Of course, we can't choose our parents and mums and dads mean different things to different people. I know many people who adore their fathers and a few who have difficulty with their relationships. News stories often feature cruel and despicable fathers and an odd few portray kind and loving fathers. In recently read biographies, I noted that Burt Reynolds's father had difficulty praising his son's success and was reluctant to express his love outright. Former President Bill Clinton's father died before he was born. His mother remarried and Clinton had a very difficult relationship with his stepfather. The artist Francis Bacon thought his father was narrow-minded and unpleasant. An extreme example is actor Woody Harrelson's father, Charles, who was a professional hit man as well as a hopeless husband who abandoned his family. Woody has said that his father was articulate and charming but struggled with professing loyalty and friendship towards him.
On the flip side, there are many examples of fathers who were and are adored. Actor Hugh Jackman described his father Chris as his rock from whom he learned everything about loyalty and dependability. John Wayne talked fondly of his father Clyde, calling him a fine man to whom he owed a great deal and hoping he could live up to his example. Michael Douglas has talked about his father Kirk, describing the great bond they have together.
Everyone has their own emotions when talking about their fathers. As with just about every Father's Day, sadly, my own father is in my head but not my heart.
William Shakespeare: ‘It is a wise father that knows his own child.’
Sigmund Freud: ‘I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.’