The other day, I was again stereotyped. I apparently write technical gibberish and use “flow charts” too often.
I wrote a post about Trello. Once! And I’d like to think that it helped some dad out there since it got a lot of shares!
Thus, the curse of a guy wearing glasses.
So, this post WILL NOT HAVE any structure or charts.
It’s just a plain post but hopefully, it can make you feel something.
Here is my story for this week and I hope you can help me get the dads out there to read this.
I listen to audiobooks everyday while driving to work. It keeps the mind working, keeps me awake, it’s a productive way to spend worthless commute time and it keeps me from being affected by the dumbass drivers here in Metro Manila.
I heard this letter the other day in one of my audiobooks and it had me thinking about how I will act. How I will discipline. How I will connect with our daughter.
Admittedly, I do blow a fuse every now and then, much like you and any other person out there. We are creatures of emotion, afterall. Remembering this letter will hopefully keep you and me on the right track.
True, this letter is from a father to his son, but it also applies to our daughters. If you haven’t seen this before, then you will love it.
BTW, please read this with the Morgan Freeman voice in your head… or you can listen to this while you read it.
Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
– W. Livingston Larned
We know parenthood is not all cookies and cream. It will take a lot of patience, a lot of discipline, a lot of self-criticism.
We will make mistakes. We will forget.
So, let’s try to remember.
Your kid will thank you for it and I don’t think you’d have it any other way.
If you liked this post, please do help us share this around. It might help someone you know and change their children’s futures.