Yesterday I read two texts about the father figure. One of them by Leonardo Boff in which, more clearly and properly, he points out the need of rescuing that figure. The other text is by Gustavo Ioschpe, in wich he shows resentment for our society’s lack of virtue.
Boff’s text was enthusiastic. He has no children, as far as I know, and this might mean he is not an authority to speak about children. But it turns out that he did not speak about his own experience, but about common sense, about the society’s view and about Freud. He shows that all this deterioration around the subject condemns the world to people who are not so good.
Boff says the balancing of our society is depends on restoring the father figure. People who do not have a father have no limits, he says, they cannot reach out to other people. I would say they are condemned to selfishness. Anyone who has a father will be bound to give in, to give way a bit in order to allow others to live well. This is something Gustavo Ioschpe says in his text. But he suffers, he struggles with the difficulties of others around him. He has lost his patience with society’s lack of manners.
‘Should I raise my children the way my father did?’ he asks himself to declare he is going to do so for his father’s memory and because he imagines Brazil is going to be a better people’s country in the future. This should not be the perspective of education, in my point of view. We have human beings in front of us – today.
Perhaps, it is just as he says, perhaps not. Fatherhood is one of our legs. Denying it means amputating one of the legs or, even worse, depriving a person of one of his/her senses. Denying education is mutilating a person. It is like punishing him in advance for the crimes he will commit due to the lack of perception.
But life bereaves us from our fathers, sometimes. We limp. Still, we find in our biography a person upon whom we invest this role, to whom we grant the authority of a father like an award. And this person is going to be a role model for the rest of our lives.
This is something we shouldn’t ever forget: we get to choose our fathers in the world. We have our own at home, if we are lucky. We have a father in a mother, maybe. We may find him in a mentor, in a priest. Sometimes we do not have a person at hand, but there is never really the lack of a father figure. Then we find an extraordinarily righteous man like Mandela or Gandhi. We are crippled and they will heal us by showing us humanity and lifting it to its highest level. That is wonderful!
Fatherhood is part of our entireness. Of course, when we are born we have a biological link to a man. That brings you to a place in the world, and a inheritance, a culture. However, if we think about it objectively, we realize that our father is just accepting that role. When he dies or leaves, we can count on him inside our own human structure.
This is what I think: we have this role model in all his strength within us and in the end this will certainly grant us redemption.