“There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.” — Henry Ward Beecher
Dates are filled with meaning and memories. Social media adds even more resonance to dates by showing us pictures from ‘this day’ in years past and reminding us of birthdays.
For many, this week marks the religious celebrations of Easter and Passover.
For me, this long weekend focuses my thoughts on Kamal (my younger son born on April 7th in London, England who turns 22 years old) and on my father (Jay, born on April 9th in New Delhi, India who would be 81 years old). I thought it fitting to find quotes from the Jewish and Christian traditions to mark the importance of the impact that fathers can have on their sons.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” — Proverbs 22:6
As I age, I realize that I want for my two sons the same thing my father hoped for me — good health, love and friendship, fulfillment in work, and inner peace. When I heard earlier this week from Kamal that he was happy and ‘living his best life’, those words made my heart sing. I suspect when I shared positive thoughts with my father, he felt similarly lighter and better.
Alex Haley wrote, “In every conceivable manner, the family is [a] link to our past, [a] bridge to our future.” Those words so powerfully describe how I feel.
My father connects me back to India, to my heritage. While he disapproved of the Hindu nationalism taking center stage in today’s politics, he was proud of the rich and varied cultural and religious traditions of India. He set an example for me by always trying to help others, find connections between people and make the best of everyday, even when things weren’t going so well. I strive to be as positive and upbeat as he always seemed to be, at least in public.
“When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.” — Talmud
My son connects me to the future. His interest in making the world a better place — both in the way we accept, tolerate and love each other as equal human beings, and in his interest in using technology to create a better planet — inspire me to be curious and open to new and different ideas. Through his example I know that younger people, and anyone with different life experiences can teach me a lot.
In many ways, Jay and Kamal are incredibly similar. Warm-hearted, witty, usually smiling, able to easily make friends and converse with anyone. In my son, I see the best facets of my father. So it is fitting that on one weekend I can celebrate them both.
“When I was a boy of fourteen, 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.” — attributed to Mark Twain