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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Model of man

Vieraskieliset / In-english
15.8.2022 6.00

Juttua muokattu:

27.6. 09:44

Text: Pau­li Määt­tä

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

My son pou­red out his mind: ”You ne­ver gave me a pro­per mo­del of man. You can­not fix cars. You can­not build hou­ses. You do not hunt, and you do not even have a snow­mo­bi­le.” I tried to de­fend my­self: ”But you know, I have writ­ten a coup­le of po­ems.” I had con­si­de­red my­self a mo­de­ra­te­ly good fat­her. My big­gest con­cern had been my mi­ni­mal cont­ri­bu­ti­on to hou­se­hold work. I had to tra­vel for work, and I had been elec­ted to some po­si­ti­ons of trust, so the res­pon­si­bi­li­ty for the home of­ten fell on my wife.

Re­cent­ly, ho­we­ver, my son and I have been le­ar­ning things to­get­her. Our re­la­ti­ons­hip has been that of a mas­ter and an ap­p­ren­ti­ce, with my­self as the ap­p­ren­ti­ce. At the hou­se buil­ding site I have been car­rying bo­ards or ta­king me­a­su­res. I have so­me­ti­mes al­so been as­ked to keep a span­ner in place at a cri­ti­cal point of fi­xing a car. For­tu­na­te­ly, no-one has as­ked me to come along on a hun­ting trip, but surp­ri­sing­ly, we have found big lumps of moo­se meat in our free­zer. And I have been told our sons and sons-in-law have a Lynx club of their own.

I dis­cus­sed the to­pic of snow­mo­bi­le with my sons for se­ve­ral ye­ars. My de­la­ying ac­ti­on was suc­ces­s­ful when I poin­ted out that I nee­ded to use snow­mo­bi­le at work and the­re­fo­re did not feel like get­ting one for my free time as well. To tell the truth, I on­ly drove the snow­mo­bi­le twice at work.

The fat­her–son re­la­ti­ons­hip chan­ges as both grow ol­der. At one stage the son looks up to his fat­her as a hero who can do eve­ryt­hing and is best in eve­ryt­hing. I do not know if ot­her fat­hers have tried to prop up their hero sta­tus. I told my child­ren that was pret­ty good in sports. Run­ning the ma­rat­hon, I would pro­bab­ly cross the fi­nish line one day af­ter the win­ner. But in the 10 000-me­ter race, that dif­fe­ren­ce would be on­ly an hour. And best of all, in the 100-me­ter race, I would on­ly be 10 se­conds be­hind the win­ner. And tal­king about field sports, I would be 4 me­ters be­hind the best pole vaul­ter, but on­ly 1 me­ter be­hind the high jump cham­pi­on. I hope my kids did not brag about these ac­hie­ve­ments too much when tal­king to their friends, and not at le­ast to their te­ac­hers.

For ye­ars I pla­yed floor­ball with my child­ren. But not any more. One Christ­mas Eve, we de­ci­ded to have a fa­mi­ly game on the ne­ar­by school field. In the heat of the game I bum­ped in­to my son and we both fell. He con­ti­nu­ed the game. I went to a doc­tor and had an x-ray. They put my arm in splints for a few weeks. My son on­ce as­ked me to come along for a game be­cau­se one of the re­gu­lars could not come. I rus­hed around the field as best I could, but the feed­back was not flat­te­ring. “I wouldn’t have gu­es­sed that you are such a bad pla­yer.” He has not as­ked me to play again, but luc­ki­ly, I have been ac­cep­ted to play vol­ley­ball with Sulo (88 yr.) and Oi­va (85 yr.).

Af­ter the hero stage in the fat­her’s ca­reer, the child­ren grow in­to teen age and dis­tan­ce them­sel­ves from their fat­her. Mark Twain desc­ri­bed this si­tu­a­ti­on 180 ye­ars ago: ”When I was 14 ye­ars old, my fat­her was so ig­no­rant that I hard­ly to­le­ra­ted the old man’s pre­sen­ce. When I tur­ned 21, I was surp­ri­sed to find how much he had le­arnt in se­ven ye­ars.” If you so­me­how ma­na­ge through the tee­na­ge bre­a­ka­way, yo­ur child­ren will come back. There will be a new re­la­ti­ons­hip bet­ween two adults.

Throug­hout hu­man his­to­ry, fat­hers have been away from home a lot. Hun­ter-gat­he­rers nee­ded to make long fo­ra­ging and hun­ting trips. Ag­ri­cul­tu­re re­qui­red men to spend a lot of time on the fields. Lum­ber camps pro­vi­ded ext­ra in­co­me but re­qui­red ab­sen­ce from home for months at a time. Not to men­ti­on the war time. The fat­her–son re­la­ti­ons­hip be­ca­me clo­ser when the son was old enough to help his fat­her at work. From our point of view, boys in the old ti­mes re­ac­hed that age qui­te ear­ly. Many men were trau­ma­ti­zed by the hor­rors of the war, and there was hard­ly any the­ra­py or ot­her sup­port avai­lab­le. The re­la­ti­ons­hip bet­ween the fat­her and his child­ren could be dis­tant or even tin­ged with fear.

The fat­her–son re­la­ti­ons­hip has been an int­ri­guing to­pic at all ti­mes. The most im­por­tant re­la­ti­ons­hip is that bet­ween the he­a­ven­ly Fat­her and the Son, of which we hear at ser­vi­ces, and which is the foun­da­ti­on of our faith. Even the Bib­le tel­ls us about dif­fi­cult fat­her–son re­la­ti­ons­hips. For ins­tan­ce, Ab­sa­lom did not ap­p­ro­ve of his fat­her’s ac­ti­ons and rec­rui­ted an ar­my to fight against him. That did not end up well, as we can read in the Bib­le.

What kind of a mo­del would I like to give to my sons? The most im­por­tant thing is faith. Ser­vi­ces and ot­her events are im­por­tant, and we should at­tend whe­ne­ver pos­sib­le. I al­so hope I will le­a­ve a mo­del of being po­si­ti­ve and even cu­ri­ous about things. I hope my mo­del furt­her inc­lu­des wil­ling­ness to par­ti­ci­pa­te in pro­jects ser­ving the com­mon good whe­ne­ver one is as­ked to take on such du­ties.

There has been a lot of dis­cus­si­on about the di­vi­si­on of tasks wit­hin the fa­mi­ly. It is a new thing that men of my age are ex­pec­ted to par­ti­ci­pa­te ac­ti­ve­ly in dai­ly fa­mi­ly life. When my fat­her was my age, he just watc­hed his child­ren play. He said he on­ly on­ce ever chan­ged a di­a­per and even then did it the wrong way round. My mot­her was most­ly res­pon­sib­le for the home and the hou­se­work. There was on­ly one do­mes­tic thing that my fat­her did: he ro­as­ted on open fire the squ­ea­ky chee­se made of cow’s milk. My fat­her and mot­her took care of the cat­t­le to­get­her, and fat­her was res­pon­sib­le for all things done out­si­de the hou­se.

The di­vi­si­on of do­mes­tic cho­res can vary gre­at­ly. The main thing is that all mem­bers of the fa­mi­ly feel hap­py and se­cu­re at home. It is al­so good to have in­te­rests and hob­bies. There are many pos­si­bi­li­ties: hun­ting, fis­hing, hi­king, ga­mes, gar­de­ning… In the best case, the fat­her and the sons, and pos­sib­ly the whole fa­mi­ly, share the same in­te­rest or hob­by.


Minä luotan sinun armoosi, saan iloita sinun avustasi. Ps. 13:6

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