IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) facilitates a Global Dialogue on Fatherhood and Men's Issues which explores and addresses key challenges -- mental and physical health, real-life options, poverty, hunger, homelessness, Fatherlessness, parental alienation, mass incarceration, religious and ethnic intolerance -- which prevent Men and Boys from living healthier, purpose-driven, and longer lives.
28 May, 2018
THE UNIVERSAL CULTURE OF FATHERHOOD REPRESENTS THE ONLY IMMUTABLE DECREE TO NATURE IN ITS THROES OF DIVERSITY: RANDY L. COLLINS
The Universal Culture of Fatherhood is a way to understand and relate to the people and the world around us. It identifies us as parents, individual persons and as cohabitants who help to shape the world around them. By its very essence, it denotes authority and promotes responsibility. It is a concept whose concerns find their purpose inside the cause and effect reality we live in. Regardless of your religion or politics, despite your life’s philosophy, or whether you even have one, it cannot be refuted or denied that a causal relationship exists between what we do and the experiences that help to shape us as persons. If we don’t follow the rules of the road, we have an accident. If we don’t eat, we go hungry. If it rains, we will get wet. Regardless of what we may or may not believe, the fact is that what we do or do not do will have irrefutable consequences. If we do not do the things we need to do to build inner character we will have none.
Since our children are ill-equipped to understand the value of character, let alone how to build it, ii is our responsibility as adults to show them. As adults we have an obligation to provide for our young the safest learning, developing environment possible. Biology makes no difference. When we were young we were allowed to grow into adulthood within a privileged status. We were not necessarily bound by law. We held ‘most favored status” everywhere we went. Everything was provided for us. Biology did matter in the legal arena, but love and compassion mattered more in the human arena. When we were children and made mistakes, sometimes there were consequences, sometimes not. But there was always a lecture. The Universal Culture of Fatherhood represents an understanding that is critical: If we have no understanding, how can we share it? We need to understand our actions and behaviors with the same objectivity and sequential reasoning that others do. In other words, we must lean to “say what we mean and mean what we say.” We are unique and separate individuals each and every one. We each have distinct personalities and are capable of independent thought. Therein lies the seeds of creativity. But should we not learn that the ultimate expression of that creativity may restrict the natural diversity it seeks to protect?
We must also learn that people do not know what we mean unless we tell them. We must assume nothing. People see us as separate beings from themselves. We cannot read minds and neither can others. Despite our best efforts to guess numbers, we don’t have ESP. So, it becomes necessary to use whatever mutual tools of communication available, like reading, writing or speaking. You can see how communication might become difficult in the case of different languages, or even different dialects of the same language. But, in fact, any differences at all can cause miscommunication. People, things, and the world have reactions to the things we do or say that depend on what the world believes to be the motives behind our actions. The world’s reaction to what we say or do may be accurate, may be not. But it will always be consistent with the world’s first impression of the communications that came from us. Therefore, it becomes imperative that our communications are clear to others and are responded to appropriately.
Verbal communication in most often where bias and misinterpretation occur. Those we are attempting to communicate with may return the act in kind, reject our input, or interject causes of their own to neutralize whatever effects they may think we intend to set into motion. But they will always be responding to the perceived gambit we made. Precise, honest, and clear communication is a must, especially when attempting to teach our children to communicate. Communication or mis-communication occurs with frightening frequency. It can be caused by cultural bias, a speech impediment, language barriers of many types, but it all means communication deserves to be approached as a delicate process – a process that deserves our full and undivided attention. To be misunderstood is, in essence, to be locked out of the game, giving us no chance for anything other than being an occasional pawn. You are just as likely to be misunderstood as understood, especially if the person or persons with whom you are attempting to communicate with have different desired outcomes in mind than you do. People can and do sometimes choose to act confused – a tactic often used by salesmen when selling big ticket items. But we can influence the reaction of others simply by executing deliberate choice in displaying whatever motive we choose. We can choose to present ourselves as nice, as belligerent, as requesting help, as demanding help. We can choose to project many different emotional states or none at all. We can say “yes” or “no”, be agreeable, or disagreeable, polite or rude. Our attitude can be brusque, short, or compassionate.
What we will discover if we begin to interpret learning and communication as processes, and not singular events, is that people may look and sound different but they still need to accomplish very similar complex tasks. Universal principles and practices can be found in variations all over the world. These practices not only sustain life, but according to what environmental resources are found, promote different ways of doing things. These principles further mankind’s progress on his sojourn through life. In fact, we should not be surprised to discover that the same physical demands make themselves known to all peoples. Principles bear striking similarities to each other, but are achieved according to very different cultural norms and ways of doing things. Thus, it should come as no surprise that differences in cultures and languages only act as fuel for new discoveries and create newer ways of doing things. Cultural norms are involved within the process of evolution and will always undergo as much change as is necessary to promote growth.
To grasp this new understanding, we must first accept that the “desire to achieve self-expression:” is the inalienable right of all life forms. As long as the integrity of this basic principle remains sound, all else remains sound. The rudimentary status of this principle must be preserved when considering any life, yet the integrity implied inside the desire to achieve self expression must be maintained. Certainly, if you can see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, or feel it, it is expressing itself. But I speak of “expressing” in terms of the creative life force from within. This desire/drive to gain expression must ultimately be mirrored by the desire/drive to contribute to the other forces of life already in evidence. If any expression of life does not contribute to the sustenance of all forms, it is not conducive to living and should be avoided. As a species we must express the creative energy within us to survive.
