It is so important to have strong, male role-models in our families and community. Women alone cannot save the world. We need both parents, and the community to raise our children. It is an all-in effort. That said, the deterioration of fatherhood in many parts of our land is directly hacking away at the foundation of what keeps America moving forward. The importance of having upright fathers who are a positive and nurturing presence in the lives of their children cannot be underrated but must be trumped out in front and protected, if our communities are to have any hope of raising strong, healthy children to lead us forward into each new age.
I think of my own father and his manhood….
My late-Dad could have been Clint Eastwood’s brother. Their is an uncanny physical and personality resemblance. Dad was a rolling stone who was working on fishing schooners traveling from the Southern California coast to Hawai’i by the age of eighteen. He was a sea-cowboy in that facet of his life. One of his jobs at the end of each day when out at sea was putting his mouth on the gasoline hose, blowing into it and clearing the line of gas. Then afterwards, he would eat his dinner. My Dad, the product of a divorced household early on, was a rogue cowboy in many ways, as are so many other fellow Americans. He had to kind of rise himself. After his job out at sea he played college football in Colorado, played in the Rose Bowl and went on to be an All-Army football star.
Mr. Eastwood depicted cowboys and complex guys focused on bringing justice, being real with people and looking out for ‘the little guy.’ Dad was a Special Forces Airborne Ranger with the 101st and a U.S. Marines. The generals loved him. As a Marine, Dad went to Korea, but as a Screaming Eagle with the 101st Airborne Division, Eisenhower sent his team to protect the black children in Little Rock, Arkansas as they attempted to enter school during the time of the civil rights era. There was never a dull moment. My father was an American ‘on-the-go.’
Clint Eastwood’s films, such as ‘White Hunter, Black Heart’ are etched into my conscious, as are his Dirty Harry movies, the funny one he made with the orangutang, and in his later years, ‘In the Line of Fire,’ ‘Absolute Power,’ and even his Bridges of Madison County with the wonderful and beautiful Meryl Streep. His ‘Westerns’ are the stuff of legend, like ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,’ and ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales.’ In many of his films we are given a contemplating and righteous man. An independent thinker comfortable in a world that is not always hospitable. A man not afraid to walk alone and stick to his principles. That was my Dad too.
Dad was like that. He kept remaking himself over and over again, keeping himself moving forward in each new chapter of his life, just like a rolling stone. After his service in the U.S. armed forces, my late-father continued to develop and eventually managed world-class hotels and resorts around the world. His cowboy ways continued as he settled in Puerto Rico and began the first ever Puerto Rico Sky Diving Association and Team. He and the team jumped all across the coast and interior of the island, and then went on to represent Puerto Rico around the world by jumping into multiple countries around the globe. Mind you at a time when no one skydived. Dad was the first ever to freewill over the Puerto Rican skies.
Eastwood’s connection with owning and respecting guns was also shared in my family. Dad kept a 357 Magnum and a PPK Walter locked away which he would carefully let us see once every 1.8 years. Incidentally, the Magnum is the gun used by Eastwood in his Dirty Harry movies and the PPK Walter is the original James Bond pistol.
Dad was both tough and soft with his children and he loved his children and grandchildren dearly. His daughters were his princesses and darlings. I was his boy. His only boy… and he poured himself into me, just like Mr. Eastwood has apparently done with his seven children, including his oldest, Kyle, an accomplished musician.
Dad’s can be manly and nurturing all at the same time. Their constant presence in the lives of their children strengthens the fabric of our society from the inside out and leads to keeping communities flourishing soundly.
What simple actions can i and you as Dad’s do today to embolden our children today with love?