Tuesday, October 10, 2017

As for me - I will stand.

     These words should sound familiar:

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

                   -Declaration of Independence

 And while I am at it – how about these words:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

And an unknown verse of a very well known song –

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

                 -The Star Spangled Banner

And again, even more familiar words – 

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic
for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
with liberty and justice for all.

How do I feel about the whole kneeling thing? Well, let me just start by looking back at the true intentions of our country. We were founded by men and woman that were escaping the entrapments of a King. They wanted to have more freedom to be the people they wanted to be by the simple rights of being a human being. Those truths were self evident that all men (people) are equal. All people have the right to pursue a life, liberty, and happiness.

     Do people have the right to kneel at the base of our flag. Sure. Do they have the right to forego singing our anthem and pledging allegiance to our flag? Absolutely. Do people have the right to burn the flag in protest? Yes.

     Will I do that? Absolutely not.

     We all know that our country is free and we will sing our patriotism from one shore to another. Of course, there are many that will also take freedom to a point where they challenge any and all to just, by God, try and take away their freedom. Is this just a test of what freedom really is or is it just people feeling their licensed defiant inner child? Looking at the news, it is hard to tell.

What I feel is true though, is kneeling before the flag and anthem in order to protest the hate crimes in our society is a sign that you do not agree with the symbolism of what they represent or what they signify. I mean, when I see the our flag, Old Glory, I see a symbol of what it represents. It is not just some stars and stripes that are randomly sewn together. It is a purposely thought out and deliberate symbol.

Here is all the symbolism of our flag:

Stars are a symbol of the heavens and the goals to which humankind aspires; stripes are symbolic of rays of light from the sun. Thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen colonies that declared independence from England; fifty stars symbolize the current 50 United States. White signifies purity and innocence, red signifies valor and bravery; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

So. . . if you kneel before the flag, you are protesting the perseverance, valor, and justice of what America was founded on? Am I missing your meaning?

How about the Pledge of Allegiance? Is it the fact that our country is a republic that you are disagree with? Maybe the whole liberty and justice for all is the problem?

How about the anthem? You do not feel that it is important to honor those who “provide for the common defense” of the liberty of this nation?

I just don’t see how kneeling before the anthem and flag or refusing to pledge to the ideals of our country makes any sense. They want to declare the injustice of innocent minorities being killed. They want to bring to our attention the increase in violence. They want to get the quickest response and the most bang for their buck. They chose to turn their backs on the symbols of liberty and justice while wanting to receive that very liberty and justice.

It seems too easy to me. Why not start promoting something that will make a difference in our nation. You know because it is our right and it will actually make a difference. How about voting. How about flooding our representatives with letters and phone calls. Our country is a republic. That means we the people are running this gig. Let’s flex our muscle in our voices and how we treat and teach our people to make our country better. It was what this country was founded on. It is found all throughout our historic documents. You can see them, words like – liberty, freedom, for all, equal, union, and most important – we. Can you imagine what it would be like for all of those athletes and politicians proclaiming to participate in our government? Can you imagine what it would do for our nation to promote knowing the candidates and making educated votes? Can you imagine people raising their voices through votes to their congressmen instead of the reporter or camera?

I will believe and practice being free in a Republic State. It may not get attention on T.V. or newspapers but that is not my goal. I pledge Allegiance to our flag every morning. And, I mean what I say. As for me, I will stand. I will pledge. I will sing. I will vote. I will write letters. I will serve in court. I will teach my kids.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Abortion is necessary

Abortion is necessary. It really turns my guts inside out even to say it. I hate abortions and I hate that a human being would even consider it. But, it is necessary because we, the general social population, have created a culture where it is acceptable and considered a last resort.

I see people going to abortion clinics and hurting or being violent to those who either are getting abortions or performing abortions. I see legislature and politicians that are either supporting abortion or trying to make it illegal. People will force girls to have their babies and condemn them if they don't or condemn them for even being pregnant. Even if a person stops an abortion, what then?

I mean, if you stop a girl from having an abortion- what then? Are you going to help this girl raise their child? Provide assistance? Are you going to council this girl to grow strong and confident in the face of the struggles of being a mom? Maybe a mom with no dad in the picture? What about the father? Are you going to take steps to keep him from getting another girl pregnant? Can you be so short sighted as to feel that it is always the girls fault? Will you make the boy stay with the girl that he does not love and will most likely not care for their own child? Well, in my mind all this stuff that is being done is no worse than putting out an oil well fire by spraying water at the top of the flames. You have to get to the root of the problem.

