The stories we tell about our Dads can shape the way we feel about ourselves and about the world. If your father was distant or critical, you may struggle with the idea that you’re not “man enough.” You may also have a hard time trusting that others will accept you when you’re just being yourself.
On the flip side, your Dad may feel pain and regret for his inability to connect with you. Few men are encouraged to develop their relational skills as they grow up–in fact, they are often actively discouraged from developing those skills. This was even more true for our Dads’ generations.
However, this doesn’t mean that all hope of developing an amazing relationship with your Dad is lost. Maybe all you need to do is rewrite the story. This week’s guest, author and Jazz musician Tim Clausen spent a lot of time interviewing gay men about their experiences with their fathers, an exercise that enabled them to see their fathers as fully human, and to forgive them when necessary. It also allowed them to redefine their own lives and break free from faulty assumptions about themselves and their fathers.
Tim’s own story of reconnecting with his widowed father is encouraging and inspiring. By simply asking his Dad the same kinds of questions he asks the interview subjects for his books, he was able to open the door to a deep and lasting friendship with his Dad before he passed away.
Milwaukee area native Tim Clausen is a jazz and blues pianist rooted in the great stride-piano tradition. Self-taught, his stylistic influences include jazz giants Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, Ahmad Jamal, and Carl Perkins. Tim has been a featured pianist at many of Milwaukee’s finest restaurants, hotels, arts centers and special events, and he has performed at jazz engagements in Houston, Philadelphia and Paris, France. In his related work as jazz biographer, Tim has interviewed dozens of jazz legends while putting together musical histories on his two favorite jazz pianists, Erroll Garner and Dave Catney.
Not the Son He Expected: Gay Men Talk Candidly About Their Relationship With Their Father
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