A Father’s Instruction Manual 


I realize now there never was '

a father’s instruction manual 

passed on in writing or 

by the storyteller’s oratory. 


No, what began even farther 

back than the reckoning 

of the seven generations 

of men who fathered children, 


was the inheritance of character 

or lack of, demonstrated not 

as much in spoken lessons, 

but in the actions modeled 


for all little boys and girls. 

The words unspoken might 

well have been prefaced 

by a declaration that this is 


how you live a life, 

filled with a reasoned 

sense of self-love 

or laid victim by 


the generative events 

begun from the seventh 

father back on to the present. 

Then the question for father’s 


all, what kind of instruction 

manual do you want your 

children to inherit, one 

that is left to supposition 


and imagination from 

the genealogical ethers, 

or one that is viscerally 

felt and realized not only 


in words yet in modeling 

what a good life lived 

looks like? The time to begin is now.



©Paul Goldman June 19, 2022

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