Should a Father be His Son’s Friend?

by Henry Makow Ph.D. — (Revised from June 18, 2011)
I am not the world’s greatest father and I don’t expect my father to be perfect either.
He overcame many obstacles. His parents were murdered by the Nazis when he was 19. He survived the war, became a physicist and built a new life. He is 89 now. I salute him on Father’s Day.
He was always a father, never a friend. I know the view that fathers should not be friends. “It is the job of parents to see that the [societal] barriers hold,” W. Cleon Skousen writes in “So You Want to Raise a Boy?” (1958, p.232)
My father saw his role as keeping me “on track.”  Since his success was based on higher education, “on track” meant keeping me in school.
I was not allowed to get off the treadmill. Despite the fact I had written a syndicated newspaper column at age 11, he never believed in me, and my good intentions. He always treated me like a loose cannon. I must have given him reason.
After high school, I wanted to work in a mine. Then, I planned to go to an out-of-town university known for its radical leftist professors. (I was a Lefty back then.)
My father exerted great pressure, including the inducement of the old family car, to make me enroll at once at the local university.  I succumbed and fell into a depression. I only completed three of five courses with poor marks.
My spirit broken, I ended up staying at university as a kind of hospice, finally getting a Ph.D. that I have barely used.
On another occasion, I wanted to use the family cottage as a spiritual retreat, a Thoreau’s Walden Pond. Again, no deal. Get your thesis done.


Continues …

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