ALOE BLACC WITH I’M A MAN
DAY TWO: A FATHER’S ROLE IN PEACE
FROM LAHOMA, OKLAHOMA * THOMAS LEMKE
Ah, world peace, the heartfelt desire of beauty pageant contestants the world over. A simple idea, a profound subject… and yet so often beyond our reach as men of this world.
But, then again, maybe not so much as we think.
Speaking for myself, I have refined my definition of “the world” over the past few years. The term formerly denoted for me the entirety of planet earth, and the population that inhabits it.
Then I became a father.
Now the term denotes my son. My whole world. And him only.
Now world peace is within my grasp – as closely as it can ever be held. And daily I strive to secure and enhance that peace as I teach him how to be a man in this place.
When he cries and I hold him, I teach him that there is one who cares for his pain, and endures it with him.
When he takes new, small steps, and I praise him, I teach him that there are rewards for his efforts.
When his diaper stinks, and I change him, I teach him that he is loved (unconditionally, let us say!).
When he is angry, and I calm him, I teach him that fighting steals away joy, but reconciliation strengthens our bonds.
When he is hungry, and I feed him, I teach him to care for his neighbor, who also is hungry and needs food.
When he grows, and I provide for his ever-changing and maturing needs, I teach him that this is how a father treats his son.
This works to promote peace in my world, yet many fathers don’t treat their sons this way. And many sons don’t have fathers at all.
And maybe that’s part of what’s missing – and part of the solution as well. Fathers teaching their sons to be at peace with peaceful men.
Then maybe peace will finally be more than an out-of-reach concept, not merely in my little world, but in the bigger one we all share as well.