And that root is Family.

You got it. I can bore you to death with statistics of how likely a girl will get pregnant based on things like poverty, a fatherless home, abuse, single parent household, and on and on. What all of it boils down to is that there needs to be better families and better family values. A household with two parents (a man and a woman - I truly believe) that are faithful to each other who provide love and guidance and nurturing is the only way to change the need for abortions. They need to be mentors and role models everyday and in plain sight of their children. They need to train and teach their kids how important they are. This is for both boys and girls.

The boys need to be taught and shown how to respect women by valuing a girl's mind, emotions, and most importantly - their bodies. They need to see that there are boundaries even in a marriage where  the wife is not property to be done with as the husband chooses. They need to see that if their mom tells their father to back off, the father respects that space their mom wants. This is done out of respect and love for their wives. It needs to be modeled and obvious. Boys need to be taught that they need to learn quickly that sex is not a trophy and that the physical intimacy is a gift and treasure of those they will love fully. They need to be taught that they need to take time to know who they are getting close to.

Girls need to be taught that their bodies are their most precious treasure they possess and that it is not to be just given out willy nilly. They need to know that sex is not a tool to control or hold a man. In the end they will find that sex will never be enough to hold a man to them. It is sad but there are many out there that have learned this the hard way. Girls need to be taught to value themselves and to have a high self esteem. They need to know that they are unique and so special that there are only few men that are worth getting close to and that there is only one the deserves to be intimate with them. They need to be taught how to know when a man truly loves them and will be worth their effort.

But until we have families and family values make a comeback in our society, we will have to have the need for abortions. If a girl does not value their bodies and their uniqueness, they will fall prey to having unwanted pregnancies. If a boy is taught that a woman is a trophy or a conquest they will just live their lives keeping a tally sheet. And this is where we are failing our children and eventually the children they may not want.

I valued my wife when I was dating her. I did not force her or use guilt or manipulation to get her to have sex with me. I did not want her to feel that sex was the only way to keep me around (although she was wondering and worrying) I waited and made sure that she decided it was time. I waited until she truly was ready. That is valuing and respecting her body as being her personal treasure. I also did not rush into it because I valued my body and my right to be intimate. I took a long time to make sure it was what we both wanted. Sound unorthodox, I know, but think of how the world would be different if that kind of behavior became the norm?

I surely do not have all the answers and this concept is very very very complicated. There are hundreds of thousands of abortions happening each year. No really - look it up if you want. To me that is a marker of our society and the value of a person. If a person is valued and values others, they will not only value the unborn children but they will value the idea of having a child or not having a child. Until then, until we really get to the root of the problem, we will be unable to affect the end result. If we, as a society, teach kids and young adults how to value themselves more, we may be able to reduce the need for abortions. They will see the value of having children when they are ready to want them with all their hearts and time.

I bet a lot of other societal ills would go away too. . . but that is a whole other thread of thought, eh?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I am not successful.

I was asked one day if I felt that I was successful and I said, “No.”

And I meant it too.

What a surprise. Most people would say the same thing, I am guessing.

Hell, sometimes just getting up the next day and facing it again is a success. This year I have referred two girls to hospitals for cutting themselves and many would say that is a success in itself. At the time though, I didn’t feel like it was much of a success as they were taken away against their will. People would say that they are getting the help they need. It is funny how teachers feel that way so much.

There are days in my past where I have felt like the biggest loser in the world and that all the work I have put into something turned out to be useless. They day I was fired from my passion of teaching was the most mountainous heap of failure. It has been the worse I have endured yet. Getting a new job in TN and starting over could be considered a success. It might be, but there will always be that idea tucked in the back of my mind that I was not good enough. . .. I was not successful in holding my job. I failed.

Success could be having a strong family but there are days in which I feel like I am failing at my job as a husband and father. There are hard days the test my resolve. My oldest in not letting go of his anger, selfish, and greedy ways. I am a supportive husband. Why is she still struggling with depression and anxiety? My younger boy is so dependent and clingy showing no signs of being independent. I often wonder if he will ever grow to be his own man someday.

Then there is me. I am very talented and can do many things. But I make mistakes and I do fail a lot. Why then, when I can be so good at so many things do I focus on all the stumbles in my life? Why do they stand out in my mind? I will not even think a second about throwing together a drawing or building a table without plans but the day I was fired? Well, it was like I was reliving it all over again. I struggle with my faith. I want closer friends or even more friends but it is hard to put time into a friend when you are a teacher and a father and a husband. . . A lot harder than people realize. There are all those goals I set for myself and they fall to the wayside. What about all those?

