Like Father Like Son
Shooting hoops with dad or helping him with his volunteer hours at the homeless shelter, are not stories most married or single men share at the gym, because they seldom hang out with their fathers but, there is a lot to gain, if they meet regularly.
Fathers know sons as ‘my little man’ who grew up to be a construction worker, dairy farmer, bus driver, software developer, pilot or auto mechanic, but they really don’t know the essence of the man. Bonding with their sons will create a better understanding of who they are now, and what they could be in the future.
It is not easy despite the blood ties, because they are two different people. Fathers and sons might see the world differently, such as voting for Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, saving the Arctic, being gay or federal taxes, but the blood they share makes it possible to compromise, so that the bonding can happen.
It will be easier to have regular doses of bonding if they live in the same city or province. They don’t have to wait for the birth of new babies, graduations, Thanksgiving, religious celebrations and Independence Day holidays to come together.
Common interests are the starting point, like going to an NBA game if sons have season tickets or catching a touring Peking Opera performance when it is in town. It could be that your father’s favourite movie is Farewell My Concubine, starring Leslie Cheung (rest in peace), Zhang Fengyi and Gong Li.
It is even better if fathers and sons have diverse interests because they will learn from each other. For example, the son is an app freak and cannot brush his teeth without consulting an app. The father thinks ‘app’ is an abbreviation for ‘appointment’, as in dental or doctor’s appointment.
Five Ways To Hang Out With Dad
1. Technology and Older Citizens
You can help your dad with the laptop you gave him for his birthday by explaining what an app is, internet fraud, software updates, good online information and bad news he should avoid. You know he needs help if he keeps saying he cannot open stuff you send him.
Some dads understand the internet very well, others don’t. Some are retired, others are still active, so the time they spend with sons will depend on many things.
Be that as it may, teaching your dad about online intricacies should be as regular as possible because the beast called the internet changes frequently.
2. Older Citizens and Automobiles
Different interests can benefit both father and son. For example, you can take your dad along on a fact-finding mission to buy a second hand car. He might help you make the right decision because he worked for General Motors for 20 years.
You can text him for his opinion but that is not the same as watching him in action, inspecting the car and asking the used car salesman pertinent questions. Your dad, who is an accountant, can also show you how to do your own taxes.
Joining your dad when he goes to the community centre to help in the soup kitchen will mean a lot to him. He will be proud of his son, who is not scared of mixing with people less fortunate. He might also give you reasons why he volunteers.
Most of them are my age.
4. Male Bonding and Sports
Sports networks bring games to the living room but there is nothing to beat being there, waiting in line to buy popcorn or use the washroom, watching crazy fans shout instructions from the benches or celebrities clutching husbands’ arms because they are wearing Trump Tower heels.
Fathers initiate sons into sports at an early age because sons are free at birth, while daughters are indoors, learning how to cook, clean and be good wives when they get married.
Gigabyte male bonding can take place when sons take their fathers to rugby, cricket, basketball, soccer, hockey or Wimbledon to watch the men’s singles' final.
5. Visiting Ancestral Home
The more time grown up men spend with their fathers, the more they’ll understand their wishes. A road trip to his home state might be what he needs. It will be a good idea to send the car in for a top to bottom service then drive him to your grandparents’ house.
Some years ago, mourners at a funeral in South Africa heard how a son did just that, and the father died a year later, a happier man.
Flying is quicker obviously, but you get more bonding mileage if you drive and your dad has more knowledge about the different provinces/states/counties than Google.
Life in rural areas affords fathers and sons more opportunities because they jointly work the land, observe daily religious rites and take part in cultural activities.
Life is cities is more complicated with dropping off and picking up kids, and busy schedules designed to earn money and more money.
That is the main reason why grown up men seldom find time to chill out with their dads, unless they drop by to see grandchildren.
The concentration on fathers and sons is deliberate because the whole world prefers sons over daughters, a very sad and unfortunate state of affairs, but that is the way it is, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.