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- When I hear the phrase "real father", two associations arise in my head. In the first case, for some reason, one recalls the dark legacy of totalitarian regimes, when court art workers created many works on the theme of "the father of all peoples", "the leader surrounded by happy children." All this extensive "iconography" was hung on the streets and within the walls of institutions and was necessarily included in children's books and school textbooks so that the younger generation would not have doubts about who the "main father" is in the country
- Real father
- Father is not real
- What do these two associations have in common?
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When I hear the phrase "real father", two associations arise in my head. In the first case, for some reason, one recalls the dark legacy of totalitarian regimes, when court art workers created many works on the theme of "the father of all peoples", "the leader surrounded by happy children." All this extensive "iconography" was hung on the streets and within the walls of institutions and was necessarily included in children's books and school textbooks so that the younger generation would not have doubts about who the "main father" is in the country
This "main father" was all-seeing and omnipresent, stern, but fair. He was the main assistant and protector, his eyes were kind, but if something happened he could slap on the pope with a heavy hand (or send him to a concentration camp). But obedient children who honor their father and keep his commandments did not seem to be threatened by all these severities. (Or threatened? Let history judge …).
It was easy to prove one's “realness” to the “main father” - through the use of power. It was possible to give and take away, execute and have mercy, uplift and overthrow. And the more power changed the fate of people, the more they felt like helpless children, and the more they hoped for a "good dad".
Father is not real
And the second association is rather strange: if there are “real fathers”, then there must be fake, fake, fake fathers somewhere? I wonder what a fake father looks like? For some reason, the imagination draws the image of a slippery type with shifting eyes, who is diligently trying to make a good impression on others, but he is not good at it.
This is the kind of character who tries to look solid, but in the family hierarchy he takes a place just below the cat. For his wife, children and other relatives, he is virtually an empty space. Sometimes he tries to "force himself to respect" (for example, when he drinks for courage), but later this turns into even greater alienation and contempt on the part of loved ones.
What do these two associations have in common?
When we talk about "present / fake", sociocultural stereotypes and expectations come into play. In the sphere of human relations (both socio-political and interpersonal), there are no unshakable standards like “real father” (or “real man”, “real woman”, “good son”). The content of such concepts, on the one hand, is set by traditions, and on the other hand, by the individual expectations of those who are directly involved in relationships.
In ancient societies, the ruler could literally be the father to most of his fellow tribesmen. And living conditions were so difficult that only an authoritarian leadership style and "rigid paternalism" guaranteed survival. This is how the archetype of the "father-ruler" was formed, which was enshrined in almost all religions as an example of the ideal father's role in family relations.
Simply put, the patriarchal family model sets the standard according to which a “real father” is such a “king,” a leader, a ruler for his tribe (wife and children). They must completely obey him, and in return he provides them with food and shelter, gives them protection. He establishes the "laws" by which the family lives, and in case of disobedience, he has the right to punish those who disobey.
But the problem is that the world has changed … The patriarchal model of the family is still the most widespread in the world, but society is steadily moving towards equality. In ancient times, a "real father" ensured the economic security of his children, but now a working single mother can do it. The "real father" taught his children the craft, and now the education system does it. In addition, modern society increasingly interferes with the institution of the family, defending the equal rights of women with men and upholding the rights of the child.
The family becomes egalitarian; it is a collaboration of equals, not a savage tribe where a "strong" leader takes care of "weak" children and women
In the light of modern trends, the role of the "real father" is set not so much by traditions as by expectations that arise and are either justified or not in relations between specific people. These expectations are taken from our personal experience (communication with our real father in the past), plus collective corrections on what can be improved.
Different people (husband and wife) will have different images of a “real father”. This can lead to role conflicts, which unfold according to the principle: "If you do not correspond to my ideas about a real father, then you are not a real father!"
The tougher everyone defends their vision, the higher the intensity of passions, the higher the risk of family breakup, and the less children receive real attention and care from their father
Paradoxically, it turns out that the more a man is involved in discussions about how "a real father" he is, the more he falls out of real communications with his children. And thus it becomes "fake" for them.
Perhaps the very idea of "real fatherhood" should be left for study by historians, sociologists and cultural scientists. Let them summarize the data and deduce some principles and attributes of the "real father". And we, men, just need to live: communicate more with our children, help them grow and develop, support them emotionally, have common interests and common affairs with them, allow us to be independent and strong. And to do all this calmly and kindly, without violence and attempts to demonstrate to the child "who is in charge in the house." Perhaps it will be "real".