There are few things I find more uplifting than observing great quality father-son relationships.
I recently attended the memorial service for an old friend. Part of the eulogy, which was compiled by his daughter, included the following words which she recalled from her father’s reflections on his childhood experiences with his own father.
“Mum and Dad were wonderful parents, something we took for granted at the time. We never went cold or hungry in the wonderful house that Dad built.
My Dad was and still is my hero. To ensure we had what we needed, he worked as a baker (which was his trade) at night and, with as little as three hours sleep, went to work in the Railways Blacksmith Shop as the ‘blacksmith striker’. This involved swinging a large sledgehammer all day. On the weekends, he would set up to 80 rabbit traps and sell the rabbits. How he managed to maintain this effort over many years is still a wonder to me.
From when I was about the age of four, Dad would take me to the bakehouse with him, where he used to set me up on the flour stack to sleep. I remember on many occasions watching him through sleepy eyes firing up the huge wood oven, mixing the dough and the baking the bread.
He took me trapping with him, taught me bush craft and how to shoot with his 22 calibre Mauser rifle.
He was prepared to do all these things to ensure that Mum and us kids had what we needed.”
As I listened, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I thought about how effectively youth crime, domestic violence, and general family dysfunction could be reduced in Australia, if more boys grew up experiencing this quality of love, role modeling and mentoring from their fathers.
I am very thankful for the one I was privileged to have.