The Likability Factor

I’ve posted before about the ramifications of my son growing up to be someone I can’t stand, and about the inconvenience of him preferring his mother to me. But I haven’t really delved into the bigger issue that comes with the question of who my son prefers, or, really, whether my son likes MomandBuried or me at all.

Does it even matter if my son likes me?

From a practical perspective, I’m inclined to think not.

Sure, it will be a lot more pleasant for everyone if we get along, but in the grand scheme of things, garnering his affection should probably be my last priority, ranking well behind keeping him safe, making sure he grows up right, has the proper tools he’ll need to succeed in life and be a good person, and not have any weird sexual fetishes like XXXXXXXXX or XXXXXXX XXXXXX (references to specific fetishes have been censored by MomandBuried). I happen to have a good relationship with my dad and, give or take a few typical bumps in the road, we get along pretty well. But he wasn’t afraid to sacrifice my “friendship” when it came to more important things.

Don’t get me wrong, my father was no Great Santini. And I don’t plan to be a psycho martinet intent on sacrificing the softer sides of my personality in order to mold my son into some kind of Stepford child. But if I’m going to be a real parent, and I want to make sure he grows up right and isn’t some spoiled punk, I can’t go around currying his favor and worrying about whether he thinks I’m cool or not. He’ll know I’m cool. And if we’re not friends, it will probably be because he’s a nerd or something.

He’s going to be who he is whether he likes me or not. Sometimes his personality and interests and values will overlap with mine, sometimes they won’t. Most of the time it will be out of his control. If he hates me, he’ll rebel against the things he associates with me, but if he likes me the odds are he’ll rebel against those things at some point anyway. At the end of the day, i.e., when he hits his thirties, he’s going to be whoever he’s going to be. Whether by that point he’s hated my guts all his life or worshiped the ground I walked on, he won’t be able to prevent himself from being a lot more like me, and like his mom, than he will ever anticipate. And that, of course, is the ultimate parental revenge. Well, that and circumcision.

It’s neither my job nor within my control to dictate his personality, so it seems pointless to worry if ours will clash or not. I’m his father, there’s no way around eventual clashing. I am just going to suck it up and make sure I focus on raising a good kid. If we happen to be friends along the way, that’ll be a nice little bonus.

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