You see, these things eat away at us. I would guess that anyone that reads this would be thinking of all those things that they are lacking or failing. It is just human nature, isn’t it?

So, that leaves the question of what is success?

Success is perspective. I can look at all those things I have done and are doing right now and see the failures in them. Or, I can look as all those things I have done and see what is succeeding. If I look at the failures, then I am sure to fail more. If I see the successes, then I will be more likely to succeed more. It is my own perspective unhindered by other outside opinions that is the key. It is what I see that makes all the difference. Don't let others define your success. They don't know how much you started with and how far you have come in your struggles. I think this is where the feeling of failure sneaks in. Success is perspective. It is your perspective alone.

It is hard though. I look at where I have been and what I have done compared to where I hoped to be and it doesn’t seem very successful to me. It is an allusion though. I am doing alright. Not great or outstanding but far from failing. I am doing alright. I bet if you look back and scan your past. . . you probably are too.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Teachers are held to a higher standard without empathy.

We have been told a lot that teachers are held to a higher standard. It is true whether we accept it or not. But, on the other hand, we are people too. We are people that have feelings, lives, families, friendships, and hobbies. We are held to a different standard though and we are unfairly expected to give up some behaviors that are harmless to the average person but frown upon as a teacher.

I will use Alcohol as an example. If you listen to a teacher talk about alcohol, it would be fascinating to hear what they say. Phrases like – “I never buy alcohol in the town I live or teach,” or, “I drive 30 miles to a liquor store,” or, “I never have a beer for dinner, there is too much of a chance that a student or a parent seeing me and telling,” flow freely and often. But why? Why is consuming alcohol deemed an unfavorable behavior for a teacher when it is acceptable for others?

Obviously, everyone knows the answer to that one. It is a behavior that is associated with deviant behavior and lawlessness and a person with no self-control. It is practically a sin and every person that has anything to do with children should be as dry as the desert when it comes to drinking alcohol. It is of the devil!

Well, I disagree. My wife shakes her head at me because I will have a beer for dinner sometimes or I will walk into a liquor store in the town I work to buy a bottle. Sacrilege! Do I have to explain why or if I am right in buying it? No. I don’t have to explain anything. I am a person and a human being and a citizen in this country. I am over 21 and am fully lawfully able to buy alcohol for myself.

And I am bound by the same laws to be responsible with consuming it.

As a teacher, I will add one more caveat to this. I am a role model. I don’t mind and I take that part of my job extremely serious. I feel it is unreasonable to hold a teacher to a standard of not consuming alcohol. It is not right. We are people with more stress than the average person and we need a chance to relax and unwind. We need to be social and be part of our non-school families. On the other hand, we need to model the moderation and behavior of wise consumption of alcohol. Getting inebriated and acting a fool is not good role modeling. Having one brew for a whole dinner and walking out an hour later fully in control of oneself is good to see.

So, when you see a teacher that is out and about, take care to not judge them too harshly. Sometimes it is hard to put your game face on as a teacher. We are people. We have hard lives sometimes just like anyone else. Be empathetic and generous to us with your interaction. We are people and that sometimes is ignored with quick judgment and fast accusations.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What is in a name?

In school one day, I was asked how I would have felt if she didn’t take my name when we were married. I said that it would hurt my feelings. The girl who asked me said that was a bit old school and times have changed. I guess that was an insult or something. I told them that time certainly has changed. I then said that I hope that I have been living up to it. You know, asking her to take my name.

After they expressed confusion I elaborated a bit for them. “You see, she just didn’t change her name when we were married, she changed her identity. She changed to my identity. On that day she no longer was her maiden name. . . she is now my name. As teens you all know how important your identity is. You all work very hard to make yours and keep it safe . . . violently some times. Well, she shed hers on our wedding day. I don’t know about you but that is a lot to live up to. Men will never understand how internally deep a commitment this is to her since they are never expected to give up their identity. But girls are expected to do just that. It is kind of the whole submission thing in our society but I take it more as an expectation that I have a job to make sure she never regrets it. I stood on the pulpit and made promises. Promises I intended to keep for the rest of our lives. I need to remember this and live out this expectation that she has taken my identity and has told the world that she is symbolically part of me. I must not fail her expectation or it will be a step to losing her.”

