The teacher at the writers’ conference offered helpful suggestions for my work in progress. However, he expressed puzzlement at the story’s relationship between the young man, my main character, and his father.
The protagonist was raised in Appalachia, had gone away to college, and was now in conflict with his father, a conflict that deeply troubled the young man. He is choosing a profession that the father disapproves of.
“Why,” the teacher asked, “would a man in his early twenties care what his father thought of his choices?”
I could not explain the importance of family, especially in more rural settings. I could not explain how love between some parents and children remains important to their relationship.
Adult children are obligated to act as adults. Men and women leave their birth homes and form homes of their own. Jesus said a man shouldn’t use a parent as an excuse for not following his own calling.
The young man in my story continues in his chosen vocation. Later, he and his father reconcile. They are able to do this because of their love for each other.
The independence that a healthy adult child assumes does not preclude a caring relationship with his birth family.