We Are Not Our Fathers
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

We Are Not Our Fathers

Thoughts On "Growing Up"

We Are Not Our Fathers
Street Style Market

It's been a personal guilt of mine for quite some time, this occasional struggle to accomplish those tasks that the stereotypical guy can and should be able to do. I'm frustrated at myself when I have to call a plumber in for a simple water issue that he fixes in a few minutes but one that has been plaguing me since I moved in. I dread the seasonal trip to the local Valvoline because I'm embarrassed at my lack of knowledge in such vehicular matters. Every time I listen to my fellow man proudly apprising me of how he successfully, single-handedly finished off the house's drywall, or replaced the bathroom tile, or built a chicken coop from scratch, I cringe inside thinking of my limited successes assembling (and re-assembling) IKEA furniture. I look at my non-callused, occasionally ink-stained hands, free of workmanlike scars and fret about how I expect myself to hold a physical house together without it all falling apart around me.

I remember my dad's small old fishing boat and the excitement he had upon procuring it, the plans he made for the countless fishing trips and excursions he would enjoy with his sons. Little did he know that those very same sons, who were excited on the onset, would grow bored with these intermittent trips and the lack of tangible progress (read: fish) they yielded. We abstained from fishing in favor of sports, video games, books, and anything else we could muster up as worthy of our teenage attention spans. Our father thus went on these trips alone, bereft of company, a familial take on the lone fisherman epitomized in literature. Over the years the trips grew shorter and more infrequent until the boat was sold off due to disuse and neglect. This abandonment on my part has left me no shortage of guilt and self-loathing, especially as I've grown over time to understand that fishing is more than the fish one catches and the lily pads one snags, it represents something deeper and more meaningful in the quiet mornings and dusky sunsets spent with family.

I figure (read: hope) I'm not alone in these episodic crises of self-identity. A GE commercial aired last year almost perfectly illustrated such shortcomings in the digital age, starkly illustrating the differences between father and son. A recent Washington Post article discussed the findings of a study which found, among other things, that millennial men's' grip strength was weaker in comparison to their predecessors at the same age. Perhaps most striking is something I watched years ago that has stayed with me since. What first got me thinking that others were in a similar conundrum was when I watched Mike Rowe - of "Dirty Jobs" fame - speak before a congressional hearing in 2011, encouraging them to promote the need for more vocational trades nationwide. Don't ask me why I was watching this particular hearing, but during his testimony, he mentioned his lifelong admiration for his grandfather as a "jack-of-all-trades" around the house and on the job, a man whose disregard for instruction manuals earned him the respect of those around him. Such an individual seems like a work of fiction in this day and age.

I know there are solutions to this malaise of character, and there are other more noteworthy things at stake than one's pride in his sense of masculine identity as defined by the stereotypes of handiwork and technical knowledge. And I'm not completely bereft of knowledge - when someone mentions "Phillips" I'm prepared and know not to ask, "The screwdriver or the last name of that one American Idol singer?" I also know that life offers roughly a 50/50 chance of success when using physical intimidation to impose your will over a household appliance. And in truth is it really that terrible to pore over the instruction manuals and access Youtube tutorials for even the most mundane of tasks? I surely don't speak for an entire generation with this article, but I wonder if there's someone else out there who feels a brief moment of self-doubt at the mention of the standard "How many men does it take to change a lightbulb" gag and might, to himself, begrudgingly answers, "more than one...depending on the situation."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments