Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers' Day Note

Fathers and sons, maybe there's always a little tension in that relationship.  Almost all fathers are imperfect in the role; almost all children don't live up to the limitless hopes and dreams that parents have for them.  This stuff ain't easy. 

 The following is a letter that the great Michelangelo sent to his father back in long ago Florence.  I got it from a magazine called Lapham's Quarterly, which has a generous website and is always worth a look. 

Father vs. Son

Dearest Father—

I was amazed at your behavior the other day when I didn’t find you at home, and now, when I hear that you’re complaining about me and saying I turned you out, I am even more amazed; for I’m certain that never, from the day I was born till now, have I thought of doing anything, great or small, to harm you; and always all the toils I’ve endured, I’ve endured them for your sake. And since I came back to Florence from Rome, I’ve always looked after you, and you know I confirmed that all I have is yours; and indeed it’s only a few days ago, when you were ill, that I told you and promised that I would do my best never to fail you as long as I live, and this I confirm. Now I’m amazed that you’ve forgotten everything so soon. Yet you’ve tried me out these thirty years, you and your sons, and you know I’ve always thought about you and helped you whenever I could. How can you go around saying that I turned you out? Don’t you see what a reputation you’re giving me when they can say I turned you out? That’s all I needed, on top of my worries about other things, and all for your sake! A nice way you have of thanking me!

Back to Khun Fred here.  So, fathers, and sons too for that matter, are often guilty of unreasonable expectations or ingratitude.  It happens. 

Happy Fathers' Day to all of the dads out there in general, and to my own father and my sons in particular.  (One son a father already; another son aspirational at this point.)  If you did the best that you could, or if you're doing that now, your conscience is clear.  Being imperfect is not your fault.  

I hope that you had a great day!

1 comment:

fred c said...

Well I sure don't know what happened to the top text in this post, and I can't fix it either. The letter is from Michelangelo to his dad.