“All fathers love their sons.”
– Splinter & Danny, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
In honor of Father’s Day, a tribute to fathers in general and mine in particular.
It’s not an easy job. Fathers need to be a figure of authority and discipline, and sometimes that means making the kids do things they don’t want to do, things which aren’t fun. More often than not, no matter how good a father one is, there will always be something that they see and somehow interpret as “not caring,” when the truth is exactly the opposite.
Not understanding, not comprehending, the child, boy or girl, will often lash out, do stupid things, make stupid choices, sometimes without even having a fully-formed reason for doing so. They’re running on pure emotion, and think they’re more enlightened than their parents. That’s when a predator swoops in, taking advantage of their confusion, promising new things, great things, grand goals which are easily achieved. It’s very easy to be drawn down a wrong path. And sooner or later, the boy believes not only that his father does not love him, but that, on some level, he does not deserve to be loved.
But the truth is that fathers, like mothers, will always love their children, whether they deserve it or not. Happily, when one remembers that truth, and awakens to it, sees it at long last, it can be the guiding light which saves a wayward son or daughter.
A son needs his father’s love, after all. And when you finally have something you need, you’re little less lost than you were before.
When Splinter, an old rat with four adopted amphibian sons, says this quote, it is to one such wayward boy by the name of Danny. Their conversation has turned to family and safety, and Splinter asks the boy, “And what of you, Danny? Have you no refuge to turn to? No parent?” Danny, jilted and corrupted by the Shredder’s seductive ways, replies, “No. My dad couldn’t care less about me.” To which Splinter replies, sagely, “I doubt that is true.” Danny asks, “Why?” And Splinter, no doubt thinking in part of his own family in their hour of need, answers, “All fathers love their sons.”
That single line has stayed with me ever since I saw this movie for the first time. Even when I didn’t understand everything about the movie, even when I didn’t fully appreciate the reunion of Danny and his father at the end of it when I was so little, even when I didn’t fully see how the Shredder represents a false, predatory impersonation of love whereas Splinter and the turtles have a pure bond between them… somehow, I’ve never forgotten those words.
It’s no secret in my family that my father and I have often not seen eye to eye. We’ve had our issues, as every family does. But I love my father. And I know he loves me. Whatever troubles come up, whatever arguments are in our past, whatever stupid things we will do and say, we love each other.
That is something which the world would tell me is increasingly rare. Perhaps they’re right, or perhaps not. Either way, I am blessed to have my father.
And to him I say…
I love you, Dad. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me. Even when I was very uncooperative. 😉
Happy Father’s Day!