The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16698   Message #157164
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
02-Jan-00 - 08:50 PM
Thread Name: The father / son thing
Subject: RE: The father / son thing
I don't think words matter too much. Like Doug, I can't ever remember my father saying "I love you" to me. And I don't know if I ever said it to him. And the same goes for my adult son.

But that doesn't mean there was ever any doubt about the feelings involved. It's a convention of reticence, which I don't think is anything to be ashamed of. And I don't think it's a particularly male thing either.

So I'd say to someone who was going to see my father or my son "give him my love", and I'd happily put "love" at the bottom of a letter - but face to face saying "I love you", that just didn't and doesn't feel right. It'd feel like one was trying to pass some kind of test, an ordeal to be gone through. The toes start curling at the thought.

So I'm afraid, I'm happy to send my love to all you Mudcatters (well, pretty well all) - but I'm not going to go writing things like "I really love you people." It's a cultural thing. With a surname like McGrath, six consonents and only one vowel, I'm probably part Klingon anyway.

All this I think is largely irrelevant to the difficulties that arise in relationships between fathers and sons, and probably mothers and daughters. Inevitably there's an element of rivalry and conflict here, even alongside great love. I think the best way of getting round this is to be involved in some shared project or task.

For some people music can be such a shared project. But in some cases music can be the very place where conflict arises, the place where independent identities are defined.

My impression is that young folkies fall into two categories - those who are following in the pattern set by their parents. And those who are into the music in reaction against parents who have very different musical preferences.