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Alan D Busch

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Fundamentals of Fathers and Sons
by Alan D Busch   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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A working draft of a preface to my manuscript in progress about the last several weeks of my father's life. Read my chapters, some already published, others in revision that I've posted in "My Stories".

Fundamentals of Fathers and Sons

This wasn't the first time my dad and I had crossed

rhetorical swords. I recall much earlier instances of heart to

heart dialogue with my father. The dialectic of father and son

has always intrigued me. And who should know better, have the

kind of insight I seek, than my own father?

Do we not refer to our father as “avi mori” my father, my

teacher? He’s been through it, been there and done it, right?

It’s a truism that children are natural mimics, and though a

simple truth, it is one replete with profound implications and

consequences. So important that even as a grown man with

three children, my mother would remind me of this when she

thought I had made a wrong decision or done something

with which she disagreed. "The children will do as you do," she

would remind me. Just doing her job, right? Voluntary

parental retirement is never an option. So I have no problem

with that.  Annoying? Yes, at times but necessary nonetheless.

From my side of the kitchen table, I enjoy bonding with my dad.

Always have. It’s the kind of satisfaction a boy must receive

from his father though it usually happens much earlier in the

formative years.

However, in this matter it also true that “later is better

than never”. That’s how it happened in my case. My father did

our “dor l’ dor"-generation to generation- bonding at the end of

his life rather than at the beginning of mine. It’s typically an

early life lesson for which reason it is placed at the beginning

of the siddur, the Jewish prayer book. 

“Shma beni mussar avicha v’al toras imecha.” ("Listen my son to your father's ethical instruction and to your mother's teachings.")

My father gets such nachas, joy, fatherly pride from our

interactions together. He thinks I'm so smart which is his

prerogative, I suppose, which I find funny because I happen to

think the very same thing about him. I haven’t the heart to tell

him otherwise nor am I referring to his technical adeptness

or academic credentials. Rather, how well can one’s father

delineate the shades of gray in life and be able to identify

those moments when there truly exist only black and white? 

In Jewish
prayer, we say: "Baruch ata Hashem …. Me’vorech

ha shanim." (Blessed are You Hashem, ... who blesses the

years.) I hope that a father should have acquired wisdom

enough to be able to explain that to his son. And he needn’t be

religious to do it although it doesn't hurt if he is.

can see my dad gearing up. It's as if he is testing my

"sticktoitiveness". Dad practices the pedagogic tactic of leading

me to the trough only to discover that he has set it upon its own

wheels. If I really want to quench my thirst, I have to follow

that trough. When I finally do catch up with it, I really hope I’m

worthy to receive the transmission of this oral tradition. It's

powerful stuff. When you think about it, it is really quite

dramatic, the revelation of the mystery behind the act of giving

over from father to son. I get to ask questions and listen while

my father tells his story to me, his son. Think about it … what

does he possess beyond the transient that he gives to me, the

very act of which assures his eternity, forging one more link in

the chain of our family mesora, tradition? The answer is simple.

His story, But it’s not the facts alone of his life experiences that

make this such a special event. By so doing he “enables” me to do

the very same thing for my son when it's our turn.

Every member of each generation of fathers and sons

participates, but what happens if and when the chain is broken?

When a death occurs as happened with my son Ben? We say it

is a tragedy, but why? Why is it a tragedy? A tragedy is that

which happens at the wrong time in history. Had Ben died as

an elderly man, his death would not have been tragic. My

father’s death at eighty-seven years is not a tragedy. Tragedy

disrupts the natural flow of events in time. Compounding the pain

of the “tragic” is its irreparable nature. Ben will never be a

father. I will never be a grandfather to his children. No child

will ever be able to say of Ben: ”This is my dad.”







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Reviewed by Micki Peluso

This would be a perfect preface to your book. I have read parts of this and enjoyed them all.


Ps I think --I know--I would have liked your dad--you do him great honor to share him with the world.
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