Bacon. It exists to celebrate certain days like Father’s day. Offered up as a delicious porcine sacrifice to the great god of fatherhood.
Mother’s day is a bit more granola and croissant based, which is fine in its way.
But it isn’t a bit of pig lovingly and greasily slapped on a plate with extra crunchy bits.
A simple difference in the breakfast that is lovingly provided by the partner marks a difference in how we collectively view the roles of the mother and the father. Implicitly we say, “here’s a nice bowl of rolled oats and some orange juice because you don’t want to get fat.”
And then there’s the slab of meat given to a man. “You should be in the wild, killing things and consuming of their flesh, but as you work in an office so here’s part of an animal that’s been shaved off and prepared by someone else so you can pretend to be a real man.”
There’s talk of steak for dinner.
Certainly, the role of a man is changing and no where is that more readily shown by how dads are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do. Father’s day seems like a good enough time to reflect on these things. Whilst eating bacon.
For me, a dad in the modern day comes with many expectations, some of them, like the newer concepts of being hands-on and elbow deep in nappies, are welcome if noisome departures from the stand-offish approach of yore. I consider myself to be a ‘modern’ dad who deftly makes dinner, applies Bonjela with the flair of a matador and can kiss away a the hot, salty tears made by a grazed knee like I’m bloody Mary Seacole.
This is a role I love. So much so, that I wrote a book on it which I very strongly encourage you to go and buy because that is literally my pension fund and, based on current sales, we will be eking out our end of days under a fly-over, consuming passing insects for survival.
I also feel that it is my role, as a dad, to provide some kind of far reaching advice for life, you know, like I’ve got it all figured out (HA!).
When the time comes for me to look knowingly to sea, tap out an imaginary pipe and grand eloquently pass on advice I will say something like what is written below. Although, to be fair I’ll probably burst into tears mid-way through.
Masculine and manly tears obviously.
It is formed in part by the advice given to me by my parents and grandparents, from other dads both online and in the real world as well as my experiences as a teacher, watching young people grow and develop.
My son, there are those who waste their life, who choose to not do anything.
They look to other people’s success and call it luck, bitterly choosing to not see the hours of back-breaking work that grants that success.
They blame their failings on the failings of others and rail against their lot without doing anything to change their fate. They are always looking and finding excuse for inaction, deferring their responsibility for their life to those around them and then blaming those people when they are let down.
Their mindset is closed, choosing to accept the easy lie that they can’t and can never rather than work hard to be able to do. What gifts of privilege or ability they have at birth are allowed to wither and die through lack of application; through lack of care.
They seek quick fix solutions to long term problems and give up when they lack immediate success. Indeed, they fear failure and so will never have the chance to succeed, preferring to be angry at the world for its injustice rather than fighting to make it more just.
They never apologise for their mistakes always electing to point the finger at someone else.
My son, as you move through life you will meet these people. They will try and keep you in your place and give a thousand reasons as to why you shouldn’t do something, why you should stay put, why you should be content with saying no to opportunity. They will say you shouldn’t or you can’t or you will fail or it is unnecessary. I trust you have the resolve to ignore their voice of conformity and comfort.
I hope that you act with kindness and grace. That you are gentle but forthright in your convictions. That you show compassion but do not allow others to abuse that compassion.
I do not expect you to set the world aflame but would certainly help you if you choose to do so. I care not who you love but ask that it is a love of respect and equality. I hope you find happiness but are aware enough to know that true happiness is not a commodity to be pursued; that you understand true happiness to be a result of a life worth living.
My son, whatever you do in life don’t waste it. A wasted life is a terrible thing.
Whatever you do, do something.
And know that you will always have my love.