"Boys look for the warrior path. Someone must teach them how to find it, and how to walk it. If they are not taught this, they will try to find it on their own, and they will miss it."
I'm not sure if I read this, or if it is something that someone told me. It has the taste of something I was told.
The male of the human species is aggressive. It is hard-wired into our systems on a genetic level, and has been for the last 250,000 years.
4,000 years of civilization does not, can not, and will not erase 200,000 years of blood-and-bone instinct, no matter how much people wish it would.
My father was a strong man. Every child's father is strong, but mine was scarily so. I saw him lift things at the plant that other men required help to lift.
I never, ever saw him touch my mother -- or any other woman for that matter -- with anything but gentleness. I can't say the same for me -- he tanned my hide more than once -- but never more than necessary and never with anything but a fraction of his strength.
My father stood tall, and I saw how to do that without crushing other people.
He showed respect where respect was due, and he expected the same in return. However, when faced with disrespect, my father did not react with violence, he either ignored it, or dealt with it in other ways. Walking with him, I learned the same.
I learned, as I walked with him, of duties, responsibilities and obligations, and how they were more important than those things which you felt you deserved. I learned to accept when I was in the wrong, and to accept the results with grace.
That's the thing about walking the warrior path. 'When' and 'how' to use your strength is easy to learn. It's learning not to use your strength where people -- boys -- stumble.
I have had many people show me further along the path, but each part of that journey is based upon the baby steps that my father showed me. Everything that I am, is based upon those steps that my father showed me.
I write this, because I have just realized that my father has been dead for a longer part of my life than he was alive for.
A fact which just really sucks today.
I love you, Dad. Thanks.