To Great Fathers

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Biological fathers can skip this article unless they otherwise qualify for the salutation.

Great fathers are known for two very fundamental qualities; supporting the welfare of those in their care, and working to secure a path to an even better future for those in their care. Such was the case with most of our founding fathers. Such has been the case with most of our Presidents. Such has been the case for a majority of men in America throughout its history. Each generation of great fathers work not only to preserve what is good, but to make what is ill, better.

What does this mean for fathers in the 21st century?

The answer to this question will vary widely among men in America. A few of these answers would be true for most men, if queried in a poll. But, often progress is retarded by a generation of fathers failing to recognize what is ill in their time, as well as others failing their duty to make what ills are recognized, better. Some examples are in order.

Quintessential among the needs recognized by most fathers is the preservation of the human species. That means space exploration. Time, money, and effort is required to prepare for a future in which the Mother Earth will no longer sustain the children of today's fathers. Should this be a top priority for the U.S. government and governments around the globe? Yes. Is it? Only for some, less short sighted and engrossed in the greed for abundance now.

What a wasted investment in space exploration if the Fathers of today and tomorrow fail to treat Mother Earth with as much love and care as for their own children. Should protecting and defending our planet's capacity to sustain our children and theirs be a top priority for our government and others? Immediately, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs must enter into the answer to this question. Folks can bicker about the the elements of each level of Maslow's hierarchy, but, it is obvious to the common sense that such a hierarchy exists for all of us.

Therefore, should wealthy and self-realized nations make accommodation for nations of people still struggling for food and water, for protection and safety of family as well as time and energy for love and intimacy with their family? Is it not a wise investment in our children's future's to work diligently as resources permit, to assist other nation's and people's to fulfill their needs lower on the hierarchy so that they may join us in our own level of efforts down the road? It would seem to appeal to the wisdom in us.

Maslow's hierarchy applies to individuals. But, there is also a separate but similar hierarchy for nations. Similar, but by no means the same. Every generation of fathers will see only a few of its members ever become self-actualized. But self-actualization for many individuals is both possible and achievable, given the right circumstances and awareness of the value of striving for it. Our Founding Fathers laid down what might be called the self-actualization level for nations.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

For a nation to reach such levels of self-actualization, it is indispensable that such a nation provide for its leadership such persons who are themselves, self-actualized. In Maslow's view, self-actualized leaders demonstrate the following qualities:

  • morality - the ability to act in a manner which is right and just
  • creativity - the ability to peer into the causes of problems and obstacles and devise methods of solving those problems and removing those obstacles in accordance with moral action.
  • spontaneity - that agility to respond, appropriately, to one's own and the needs of others, whether that need be for laughter, counsel, or security.
  • lack of prejudice - prejudice blinds one to one's own needs and those of others, and obscures the ability to perceive the causation of problems or recognize obstacles for what they are. Self-actualized leadership requires an awareness and avoidance of prejudice within oneself. This is a rare quality amongst people, and rarer still amongst leaders.
  • acceptance of facts - in the absence of prejudice, self actualized leaders are capable of facing facts squarely, stubborn as they are, and respond appropriately to them. This is after all, the very heart of the definition of responsibility.

In a democracy where the majority of voters may never themselves become self-actualized, success depends intrinsically upon those voters nonetheless, recognizing self-actualization and the absence of it, in their selection of leaders to guide them and their children into the future. If modern education fails to instill in its students this capacity to recognize self-actualization, the self-actualization of the nation cannot be realized, nor even approximated. There is no more fundamental problem facing the United States than this. The failure of our educational systems to accept and teach the necessity for such education in our children's schools, private, public, elementary to post graduate, constitutes a failure of our nation to succeed going forward.

Mediocrity of leadership is what America has suffered for decades, and is now experiencing in full view from its leaders. Mediocrity knows not the wisdom of stepping down from leadership. That is left to the voters. Mediocrity will reelect itself in perpetuity, if allowed. It is left to the voters to rid themselves of mediocre leadership in government. This is the mandate of history that is now thrust upon the American people and voters. We live in the most complex world of human affairs ever in the history of our species. The need for self-actualized leaders has never been greater than today. Are Americans up to this mandate?

We will not have long to wait for the answer to that question. Perhaps a decade, no more. But, to all those Great Fathers from our nation's founding to those amongst us as co-workers, friends, supervisors and leaders, and to those young men ardently striving to become Great Fathers themselves, this day is your day, to be honored, respected, and loved for showing the way.

(Father's Day - 2008)

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on June 15, 2008 4:38 PM.

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