Be a Man
Father Son Canyon - Part 2

So, you have decided to make the journey? Good decision.

But there are rough times ahead, I must warn you. The father-son relationship is fraught with troubles, obstacles, impediments; sometimes there are Mount Everests to climb . . . without oxygen.

All fathers were once sons. And yet . . . they can sometimes forget that.

My father loved quoting “If” by Rudyard Kipling, a classic poem that attempts to define what it is to be a man. Its ideals are:

  1. lofty (“if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you”)
  2. demanding (“if you can dream but not make dreams your master”)
  3. challenging (“if you can fill each minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run”)

I wasn’t sure I could ever measure up.

My father was a child of the Great Depression, born in 1921 to a Swedish immigrant and a South Carolina orphan. He grew up poor, and went to work his father’s job when his father’s health began to fail (my father had to lie about his age to work his father’s job in the ice plant). He was an engineer gunner on a B24 in World War II, and carried the top secret Norden bombsight at one point. He was a man’s man.

How can a young boy possibly measure up?


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