Leadership Qualities: Acknowledge the Apple Tree.

Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father


It’s been said that a picture says a thousand words, likewise a fruitful life points to a firmly grounded root system – DAD.

So, if fathers are so critical to us,

“Why does it seem that we wait until the end of their lives to celebrate, or even pause long enough to consider the totality of the lives that our fathers have lived?  

The Hebrew word “ab” and the Greek “pater” have the same meaning in describing the male parent.  This masculine word can denote an immediate relative as father, or a more distinct or remote male relative or forefather.  

The New Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary describes his function also as inventor, originator, teacher, spiritual leader, and protector.  Biologically, he is the determinant of the sex of the child he fathers.  

Every part of his ability to reproduce connotes the idea of spewing forth, of ejaculating, of flowing from one hidden place with great pressure and urgency to another place beyond himself.  

Also, we recognize the Judeo-Christian reference to God as ‘Father.’  Always, in reference to the male as father, there is the idea of a life giving force that once released makes a deposit that opens the way for the next generation, the next age, the new era, to spring forth.”

(From A Father’s Legacy, Mitchell, 2008).  

Psychologists have long been absorbed with the importance of the father’s role.

Photo by Liane Metzler on Unsplash

“Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that hole, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.” Kids with a hole in their soul grow up to be adults whose lives become chaotic and dysfunctional.”

(Roland Warren, past president of the National Fatherhood Initiative in Diamond, 2017; https://goodmenproject.com/families/5-surprising-ways-father-wound-harms-women-wcz/).

Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalysts saw the father complex, and the accompanying ambivalent feelings for the father on the part of the male child, as an aspect of the Oedipus complex (https://www.britannica.com/science/Oedipus-complex). On the other hand, Carl Jung took the view that both males and females could have a father complex, which in turn might be either positive or negative (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evil-deeds/200905/freud-jung-and-their-complexes).

He is incomparable in design, but I believe that he has been misunderstood in his function and his operation.  So, we find numerous studies on “fatherlessness,” and terms like “dad deficit,” “father hunger,”and “father wound”  describing the trauma associated with the biological father absence (Diamond, 2017; Miller, 2013).  

Across genders the result is the same.  Adult men often report a sense of feeling a father wound when reflecting on their own father-son relationship (Miller, 2012; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/car.2219).  This may have been observed through varying levels of aggression according to Herzog (2012).  Also, women share their own burdens and challenges in forming and maintaining relationships with men because of their relationships with their fathers. The results can range from eating disorders to perverse sexual relationships (Diamond, 2017; Herzog, 2012; Maine, 1991).

But all is not lost, as the research also shows that becoming a father, particularly to a son, is allowing men to come to terms with earlier father‐son wounds and be more involved with their sons.  

So, on this special Father’s Day edition of Crystal Clear Vision, enjoy your dads, or enjoy your dad’s memories.  

“Whatever you have received from him, and the many other men who have stood by you and fathered you at the critical moments of your lives – remember.  And, when you remember, honor and respect them for the legacy that they gave to you.  They gave you the best that they got, and certainly the best that they had to give.”

(Mitchell, 2010)

And, if you are a dad, make new memories of today and tomorrow.

As I share this blog, I must honour the men who have been critical in me sharing this with you today:

I honor my father, Alfred Mitchell, Snr., who gave me life, but more importantly, taught me to dream big.  Eric Kinlock, my grandfather, whose wisdom taught me about life, to love nature, and to be impatient with foolishness.  Owen Tibby, who stepped in as a best man once again when Dad suffered his first stroke.  Clement Branche, who introduced me to the book, Working with Emotional Intelligence (Goleman, 1998); Melvin Gary, Ph.D., who taught me about being black in America; and Maurice Elias, Ph.D., who gave me the tools of Community Psychology, freed me to be myself in the midst of a foreign culture, and taught me to share the lesson in every experience.

All the wisdom and the commitment of these men to living beyond themselves, to living by their giving, helped me to become the person that I am today.

Want to see how you are made in the Father’s image?  Get a copy of For a Teacher’s Heart (FaTH) and more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfPWaPCJ0vE  .

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

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