Eng 101 – AIN1
June 7, 2015 A paternal relationship can sometimes become romanticized based on what we think a father is supposed to mean to his child. My own relationship with my father exemplifies what art critic, John Berger discusses in “Ways of Seeing” when he states, “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe” (8). As I relate this to my own experiences with my father, I see how I made him into something he never was, based on my own perception of what a father is supposed to be. Thus supporting Berger’s theory that what we believe can affect our view of a person.
In Ways of Seeing, John Berger details an explanation for the conflicting effect the brain and one’s personal beliefs have on the situations we encounter in life. He explains that our assumptions “mystify rather than clarify” (11). My assumptions of how fathers should act are colored by what I saw on television. Seeing fathers on different shows, I saw participation in their children’s lives rather which was quite the contrary of my father; absent at softball games and talent shows. I rarely saw a father on television with a beer in their hand like my dad. There were censorship on these shows, but I never got the impression that these fathers would swear in front of their children casually like mine had in front of my brother and me.
At a young age, the father that was presented to me in the media had painted a picture that defined the standards of what a father should be. To site a specific example, the television show Full House’s character Danny Tanner showed me a kind, caring, loving, attentive father. He showed me someone who was insightful, involved and eager to be a part of his children’s lives. My parents divorced when I was four years old. I have little knowledge of the details surrounding their break up or how my brother and I came to live with my father and his parents. As a young child, I saw my father as a hardworking man in the union, who always ensured that we did not go without anything we needed. I always had nice clothing; I was a cheerleader and a softball player. My brother played baseball and participated in football as well. My dad took us camping once. We spent time together at holidays. Christmas morning in our home was always an exciting time with lots of presents under the tree. I was a normal child with a normal upbringing. As I grew older, my view of my father became shattered when I realized what the reality truly was.
As a teenager, I started to see some things that I questioned. Why didn’t my father show us more attention? Why wasn’t he my softball coach? Why didn’t he attend parent/teacher conferences? My father is a heavy smoker and never hid that from us. I knew that he drank after work and as time passed, he started to offer to let us drink around him. Danny Tanner did not smoke or drink or disappear for days at a time. I questioned my father’s leniency. I thought, should a parent really condone that sort of behavior and enable it? I remember when I was around fifteen years old my dad started smoking pot around my brother and I and even allowed my brother to partake. Being exposed to this seemed a little strange to me, but on some level I thought perhaps it was part of growing up. As my brother and I continued to progress through our teenage years, I saw more and more of his behavior. These observations started to make me wonder if this was normal or if this was wrong. Little did I know the irony in my comparison of my own father to Full House’s Danny Tanner. Bob Saget, the actor who plays that character, is reputable for his vulgarity and sometimes inappropriate humor. Perhaps in reality Bob Saget is more similar to my father than I realized while watching the “goody two shoes” father of three girls on the show.
When I was in my second semester of my freshman year of college, my dad announced that he was moving to Florida. Three days