The fundamental defect of fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.
He made the mistake of letting a novelist grow up in his house remembering every violent act.
Many people have asked, “Has writing this book made you feel closer to your father?” To which I could only answer: “My relationship with him has greatly improved since his death.”
Had my father lived, he would have lain on me at full length and would have crushed me.
Providing for one’s family as a good husband and father is a water-tight excuse for making money hand over fist. Greed may be a sin. Exploitation of other people might, on the face of it, look rather nasty. But who can blame a man for “doing the best” for his children?
He works so hard . . . I wish I could persuade him to take things a little more easily; but it would be like inducing a sledgehammer to loiter on the downward arc.
When a father, absent during the day, returns home at six, his children receive only his temperament, not his teaching.
I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.
It is much easier to become a father than to be one.
It’s no good trying to fool yourself about love. You can’t fall into it like a soft job without dirtying up your hands. It takes muscle and guts. And if you can’t bear the thought of messing up your nice, clean soul, you’d better give up the whole idea of life and become a saint. Because you’ll never make it as a human being. It’s either this world or the next.
The pressures of being a parent are equal to any pressure on earth. To be a conscious parent, and really look to that little being’s mental and physical health, is a responsibility which most of us, including me, avoid most of the time, because it’s too hard.
The words a father speaks to his children in the privacy of the home are not overheard at the time, but, as in whispering galleries, they will be clearly heard at the end and by posterity.
I had an amazing vision one time. I saw my whole male lineage behind my father lined up through a field and over a hill. It went back hundreds of generations. I had this tremendous sense that I was the outcome of all that work. The connection was very emotional and powerful. . . . Not only are you the outcome of everyone’s previous work of all the lineages that came before you, but if you perfect yourself and . . . get rid of all the guilt and the suffering, then you get rid of it for all those who came before you, too. As you free yourself, you free the whole horde. I felt that I was one with all this love from all these men before me.
William Haddad was an associate of President John Kennedy. After Kennedy was assassinated, his young son, John, asked Mr. Haddad, “Are you a daddy?” Haddad told him he was. Said little John, “Then will you throw me up in the air?”
His father watched him across the gulf of years and pathos which always must divide a father from his son.
When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
Families name us and define us, give us strength, give us grief. All our lives we struggle to embrace or escape their influence. They are magnets that both hold us close and drive us away.