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I ain’t ‘fraid of no Ghost Dad

June 16, 2007

by Josh

Well I actually forgot to write a post on ghosts so I thought the title of this post would be a clever way to address the issue of ghosts and spectral visions, albeit very briefly.

If you don’t get the humor of the title then you were born yesterday.

I’ve read Hamlet only once during high school and I’ve always assumed that maybe Prince Hamlet really did see his dad. Or maybe it was Hamlet’s old madness that was driving him. Life imitates art, or maybe it is the other way around?

No matter how old we are we never grow out of the connection we have to our parents. Mothers and fathers are very different. Mothers will make you a sandwich or your favorite dish when you travel or go back to college. Fathers are there for advice and a good kick in the butt, regardless of whether you need one or not. Traditionally fathers provide for you materially. A mother provides for your emotional needs.Your father is not as expressive of his love but you know that deep down he cares.

As much as I hate to admit it, we can never outgrow our father. No matter how old we get, deep down we feel like that little babe that he held in his arms. Because of that we are conditioned to seek his approval. We are ever haunted by expectations and sometimes we are driven mad by it. After TV-mobster Tony Soprano nearly loses his son A.J. to a suicide attempt, he asks his associates, “where did I lose this kid?” It’s a true question that has been asked by fathers over and over again, even in scripture. King David mourning his mutinous son Absalom. Father Lehi trying to correct his rebellious elder sons after the vision of the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve mourning their sons Cain and Abel, the latter being slain by the former. Even God himself mourned the fall of Lucifer and the mortal death of Jesus. I wonder what a face to face father-son conversation with God would feel like. If even God is powerless to keep his children from going astray, then it’s not going too far to imagine a murderous mobster also powerless from keeping his children in line.

I guess this all goes back to my earlier post about family. Even though we cannot choose our family in life we are bound by our relationship to them. We are especially bound to our fathers. No wonder why we are commanded to “Honor thy father and mother.” Perhaps a corollary to this is the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob’s admonition to the wayward Nephite fathers.

You don’t have to be a saintly person to love your parents or your children. And we need to be careful of our actions both as children and as parents because our actions reverberate throughout the generations.

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