The weekend New York Times had several articles written by adults who yearn from more connection with their fathers. In one case a letter was written for advice, saying that Dad was an absent father, yet now wants to have authentic connection with each of his children, though he is reluctant to apologize for his failure to be more involved in his children's lives when they were infants and in primary school. The advisor says, in effect, to give Dad some slack and assume that although he can't or won't apologize for whatever you feel he did wrong, you have much to be grateful for now that he is in your lives.
Over the weekend, I read Clayton Christensen's latest book, this one How Will You Measure Your life? He makes a strong point of the importance for parents of young children to tear themselves away from their work demands and pay attention to their children while they are still small. He cites the statistics that underscore the importance of talking with infants, indicating the overwhelming evidence that the more an infant is talked to by adults, the more likelihood that the baby will do better academically and professionally. Pretty strong evidence that you can't hope to "make up" later for the fact that you failed to have direct one and one contact with your baby during this all important formative part of the brain when vocabulary and speech patterns are engrained.
My husband and I went bicycle riding along the Mount Vernon Trail in Washington, DC over the weekend and were delighted to see so many young fathers with kids on the back of their bikes, or in wheeled carriages behind which they were jogging. Lots of Dads with lots of little kids. Perhaps because it was the Fathers Day weekend? Or are there just lots of young Dads in DC who love to spend time with their little kids over the weekend? Either way, it was terrific to see the evidence of genuine connection between Dads and their sons and daughters. Too late maybe for the Father who was the subject of the advice column.