Saturday, July 20, 2019

Love and Submission (5) Fathers and Sons

The relationship between a father and a son begins with love, not authority. When a baby is born, all the father can do is love and provide for his son. He has no authority to tell his baby son what to do, because the son cannot speak or understand commands.

As he grows the son submits to his father authority, because recognises his father’s love. The father can reinforce his authority by picking up the son and carrying where he wants him to go. He can also strengthen his authority with sanctions, such as timeout or loss of privileges.

If the father threatens physical force, he might obey his father out of fear, but that is not ideal. Physical discipline creates imposed authority, because the resulting submission is due to fear, not love.

When the son gets older, he realises that he does not have to obey his father, if he does not want to. The father’s authority can disappear, if his son does not understand his father’s love.

Adult sons usually leave their father’s home. They will continue to appreciate their father’s advice, so the father still has limited authority in his son’s life.

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