So today is Father’s Day and I wanted to write about the dynamic for son’s that work with their dad’s. I manage my father’s musical career so we usually speak on the phone every day and our conversations can cover everything from tour routing and decisions about offers from promoters to tunes he’s considering playing for a TV show or new ideas for his online guitar academy. Lot’s of fathers and sons work together including Tony & Danny Bennett, Tom and Mark Jones, Rupert & James Murdoch and Ben & Jerry Stiller. There is a telepathy and trust you get with father and son teams that are difficult to replicate.
The downside is that the loving part of the relationship often gets forgotten if you speak about business everyday. With our relationship we’ve now set down some ground rules including trying not to speak business at the dinner table (we borrowed this one from The Godfather!) and to make time to do proper father and son things, although I haven’t yet persuaded him to take up cycling! It’s tough and made more difficult when you throw in physical distance (today I’m in California and he’s in New York), but somehow we make it work.
My brothers death over five years ago drew the two of us closer together. Much like the quote, I felt as a fourteen year old that my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years! The older I get the closer our relationship gets and the wiser I feel he becomes. There is also the moment you have when you look at your own hand and for a snap second you recognise in it’s lines and veins the hand of your own father.
Carl Jung said that a father is very important to a boy’s development of identity while Corneau argued that if the son does not develop positively towards the father, then the son runs the risk of developing negatively towards others in society. Jacques Lacan believed that in the son’s mind, the father’s body represents the law, and that the role of the father is to break the attachment the son feels to the mother and by extension himself. Writer Gerry Hassan wrote an insightful article this week about men in modern Scotland that I would encourage you to read.
Whatever the psychology there is certainly a competitiveness you find in father and son relationships which is perhaps understandable. Thankfully I am not a guitarist so I don’t have to compete on that field. We have different interests and I believe this makes our relationship richer as we introduce new ideas to each others lives.
Father’s Day is a time to be thankful for the influence your own father has had on your life. I count myself extremely lucky to have a very loving, compassionate dad because I realise for too many this is not the case. If you are fortunate enough to still have you father around I hope you take time today to reach out and tell him what he means to you.