"If I'm gonna tell a real story, I'm gonna start with my name". – Kendrick Lamar
I've been thinking of the elements which make a good father. What is the matrix needed to succeed at this?
Well, I've begun writing a series of thoughts pertaining to the subject of a father's ethos. What is the path we must walk? What are the critical pieces to raising young ones as men? What is the mindset needed?
In my opinion, a father is many things and before we can dive into who we are or what we are, we have to know where we came from.
How many generations can we go back in our family history. One, maybe two? Two is pushing it these days. We have lost value in our lineage. We have forgotten the stories that have made us "us". Those stories are critical to pass on—so that they may be carried forward in time.
There was a time we could recount the generations before us with ease. A young samurai warrior would often tell his families story before battle, affirming to the enemy his warrior-hood, his ethos; today, we are lucky if we remember our great grandfather's first name. It's a critical element we are missing in our society.
As a father, you are the storyteller. A father recounts the tales of the family's history. Where we are from and how we built the family we are in today. We can tell the story of the spark which is the foundation of our family.
The Past is Filled with Lessons
The past is filled with lessons. Mistakes made by us, our fathers, and grandfathers. It is also filled with successes. Those tales serve to be an example to our little ones. They need to understand who the men and women who came before them were, what they did, and how they achieved their life's goals or how they fell short.
It may seem difficult to start, since we ourselves may be held in the dark about our lineage; however, those stories begin with you. Many fathers have never opened up to their kids, to tell them their pursuits, there dreams, who they are or how they have failed. It's time to start.
Never be afraid to be an open book to your kids. Tell them the stories of your childhood. How you got to be you. What you believe in and why. Tell them about your ethos.
These stories need not come in only the long-winded wistful conversations often dramatized on TV; but, they just come up in daily conversation. Simple moments in daily life allow us to just tell our story.
The Business of Ancestry
There's a reason why Ancestry.com is so popular. People want to know who they truly are. We are a species driven by purpose. Knowing where we are from is part of that purpose. Understanding the history of us is something we seek. Without it we seem lost. Usually clinging to whatever false sense of belonging comes up first.
We were Voyagers
I am about to make a reference to a Disney movie, I know… but Disney has storytelling down. In the movie Moana, Moana discovers her ancestors were "Voyagers". This affirms her purpose as a navigator into the unknown. Everything makes sense after this discovery. This discovery, of course, leads her through a series of life-altering events. It makes for quite an amazing story. I know because I've seen it over a dozen times. Knowing those stories can reignite something inside of us.
Stories fill our lives with lessons and history. They are a reminder of our finite lives. We are to pass along the tales of our lineage. Let us not rely on a website to tell our kids who they are—let's tell our family's stories to our kids in the everyday moments and let's be voyagers, exploring our own lineage to learn who we really are.