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On Fathers And Sons

by David Gura
Jan 20, 2010

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David Gura

On his blog, Ta-Nehisi Coates has a wonderful post about fathers and sons, called "Earning The Temporary Hatred Of Your Children."

After he "had it out" with his 10-year-old son, Coates reflected on the relationship he had with his father:

I think back on it now, and would say that between the ages of eight and seventeen, I really didn't like my Dad much. I respected the hell out of him. Loved the hell of out him. Thought he was the most honorable, most fair man I'd ever known. I was also intensely afraid (well into my 20s) that I would not live up to his example. But like him? No, I didn't much like him. If you asked him, I think he'd say that this was done by design.

Coates writes quite powerfully about the role of fathers — to teach, to love, to protect, and comes to terms with the fact that if he does all that, it's folly to think that an adolescent will "like" his father:

It's a little sad, because I see me and my son entering into that same place. I think he may like me more than I liked my Dad. But I won't be to him, what his mother is to him. That isn't our relationship. We have another eight years together. There's a lot to learn, and some unavoidable portion of it will hurt. What gives me some hope is that I've retained my respect for my Dad, I like him a great deal now. He's one of my best friends, and my ultimate mentor. God willing, me and the boy will get to that same place.

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