On Fathers And Sons

On his blog, Ta-Nehisi Coates has a wonderful post about fathers and sons, called "Earning The Temporary Hatred Of Your Children."

After he "had it out" with his 10-year-old son, Coates reflected on the relationship he had with his father:

I think back on it now, and would say that between the ages of eight and seventeen, I really didn't like my Dad much. I respected the hell out of him. Loved the hell of out him. Thought he was the most honorable, most fair man I'd ever known. I was also intensely afraid (well into my 20s) that I would not live up to his example. But like him? No, I didn't much like him. If you asked him, I think he'd say that this was done by design.

Coates writes quite powerfully about the role of fathers — to teach, to love, to protect, and comes to terms with the fact that if he does all that, it's folly to think that an adolescent will "like" his father:

It's a little sad, because I see me and my son entering into that same place. I think he may like me more than I liked my Dad. But I won't be to him, what his mother is to him. That isn't our relationship. We have another eight years together. There's a lot to learn, and some unavoidable portion of it will hurt. What gives me some hope is that I've retained my respect for my Dad, I like him a great deal now. He's one of my best friends, and my ultimate mentor. God willing, me and the boy will get to that same place.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.