A moment in Wally World got me thinking...

Yesterday in Wally World I answered my phone as I was walking down the isle and if any one knows me, I answer "Hi beautiful" when I talk to my wife. Well, a woman who was looking in my direction gave me the biggest radiant smile until she saw that I was on my phone. She looked down quickly as she noticed this and started to walk away. I finished my call and talked to her for a moment. She said she felt so good when she thought I called her beautiful. I said that she was a pretty girl and that I hope she had a good day. I got me thinking about how people should be given altruistic compliments. Maybe that would make a lot of people's day.

It also got me thinking about how I talk and address my wife. We would have a lot better relationships if all men did the same---

Never call them names or say ANYTHING you will regret - even when you are mad. It can NEVER be taken back.

Tell them every single day how much they are loved and needed- be specific.

Tell them what you love about them - be specific and even when it is silly sounding. I told her how I like the curves of her foot the other day. It was true and I said it when I thought it.

Always talk to them in a soft or normal voice and without anger. Most of the time you are not angry with them anyway.

Have a loving name that you use only for them and you never call anyone else. They will notice, trust me.

Repeat these often even when you are told that it is not needed. It is needed- everyday.

My proposal was personal.

We were watching another one of those shows. You know. The type where a guy goes all out to propose to his girlfriend. She turned to me and said that she wished I had done more in an off hand comment. She has said it before and I am sure it is not really a regret but more of an announcement that she wanted my proposal to be more public for us to brazenly tell the world that we are in love and we will be together forever.

And I get that, I really do. There is some stigma about showing off to the world an exclamation of love. It is a reality drama thing. But that is not my thing. I took her out to a nice dinner and we spent a lot of one on one time together. Then I took her back to my dorm room where the lighting was low and the place was quiet. I had a card that distracted her while I got down on one knee and asked the question. It was just us.

Nothing grand and nothing over the top.

Weeks before that night I Prayed to the good Lord. I promised that I would love her and keep her for the rest of my life. We would become one flesh as the Bible puts it and God would look over us as we fulfilled our roles in our union. As far as I was concerned, we were married as of that moment. I had taken it to the Lord and made my promise. All I had to do is ask her if she would do the same. A ceremony and signing a paper is just formalities.

I wanted it to be just us. To me, our marriage would always be just us. I knew that when all the hoopla was over and all the guests were gone, it would be her and me. And, that was the way I wanted to start our life together. I wanted her to know that I wanted her as my wife not as a way to show off to others ( although I do) or as a trophy or show. I wanted her as my wife because she blessed me everyday with her commitment, kindness, and love towards me. I wanted her to know that we, together, make our marriage, not other people and their ideas and thoughts. Just us. Our marriage was a marriage of just us.

So, in a dorm room with soft lighting in the quiet still night, I laid my mind, heart, and soul bare to ask her to be my wife. Even though I was nervous and shaking, I was confident that she would say yes because she was my blessing for being faithful. She is my proof of a Loving God. And she said yes.

I know that I can have some nontraditional ways of doing and thinking of these sort of things but this was right and the right way for me. It fit what I feel our marriage is. It is us, through thick and thin. No fan fair or over the top show. Our story of faithfulness and dedication and selfless love is our thing. Who needs to be so extravagant with that kind of love?

Wife Rant

Ok, I talk about my wife and my family a lot. . . Especially my wife. It does not mean I am “whipped” or that I my happiness depends on her or that I idolize her. It means that I recognized the blessing that was given me and I thank the good Lord for having our paths cross that January day back in ’96.

And while I am on the topic, I hate the stereotypes of men that are perpetuated by the general public. I break stereotypes and I model new ones. I love tools and building things like the next guy. I really like to camp and grill and watch football. I also like to cook and clean and changed all the soiled diapers when my boys were babies. I can sew and draw and iron cloths. I am empathetic and caring. I am emotional sometimes. You may think it is a bit girly but I am just a “do everything” kind of Guy. Why not? Stereotypes are for those who lack the drive to broaden their horizons and restricted by fear of other's opinions.

I have been told that I couldn’t make it without her. I can but why should I when we are a team? I proposed to my wife and made her a promise I intended to keep for my lifetime and hers. I made that same promise to God and meant every word of it. If he calls her home before me, I will make it. It will be hard but I will grieve and miss her every day that I move on because I WILL move on. She would want me to and that is what I would do.