Re-creation is another aspect of living that warrants further discussion. Re-creation is the chief form of expression. As humans, we are not just interested in eating and procreating, but expend a lot of energy managing the resources around us. We do this to insure our survival for generations to come. We not only manage the resources that are readily available, but use ingenuity to discover what is possible to create from the resources we have. Not only do we manage resources, but through a monumentally creative effort, we concoct them, mix and match them, and create new and more usable products out of them. In other words, we transform utility into versatility. We are also good at deductive reasoning and scientific thinking. As a result, our technologies and the awareness they produce have opened doors mankind didn’t even know existed.
We are fast approaching a new era. An age when we are only limited by our own self-restraint. An age when long distance travel is accomplished in hours, not days. An age when “culture shock” has become an irrelevant term. A time and world where the International Dateline is the only true border. A time when international norms are blending themselves to promote the uniformly universal language of business to act as a gateway of diplomacy between flights. We are fast blending time and space to become the global village of the past with future technologies. Inside that “global village” we must acknowledge our common humanity. And because our livelihoods rely upon technology, we must acknowledge that our future seems eerily reminiscent of our past. We have come so far so fast that perhaps we have left something of ourselves behind. Our future has approached so fast that the landscape of human cultures seems vast and incomprehensible. Also, we must begin to see that the landscape of human experience will expand and contract in spasms, giving birth to new blends of culture. We must avoid rigid unyielding thoughts. We must become pliable and able to absorb many variations of cultural norms and behaviors.
We must also maintain the universal characteristics of fatherhood as a benchmark for all cultural expressions of fatherhood. We must acknowledge that as individuals we have a good chance of being exposed to a number of variations of cultural norms in our lifetimes. We must also acknowledge that we may be asked by those significant others in our lives to interpret and translate cultural norms or languages into familiar terms so that they can understand. In other words, we must acquaint ourselves with differing ways of seeing the world through attitudes free of bias and preference. There are almost as many diverse cultures and languages as there are individual people. In fact, one of the identifying characteristics of individuality is to conform general characteristics in such a distinctive way as to suggest uniqueness.
The universal characteristics of fatherhood are also a way of empowering ourselves to become meaningful role models as parents. Parents who actively model and deliberately participate in the emotional education of their children, as well as parents who will endeavor to lay the foundations of higher learning as a platform from which their children could launch a meaningful and contributing future. A future filled with purpose, accomplishment and commitment. Parents who realize that there can be no purpose without commitment and that any effort that has no purpose is futile. Parents who understand that the only way to influence past results and future possibilities is through present intervention. Parents who wear purpose like a winter’s coat in February. This direction of purpose (by which we are all driven) is not designated to fit only certain genders, but identifies the individual who seeks to choose and to direct the consequential results of their actions and those of their young. This characteristic, this objectifying of self, is inherent to the Universal Culture of Fatherhood and incorporates Motherhood and Parenthood into itself by definition.
The Universal Culture of Fathehrood is not so much a designation as it is a functional description of a process that involves the “living” of life. The consequences of the actions involved in this process are quite simply the natural results of the actions of living life. Whether we are successful at this new philosophy of living is totally reliant upon our willingness to sacrifice our parental rights in favor of adopting a new set of parental responsibilities. In fact, our efforts or lack thereof will produce results commensurate with our activity or lack of it. This will be the only measuring stick and should not be applied in comparison to or as a gauge of any kind, since the life principle itself is based on diversity, and discourages comparisons and measurements.
Life’s randomness suggests that creativity may simply be the execution of deliberate and thoughtful choices. This statement will remain true no matter our dominant cultural upbringing. Our efforts will now have meaning, even if in the beginning those efforts largely produced confusion and as much mis-meaning as meaning. In other words, while trying to promote harmony with others by gaining and sharing a working understanding of the life sphere, we may inadvertently promote discord and misunderstanding. But not to worry, even here we are still on the road to success, because “a mistake is only a lesson in disguise.” As soon as a person discovers the correct answer, the previous mistake becomes a lesson. Usually, this understanding is a product of trial and error, but even circular reasoning holds the promise of new discovery.
To the deliberate and thoughtful man, this insight represents an opportunistic way of viewing his world, a way that is devoid of insecurity and paralyzing fear. A way of understanding the world we live in that allows us to achieve a personal understanding of ourselves and a comfort zone of knowledge from which we can share with our children. This way of understanding preserves and promotes life in all its pursuits. As a people, we gather together as large groups simply to promote safety and encourage creativity and understanding. As parents who relate through this intermingling, we often mix traditions and ways of doing things that create new opportunities to expand our thinking.
This intermingling also provides public forums to create and regulate social interactions. We are surrounded by opportunities to positively approach our future with optimism and hope. For the first time in the history of mankind we can contribute to the direction of our technological advancements to such a degree that we, in effect, can influence the direction of our future. It has never been possible that man could choose his path. Never has he controlled his resources to such a degree that he is able to exercise “free will” when choosing his lifestyle. The expressions he is now capable of go unmatched in history. It would not be too far fetched to say that if he can think it, someone somewhere is working on a way to do it.
We have managed our technology to the extent that it appears to be self-promoting. By sheer dint of numbers conflict is inevitable. We should not fear conflict, but we should avoid it whenever possible. It is counterproductive and futile. It also constitutes a wasteful drain for resources. We do not exist in a void, nor are we independent of each other. The actions we take as individuals, small groups and as majorities affect the outcome of the whole. We co-exist inside a medium with others of many persuasions. To those others, we ourselves are of a different persuasion. Yet, we acknowledge OUR right to self-expression. We must set aside divisive thinking and concentrate our efforts to accommodate all expressions of life.
Self-expression must become the invincible right of every world citizen. We must preserve the sanctity of life/expression with all the reverence we are capable of. We must begin to realize that expression of life is life, and that is desire to exist in expressing itself.