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
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
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.
Relationship Checklist and Dave Sable's article,
Who Is Your Daddy on this website, provide additional insight on
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