So what if I talk about my wife so much? There is NO person who is around me who does not know where my loyalty lies. I don’t make it a secret. I don’t say things around guys like I hate being married. Guys seem to think that it is expected and they give into it for some silly reason. You know . . . those statements like – the ball and chain or my old lady or anything that would suggest that being married is not what I thought it would be. My marriage is EXACTLY what I thought it would be because I spent a long time figuring out what I wanted and then looked until I found the person that fit it. No settling. Why would I go and say otherwise?

I look around and see all this pain and hard roads people have had with their relationships. I am sorry to see it really I am. I think it has to do with all the stupid expectations of what a relationship “should” be that the media spews out like the next epidemic. The reality shows that are not real and the cute and supposedly earth shattering profound short statements that wallpaper Facebook and such. You want the perfect relationship – search deep into yourself for your wants and needs, observe what will and will not work for you, don’t rush - take your time and don’t settle, and for goodness sake – you be the one that knows what you like and don’t like not your friends family or some other source.
If you think my marriage is not that great or perfect. . . well you can just go back to yours and I will stay with mine. When I am at home with her, all is fine by me and you are not there. Figure out how much I will take your advice. We work because we have chosen to be with each other and that is the place we most want to be. If you don't like seeing so much about her. . . well there is an "unfriend" button. Use it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

One last note,

        I am a teacher. I teach people. Kids. I am pretty hardcore if you ask anyone who is in my class or knows me as a colleague. I am serious about my teaching. The education field is hard though and getting harder. We are loosing respect and confidence with all this testing and teacher bashing lately. You can see how it affects our profession with high turn over and unprecedented declines with people deciding to go to college to become a teacher. 

      This is the last lesson I have for my students and it has nothing to do with curriculum or tests. It has nothing to do with policies and agendas. It has to do with people . . . kids. I think our policy makers are not really in touch at all. They truly don't see schools as places full of human beings with feelings, hard lives, and the struggle of grown up into adults. I want my kids to know that they are people and were worth something to me by the way that I treated them. So this is my One Last Note to my kids since they are more than data points, they are people.     

So here it is - One Last Note-

         My job involves more than teaching science. I must teach life lessons also. I have to portray to you, through actions and modeling, important skills that will help you succeed. Hopefully you have picked up on these particular lessons:

1. Accept everyone for who they are and be able to work with them. They are people and have feelings just like you.

2. It is ok to be wrong. Own up to it and either accept your shortcomings as just the way you are or work to improve upon that shortcoming.

3. Be more that just equal with your treatment of others, be fair.

4. It is healthy to laugh at yourself, and it is ok to let others laugh with you.

5. Love what you do for a career; it makes your job more than work. It makes it fun.

6. Look forward to what you want out of your life and don’t let petty stupid stuff get in the way of your goals.

I hope that I not only have taught you these lessons but that I have stuck to these personal rules of treating others in my class that I feel are vital to building good relationships with anyone. In addition to showing you the above through my actions and behavior, hopefully you have seen my personal way of running my class by noticing:

1. Never, ever, ever, ever, get personal with a student when disciplining. Stick to the  behavior I want changed and the behavior that I want it to change to. Attacking a student personally is wrong and cruel. Never say anything that you don’t mean. Once it is  said, you can’t take it back (even with a sorry).

2. Never hold grudges. Students make mistakes just like I do and have bad days. Start  every day (and sometimes just the next time you talk) as if all are bygones already and  nothing happened.

3. Never take out your problems with one student on another.

4. Try your best to make sure every single student feels how you truly care for each and    every one of them.

5. Apologize when you are wrong. You would expect them to.

6. Don’t be a hypocrite. If you ask them to do it, you do the same and vice versa.

7. Finally, as best to your ability – Say what you are going to do and then do what you  said you were going to do.

 You guys are my kids and will always be my kids. I wanted you to learn the science but I wanted to you learn these other lessons even more. If you have seen them and know what they look like in practice, I am happy. Take care and do your best in school!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Father failure

I am a Father failure.

I am writing to just get it out. Put it on paper, because I need to do something. Something besides the tossing and turning of restless sleep with a mind that will not let go of this nightmare day. I have been rolling this in my mind and heart all day and have finally given in to the desire to just pour it out somewhere and here it will be. My mind is reeling back replaying the events of today as if I have a scratched DVD that can’t move forward only to leave me in the worst part of a movie I don’t want to see.

