Becoming the Kind Father

In our hyper-masculine world, boys are taught that being a man means not feeling anything and showing emotions is a sign of weakness. Compassion, warmth and empathy are to be avoided at all costs. But as Calvin Sandborn points out in his thoughtful book, Becoming the Kind Father, most men are starved for some understanding and kindness.

Sandborn starts off his book discussing the high price of masculinity. Trained to react to emotional stress in unhealthy ways, men have a higher mortality rate from heart disease and more stress-related diseases. Men's suicide rates are four times higher than women's and two-thirds of all alcoholics are men. Twice as many men die from accidents and three times from homicides. Being macho is hazard to a man's health.

But for Sandborn the real tragedy lies in the emotional life of men. Devoid of connection, shut off from their feelings, many men go through life feeling numb, unable to express themselves except by being angry. Sandborn, a successful lawyer, reformer, musician and author, writes honestly about his own struggles with feelings of inadequacy and his alienation from those he loves. Using childhood anecdotes he traces the roots of his problems back to this own painful relationship with an angry, alcoholic father.

Sandborn generously shares his journey to unravel the internalized voice of his abusive father. But there is no quick fix-it--the kind so many self-help books promise--but that makes us trust him. Sandborn painstakingly examines how forgotten childhood lessons still reverberate in his adult life. His way out of his own anger was to discover the wisdom of unconditional love and the the voice of the kind father. In becoming the kind father, Sandborn forgives his own father and become a more balanced person.

Through his honesty and insight, Sandborn gives the reader a book that is both an autobiography and a guide into the heart of men. A lovely gift to give any father.

Becoming the Kind Father, A Son's Journey, Calvin Sandborn, New Society Publishers, ISBN 978-0-86571-582-0