the life-long father & son integrity conversation

 

Western society is responsible for a disease between fathers and sons. Here's how it starts: one day, at a time when the son is flexing his independence and being given more freedom by his parents, the father asks his son to do something. The boy doesn't and in the busy cloud of txt-msg-www-http://:) it's forgotten and the father instinctively lets it go and does it himself without saying anything. The father is supposed to be commended for his tolerance and grace, but a lesson about being trusted, about responsibility and respect has just been lost on the boy—both of them now have a disease called lack of integrity in a relationship. Without knowing how it happened the father loses respect for himself and the boy now no longer respects his father. It gets to the stage where the father feels like he has to apologise for asking his son to do anything, ever, and the son loses any sensitivity to the idea of taking the initiative to help his dad with anything because for some strange reason, it&
#39;s all too hard. It's probably why there's even a commandment that says, 'Children, honour your parents'.

In the end the only way ahead is an honest conversation and forgiveness on both sides—from the father because of his failure to love his son and on the son's side for failing to honour his father. This conversation might have to happen several times during their life time, sometimes initiated by the son and at other times initiated by the father.

Having gone there, the way can still be spoiled if the father attempts to hold all this over the head of his son so that he can get cooperation every time he asks him to do something. As the boy is growing up there must still be room for negotiation and saying 'No' in order for integrity to exist but the son must also understand that the father is now in a permanent position of weakness and vulnerability in the same kind of way as the Creator was in the Garden of Eden, so committed to the free will of the man that even he would be silent and gamble all of his chips on love or nothing—waiting for Adam to make the call.

(from MS 501A Making Disciples — Cornerstone Community)