By Lana Moline
I saw a kiss that changed my outlook on life. Now I don’t typically go around watching other people kiss but there was something about this one that was just special. What was even more amazing is that every time I witness this type of display I admit that I experience the same emotion. It’s the moment a father leans in to embrace and kiss his son. That melts my heart.
When boys are young, it is easy for society to accept the tenderness in father/son interaction. On any given day it’s easy to find a father and son at school events, shopping malls or even their place of worship. Who wouldn’t smile at a dad throwing a ball to his son or helping his little one climb up the sliding board?
Dads are equally invested in the emotional support of their kids and when a need is indicated such as an accident on a playground, for example, dads comfort their sons with love and affection and everyone around is in agreement that is good. What is amazing, however, is that during the course of a boy’s upbringing this same affection becomes almost downright unacceptable. I’m proud to say I’ve spoken to many dads who simply refuse to let society dictate how they raise their kids. They remain sensitive to the needs of their son while teaching them to grow into a man.
The thing that’s bugged me is why otherwise wholesome affection has become so stigmatized. When I look at the family structure of even my own family, I see how things have changed. I think 50 years ago, our idea of family was primarily a man and woman working together side by side to raise a family and make a positive mark on the world. That’s what we all wanted. We each have stories of visiting our grandparents and how they were simply operating in love.
Well today that isn’t exactly the picture we see. An increasing number of children are born to parents who are not married. Although this does not suggest that kids cannot be just as nourished in this situation, it does make it challenging when custody or visitation agreements can’t be met. As a result, the bonds that are formed early on are engulfed in hurt and confusion.
So here’s what I am saying. I believe that an equal balance of affection would allow our young men to witness healthy affection from both parents and solidify a foundation for love. So to all the dads, listen closely – I heart hugs! You should too!
Lana Moline is a freelance writer and poet who lives in Fort Worth with her husband and three kids. She has been married 11 years and understands that marriage truly is a journey that is sometimes complicated by our own thoughts, perceptions and feelings. Visit her at her blog LanaSuccess4Kids.wordpress.com