This is the second post in a series leading up to the European Men’s Gathering this year, which I will be posting in order to set out my thoughts on the subject. See the previous post here.
To aspire to be a father is a good thing. To become better fathers, we need to understand the father as an archetype – to abstract out the function and qualities of the father. We have already pointed out above that the father is the creator, provider, sustainer, architect. These are all elements of the father archetype. But we can simplify this even more. There is one absolutely essential element needed in the father in all of these roles – The aspiring father needs to be a role model of virtue.
What does this mean? It means that, in order to be a father, you need to figure out what virtue looks like and to develop those aspects within yourself. If you are unable to do that, and do it to a level where you are able to become a role model for others, no one will ever trust you, follow you or settle their life under your fatherly guidance.
Let’s be straight. Without virtue, you may be able to get a confused woman pregnant and thereby become a biological father. But even that is unlikely. Any woman worth anything as a mother will be very careful with what kind of man she will allow to get her pregnant. And a woman who gets herself pregnant from a man who has no value or virtue as a role model, is also likely to lack the ability to maintain a healthy family unit with you.
Why do fathers need to be role models? Well the function of the father, and what the mother is looking for, is a man to provide an example of behavior for his sons to follow in his footsteps. The sons of a good father will naturally want to be like him, to attain what he has attained. He will challenge his sons, inspire them, instruct, encourage and teach them, so that they will gain all the wisdom, insight and skills needed to attain manhood. At which point he will pass on the mantle to them, giving them the opportunity to surpass even him.
So we need fathers. And especially we need good fathers.
Now we understand how a father is good, we can take the next step, and reflect on how we are showing up as a son. Not just a son to our biological father. But even more, I will argue here, as a son to our Ur-Father.
Let me explain what I mean.
The next post in the series: