Sunday, 7 September 2014

To My Dad

I don't know where I get my love of language from, I just enjoy being able to express myself most efficaciously, I think it's powerful that, succinctly, others can idealize my mentality. But, if I were to hazard a guess as to why I have so easily mastered language and therefore appreciate it - I would say it's because of my father.
For starters, I most certainly get my accent from him. Some people think that I'm English or a New Zealander because I don't sound typically Australian due to my clarity of diction. I just have an upper-class Australian accent. I don't consider myself upper class - far fucken from it - but some do, and I undeniably have that accent, it's just part of who I am.
But as for love of language, my father is quite appreciative of language, as his job as an attorney requires a great deal of understanding. As he says "I have to use the most precise language, because the goal is not so much to be understood'as it is to make sure that I cannot possibly be misunderstood"; as you can imagine, a poorly drafted legal document could leave the possibility of legal loopholes.
Not to mention, while I have been slowly compiling my own 'dictionary' of sorts, in this blog, my father has actually been doing the same for his own purposes.
So, since today is father's day, I figured I'd pay homage to him - just as I did for mother's day - by retrieving today's dictionary definition from his dictionary.
The Word of the Day is: 'FATHER'

Father /faː.ðə/ (noun) 1. One who has begotten a child, whether son or daughter; a generator; a male parent. 2. A male ancestor more remote than a parent; a progenitor; especially, a first ancestor; a founder of a race or family; — in the plural, fathers, ancestors. 3. One who performs the offices of a parent by maintenance, affectionate care, counsel, or protection. 4. A respectful mode of address to an old man. 5. A senator of ancient Rome. 6. A dignitary of the church, a superior of a convent, a confessor (called also father confessor), or a priest; also, the eldest member of a profession, or of a legislative assembly, etc. 7. One of the chief ecclesiastical authorities of the first centuries after Christ; — often spoken of collectively as the Fathers; as, the Latin, Greek, or apostolic Fathers. 8. One who, or that which, gives origin; an originator; a producer, author, or contriver; the first to practice any art, profession, or occupation; a distinguished example or teacher. 9. The Supreme Being and Creator; God; in theology, the first person in the Trinity. 10. The male parent. ♦ collateral adjective: paternal.
11. (transitive verb) To make one's self the father of; to beget. 12. To take as one's own child; to adopt; hence, to assume as one's own work; to acknowledge one's self author of or responsible for (a statement, policy, etc.). 13. To provide with a father.

It's interesting how 'father' can have so many other meanings, not only parental and paternal, but also magisterial, ecclesiastic & theological. Father can mean a whole lot of things. This has a lot to do with the patriarchal history of the world, for so long men were in control, and everyone had a father. So, control was associated with fatherhood, the father, the patriarch; the old male in control. As a result, fathers - back in the day - were often pictured as the foundation of a household. The man in the suit that makes the money, the father was the role model, the policeman, the judge, the hero & the soldier. Sons were meant to look up to their fathers, and be looked after by their mothers.
So, I'm glad that we're moving on from that. Not just because of the feminist side of things, but because as the iconic father has moved away from strength, control and idolatry, the idyllic Western father figure has become the caring family man. No longer the foundation of a household, and no longer so strictly defined.

So, father can mean a lot of things, so that it can define everyone's father. But, personally, I don't think of my father like that, because I prefer to call my father Dad; so when I think of him, I think 'dad'.
And in his place, when I think 'father', I think of my girlfriend.
Not that she's in any way fatherly, she's certainly not. But I think of her because when my Beloved was very young, her father died.

It was a very long time ago, so it's no longer a fresh and sensitive wound, which is why she gave me permission to talk about it. In fact, sometimes I'm more uncomfortable talking about it than she is, since she's had her whole life to come to terms with it, but for me, it's still such a shocking notion. I can't even imagine what it would be like growing up without my father, and I sympathize with her upbringing and the way she first felt when she was told.
But it brings to my mind the third definition of 'father' up there: "one who performs the offices of a parent". Because although my Beloved has lost her father, there have been a fair few father figures in her life. From teachers and writers, to her mother at times and her older brother. Just as there are many different ways to be a father, there are many different ways you can have a father. In the sense of someone that takes care of you, counsels you and protects you, I think that most of us have many different people that are our fathers and parents throughout our lives, raising us to be the people we are today.

I'm in my twenties now, so my father isn't really much of a father, I'm old enough to take care of myself. So I don't really treat him like a father anymore, and he doesn't really treat me like a son. Instead, he's my Dad, he's family.
In fact, one day, I plan on marrying my Beloved. And she said to me that she wouldn't mind, one day, calling him 'Dad'. Not as any sort of replacement, since she loved and cares for her own father. But, just because we'd be family.
That's kind of what being a father is, it's no longer about being the foundation, but rather it's just one potential part of being a family. And hey one day, if things work out the way we've planned, I would like to be a father myself one day, for my own little family.
But for now, I'll just enjoy this father's day, with family. Even if that means just weeding the garden and having a quiet day to ourselves.

I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and until next time, you should all go spend some time with your family.

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