sonship in cars after hockey games I had played rubbish in. Or moments around the kitchen table rolling my eyes at something said that I wouldn’t understand till later. Or moments of laziness where Dad would subtly point out the purpose of vacuuming wasnt just because it sounded cool. It was more a visual thing. But in my third decade I am learning all of my son skills through stories and four words that quickly reduce me to overwhelming tears. (Of course later when no ones looking… sons don’t cry in front of dads.)
‘I’m proud of you’.
It’s never been a secret that my Dad loves me. It’s never been a secret that Dad was proud of me when on a hockey field I would assist goals even if I never scored any. But as I have lived a non traditional ‘creative’, unexplainable to hs friends life – those four words have kept me sonning it up. Kept me repping the Randall name pretty well. Kept me running after some pretty strange goals. Because my Dad is proud of me.
So where do we learn to be sons? In a secure, well backed relationship. In risked adventure followed by occasional band aid application and feedback.
On mountain tops. In valleys. With a temporary ‘Dad’ or an eternal one. Sonship is experienced and grown.
‘This is my Son, he’s a good bloke. I like how he turned out’