Mature Husbands and Fathers
The Prodigal Father: Reuniting Fathers and Their Children, by Mark Bryan, is about the problem of fathers who have abandoned their families in one way or another--by actually leaving, or by absence due to overwork, or emotionally through addictions, etc. On the first page of the book is this quote, "The most urgent domestic challenge facing the United States at the close of the twentieth century is the re-creation of fatherhood as a vital social role for men." I think maybe the same can be said about post-Assembly families.
Assembly families were for the most part physically intact, partly due to the extreme sanctions on divorce. But the non-involvement of fathers due to Assembly obligations, plus the extreme teaching on the authoritarian role of the husband, often resulted in alienation within the family. This, along with the enforced dependency and immaturity, and the terrible example set by George Geftakys and other leaders, damaged a lot of men in the Assembly.
This book provides a good list of characteristics of male maturity. The author doesn't put a burden of guilt on fathers. He encourages change in the right direction. He says, "We are meant to develop into more mature adults. Nobody is perfect....here is where we are headed."
- When a man is in full possession of his manly powers, he will be able to set boundaries with himself and others. He will not yield to the weaknesses of youthful excess. He will no longer womanize or be overly dependent on a woman to give him his identity. He will not be grandiose or immature with money. He will be able to direct his life to higher purposes.
- A mature man will not let another's anger or disapproval deter him from his goals, if they are just and fair. A mature man can face wrath without running or becoming brutal. He will stick to the mission of knowing his children.
- A mature man will not use his sensuality to escape his sensitivity. He will possess the discipline to discontinue those activities that harm him. He will see that he loses self-respect when drinking or drugging to excess. He will keep his self-respect and not fall victim to other forms of addiction such as sports, food, gambling or pornography, which could keep him from his children and dilute his strength of will and personal power.
- A mature man will not cheat or be cheated upon. He will have the strength to resist temptation and to leave those who do not respect him. Any cheating--whether on his wife, the IRS, or his child support--hurts his sense of honor and helps to drive away the people he loves.
- A mature man will not isolate himself from other men. He will be willing to ask for help and take guidance. He will try to show his true emotions and will not wallow in self-pity or blame others for his failures.
- Finally, the mature man is not gullible. He will spot materialism for what it is, and he will recognize someone who wants to use him in some way. He might make mistakes--who doesn't?--but he will not idealize other people and he will be able to recognize ill will when he encounters it. He will be steadfast and work to increase his own power while avoiding unnecessary conflict. He will be able to earn and demand what is rightfully his.
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