Tag Archive for 'mothers'

A father’s tough love is the harder job

This is Jim’s traditional Father’s Day column.

As the father of an adult daughter and son, plus the grandfather of four knucklehead boys (Hurricane, Tornado, Crash and Train Wreck), I’ve learned some things about love.

All the hours logged as Dad and Poppy have often caused me to contemplate how different are the roles of mother and father, especially in the overt demonstration of parental love.  It’s fascinating how the manifestation of this love differs between mother and father-biologically, emotionally and experientially.

A mother’s love, at once sweet and fierce, is observed in almost all animals, not just humans. No doubt you’ve heard this metaphor: “… as sweet as a mother’s love,” and this warning: “Don’t get between a momma bear and her cub.” I have been a witness to, and the recipient of this kind of love, and there truly is no other force in nature like it.

But it troubles me that there are no corresponding sweet references to a father’s love. In fact, a human father’s love is more often associated with unfortunate references such as, “tough” and “discipline.” And here’s a warning no one has ever heard: “Just wait ’till your mother gets home!”

Could this be why Father’s Day is not quite as big a deal as Mother’s Day? I’m just saying …

Mothers occupy the pinnacle of parental love-with justification. And not to take anything away from them, but let’s be honest: since a mother’s sweet love is as primal as the miracle of birth, they don’t have to work too hard to deliver it. But there is a uniqueness about a father’s love that deserves a better rap. Here why:

Unlike a mother’s sweet love, a father’s tough love does not exist outside of homo sapiens.

When a father’s parental toughness is required, especially when applied to an indignant recipient (read: teenager), it requires a love that has found the courage to endure a negative response and a willingness to defer gratification-sometimes for years.

No one is more keenly aware of the distinction between the application of these two demonstrations of love than a single parent (especially a single mom), where both kinds are required of the same person, perhaps within minutes.

Mothers, please forgive any paternal bias you may detect, but here is my conclusion about parental love: The only force in the universe that comes close to a mother’s sweet love is a father’s tough love. But the latter is the harder job, and the return on investment almost always takes longer.

Write this on a rock … Happy Father’s Day, Dads. You’ve earned it.

RESULTS: With Mother’s Day coming up, how much did your mother influence your life?

The Question:

With Mother’s Day coming up, how much did your mother influence your life?

24% - My mother was the most influential parent in my life.
54% - My mother was very influential in my life.

16% - My mother was only somewhat influential in my life.
5% - My mother was not a factor in my life.

Jim’s Comments:

It was good to see that almost eight-of-ten of our sample were significantly influenced by their mothers.

I used that word - influence - on purpose in this week’s question about our mothers. I’ve never doubted my mother’s abundant love, which obviously influenced my life. But some of the ways she influenced me was how she showed up, her work ethic, and specific times when love wasn’t exactly in my definition of how she was “influencing” me, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Happy Mothers Day to those who gave us life, and loved us even when we weren’t loveable. And happy Mothers Day to those who aren’t our biological mothers, but chose to love and care about us anyway. In addition to my mother, Virginia, who just turned 91, this week I’m also thinking about three aunts who were nothing less than my guardian angels - Kathleen, Reba and Addie - who now are real angels.




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