The Lost Souls: Boys Without Fathers

“Who does your Mummy love? Your Mummy loves you” said the young mother to her son. The child in the pram just giggled uncomprehendingly. He was giggling because his mummy, his precious protecting mummy, looked happy. He could not only see it in her eyes; her smile, he could also hear it in her voice. The reward he offered her was a toothless giggle, kicking his legs; defenceless to her love.

There was only him and her. No dad. Who needs them anyway, just needed inseminating, and then he was gone, she’d often think. Sent packing, rejected by anger, seated by her own mother’s rage.

As the little boy grew he looked around him for others to follow. The easiest way to do this, was to watch mother closely. Who takes her attention as well as him? There’s no one at first, and then he spots him. No normal man. He hangs on a cross in their local church.

St Michael's Church
St Michael’s Church Wolverhampton

An imposing figure, hung there, head bent, knees bent, nailed to a cross made of wood. A huge crucifix, suspended from the ceiling, by wires. It commands your attention; there’s a dying man – he’s always dying, never actually dead – cruelly nailed there.

As a young boy, it fascinated, appalled and frightened him, in equal measure. It seemed to him, there was no concern, for the impression it made on his mind: The emptiness and confusion it instilled there. Or was this not true, and the intention clear, to an adult observer that is. It was meant to inspire, shock; to fill one with awe, wonder and questions. This was who mother loved. This man hanging there seemed to take her attention. She played the organ for him. She sang to him.

“And so in the young boys mind the game begins. How to compete with the attention given to this man – so talked about – every Sunday, hanging there in front of him”

He mustn’t lie. He must be a good boy. He must never takes the lord’s name in vain. He must always listen to mother intently; always obedient. He will serve on the altar: carrying Christ’s spirit in a candle; giving the priest the body and blood of the man his mother loves. Would this child one day travel to Rome and become a priest himself; always baying for the attention of his mother? Some do.

Sons love their mothers and they watch them closely. A young child soon becomes aware of how their very survival depends on their parent/parents or carers love. A boy will compete for the love and attention of his mother. He may compete against a father, or any man, who’s seen as a potential threat; taking mothers attention away from him.

The reason he will do this is survival. He needs the love and attention of mother. He needs her love to survive. He needs her approval. Without it he could perish. He also needs this understanding, from the men in his mother’s life, or things get tricky. If mother has a succession of men in her life, things get confusing. If there are no men in mothers life, things become ill defined.

In the natural scheme of things, this competition for mothers attention, is healthy. Healthy, in respect of a sons need to model himself and aspire to who gets his mother’s attention, the most. Under normal circumstances this creates a bond between son and father. They both want mothers attention and competition is healthy.

“If it’s the son who wins this attention (instead of balance through appropriate understanding and boundaries) and mother has settled for having no meaningful relationships with men – who also love her son – the child’s development is affected”

His sexual development might be affected, as might his confidence, and direction in life. Good role models are a must for young boys so they may hold things together, and develop into balanced, rounded young men. The figures prove it. Whether single mothers like it or not, lads do need dads.

It’s not for us to suggest that single mothers aren’t doing their best. Many are, and they’re often doing this, through difficult circumstances. We must all love the single mother. Some men simply don’t have the courage to cope with being a father, once the relationship with the mother of his child, has broken down. Some single mothers are of the opinion that their exes make poor fathers. Some men are simply shits. Some women are manipulative, bigoted, and ignorant. Simply human.

Is it not the case that anything is better than nothing? We do know, with or without a father, the child may still turn to crime, drugs or whatever. However, with a father figure, at least he has the option of making a choice for himself.

He knows he was created by his father and will come to know the attention (and what kind) you gave that particular man. When the father is rejected, confusion sets in. On break up, calm, gentle conversation, with sons – from both mother and father – clears confusion. It becomes safe for the child to choose what parts of those around him – he might model himself on – and future become. Ideally the good parts.

“The lost souls of young boys cry our for understanding. What shall I be? Who am I? What is this being a man? How must I be?”

Although a difficult act to follow, the lost soul in our story, at least found someone, to model himself on. Far better to give our sons good, living examples, to follow. Single or not, they will love you, for it.

What is a Beautiful Life?

“It stands to reason, one persons version of what a beautiful life is, will differ to another. Even though this is the case, when it comes to the majority view, we do see a common theme”

This theme is the meta-system of established beliefs pertaining to creating a beautiful life. It follows that if we have all the components, that form this meta-system of beliefs, we will be happy, complete and living the dream, so to speak.

The question that arises, for the likes of those engaged in Personal Development, is this: What if that meta-system is something we don’t want to follow? What if we prefer to question the norms society dictates?

Does this list constitute a beautiful life?

  • Find the person of our dreams
  • Get married
  • Buy a house
  • Start a family
  • Work a nine to five
  • Raise a family
  • Retire
  • Die

We must bear in mind, the type of  list above, will always have a potential sublist of problems or pitfalls. For example how many marriages are strong enough to go the distance needed to raise a happy family? How many of us will find and maintain sufficient job security to support a mortgage? How many of us get to actually enjoy a healthy old age we’ve saved for all our lives? We could go on, and of course no matter the kind of life we choose, there will always be a sublist of problems we’re likely to face along the way. It’s just the nature of things.

“The point is, what we find ourselves striving for, in terms of finding happiness and beauty in life, really does come down to what we choose to believe”

Within our definition, of what Personal Development is, we state: “Knowing ourselves better, becoming more informed of our drivings, creates the advantage of removing conflict.”

This unconscious/conscious conflict could have been created through the model of what society teaches us – about finding beautiful lives – having not fitted with our experience of it. In other words, our childhood experiences – that have now become the unconscious model to aim for – didn’t fit the conscious societal model listed above. We have a conflict, between what the individual believes, and that of society as a whole.

“If we want to understand conflict and confusion better, take a moment to consider the propaganda presented by the media – concerning happy families – and compare that to the reality”

Those around us may have tried to fit the pattern but failed spectacularly. The millions of children raised by single parents, without sufficiently effective role-models to follow, stands testament to this failing.

“The model society teaches doesn’t work for all, and especially doesn’t work, when pursued by those who’re ill equipped to find it”

Taking a breath, in order to recap now, it becomes easier to understand. If what we experienced during childhood was a poor imitation of the ideal – of what society believes constitutes a beautiful life – then we will be ill equipped to follow it. We will attempt to follow it, only to find unhappiness, conflict and stress. All this unhappiness and stress is due to our attempts to follow an ideal that doesn’t exist in our unconscious mind. In one form or another we will end up repeating the mess our parents made of things. Unless: 

“What if we changed the list and learned that a beautiful life is something entirely different?”

A Beautiful Life is gained through: