One Of The Guys

Parenting, there is no handbook.  Well there is.  But each person has their own spin on the how to and at the end of the day, there are no right answers.

Being a father has probably been "THE" event I look forwarded to the most in life, for a plethora of reasons.  But the biggest reason I wanted to be a father, was I needed to prove to myself I could be a better father than my non existent father.

My parents, who met in the Army, had been married three years prior to my arrival.  What I remember as a young child is living in a happy home.  However that was not the case.  I was unaware of the marital strife occurring between my parents.  What I was not aware of was a home filled with alcohol, domestic abuse and infidelity.  And while I was blind to most of what was going on, there was one thing I was not blind to...my inattentive father.  It's very hard for me to even call him a father as I write this.  Because he spent little time with us nor met any of our basic needs. For you see after my parents divorced, I spent most of my formative years, without any fatherly guidance.  He, through divorce, had pawned all that off onto my mother.  And what even made it worse, was he took on the parenting role to his girlfriends daughters, while neglecting his biological sons of his time and resources.  Thus the result was, we never grew up having a real father to guide us. So having that as a backdrop of my life. I made it my mission to be the be the best damn dad in the world.

Well guess what...I'm not the best damn dad in the world.  As a matter of fact, I'm far from it.  Now don't get me wrong, I really believe I'm a great father.  But I truly can't claim to be the best damn dad in the world...because in the word of The Highlander, "There can only be one".  However to my kids, I can claim, with confidence, that I'm a great father.  Yet even though I can make such a bold claim, I have to admit,  I inherited some of my fathers traits.  However I truly didn't realize that until just recently.  And wow did that hit me hard.  For you see, I have provided all their material and most of their emotional needs. But I have failed in listening to their needs which will shape them into a man for themselves.

Case in point.  Recently my youngest son, who can be described as a bundle of energy and a spitfire to wrangle came to me with a request.  He wanted me to take him to a philanthropic event, because he enjoyed doing it.  However his request conflicted with an activity I loved to do.  Something that I've enjoyed more so than my son.  So each time he asked of me to take him, I told him that I already had something planned. And then reality hit me!  It was during my long forty-five minute commute to work.  I heard that inner voice in me saying, you are becoming your father!  At which time my mind hearkened back to an event in my younger years, prior to my parents divorce.  A memory of my father, which is not pleasant.

My father loved his boat, fishing and beer.  In Ohio were I grew up, Lake Erie was an hour and half drive and Canada within a few hours.  And what does that mean?  Some of the best fishing you can experience, without driving to the ocean.  However I experienced very little of this.  Because the overwhelming majority of the time, fishing was a guy thing and I wasn't one of the guys.  I remember him prepping the boat, one hot summer day.  And I recall asking him this exact question.  Can I go with you on your fishing trip?  And his response cut me to the bone.  No, this is a trip with the guys.  And that response said it all.  I was not one of the guys.  That his time with his friends and their activity was more important than sharing that time with his son.

So I came back to 2019 and I knew what I had to do.  I needed to give up something I loved for something my son wanted to do.  We needed to do something as guys, as he wanted to.  And the experience was bonding.  And in the process, I got to witness my son mature as a loving, giving person.  As well as having fun working assisting other kids of the community, who aren't as fortunate as he.

So let me say this in closing. Not everything your children ask you to do, has to be done.  However don't dismiss that inner voice which tells you, maybe I need to participate in what he/she is asking me to do.  Learn to listen to your kids, ESPECIALLY when they are asking for your time.  Because once that moment is gone, it can't be retrieved to change the outcome.  And that outcome, good or bad, will stay with your kids the remainder of their life.

Peace, Love & Chokes,

Will h.


















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