As my fingers are flying across this keyboard, I see myself in my mind’s eye sitting on the floor holding my struggling 14yr boy who screams “Let me go” over and over in a defeated voice while tears stream down my cheeks. I was so scared and confused. My mind was paralyzed and shocked to the point where I didn’t know what else to do but to just hold on and mumble “No” over and over again to his desperate plea.

I just couldn’t believe how fast and fully this whole scenario had gotten out of control and where we ended up. We were both on the floor, completely drained of all energy. We had struggled verbally and physically for about 15 minutes now. One of us was pleading to be let go while the other was saying no and holding on. My wife was sitting on the couch across the room not wanting to look at us and determined to block it all out and separate herself from the insanity of what just happened. I could see it though, the pain in her eyes. . . the utter helplessness and defeat. It was there. This went beyond what she could handle both mentally and emotionally. She eventually had to leave the room. She could no longer bear to see this episode we were having. That is when I finally let go of him and he literally jumped up and ran out of the house. He fled like he was running from a serial killer. He was getting out and away like a prey running from a monster. He was running from me.

Words will never justly explain how broken I was in that moment to see my son run from me like he was fleeing for his very life. My mind was shutting down and my insides were freezing into a mass of broken machinery that rebelled against my mind. My mind shed all thoughts and gave into the pain of loss and rejection and failure. It went numb with a blankness that was terrifying. It was like working your whole life to build the mansion of your dreams just to have it swallowed by the earth in a quake right as you lay the final brick.

How did it get to this point though? How did all those years seem to go to waste where each day ends up being a struggle? I guide my son in the way he should treat others and care for himself while he pushes back with a tenacity that can topple mountains. He argues and pushes his views beyond the thoughtfulness of others.  It crushes my spirit and stomps on my faith a little.

It is sad to say that this all started with a very seemingly benign event. I was weeding out the movies we owned to turn in to McKays for credit. When my son saw me doing that, he went ballistic. He got to the point where he actually fought me to not take them. Really, we like scuffled over it. I tried to explain the whole needing to reduce clutter and to let go of things that we didn’t use anymore. But it fell on deaf ears. And then it was chaos and it happened soooooo fast. Faster than I could react. Faster than I could think. And then it was too late to go back. It was at a point where I had to dig in. I had to take the stand. All I could think of was if he blew his top and went ape crazy and got his way, how fast would it happen again when he looked back and saw how effective that behavior worked? But, here I am still hurting and still in pain with the memory it. Here I am writing at 1:00 in the morning when everyone else in the family had gotten beyond it and is sleeping tight. I am not over it though. I have messed up somewhere and I am hurting really bad with it. I am questioning my whole worth being a dad.

I am just going to come out and say it because there is just no use denying how I feel. I have failed as a father. There, it is out. The tears are rolling with it and it is on the table.

You see, back when I received the news that I was going to be a dad, not once did I think that I would be sitting here 14 years later wondering what the hell happened. I mean, how did he end up this way? I wanted him to have high esteem, and to be generous, easy going, able to adjust and accommodate, thoughtful, dynamic, talented, and full of faith. What he has turned out to be is not what I have bargained for. It is eating away at me here this early morning as I am breaking inside from how he acts and treats me and his mother and from the mean spirited and calloused way he speaks to us. He is so greedy and entitled that it is stifling. It is hard to believe that he really could have grown up in our house with us as parents.

What really bothers me deeply is that he does not show us in action or words that he loves and appreciates us. That is what it is.

He is not like this when he is away from us. From all I hear, he is engaging and well received outside our home. He has a great sense of humor and is a little demure. He works well with others and interacts with intelligence and poise. I know because I have been told. I see it at home too but it seems like the arguments and hurtful words are just a response of “no” away. Why does he treat us so horribly and rage at us when we give so much as it is? It is hard to help him see all that he has and how fortunate he is but that is not the teenage way now is it. What I have been seeing is greediness and self-centeredness. I see no empathy for our feelings and how we struggle to have time to ourselves when we give so much to them. I see a boy that does not want to spend time with me or his mom unless he has the idea that maybe we will buy him something. Inside it hurts a lot to see my son so distance in his values from what I hold and I have no idea how I trained him to be this way.

Here I am pouring my feelings out of how pained and damaged I have been from the struggles I have with him and I am starting to have this deep sense of guilt for feeling this way. . . for writing such horrible things about my own son. I am so hurt and broken from the effort I have been giving. The wearing away of my emotional endurance is going to overtake my determination to keep teaching important values. But it is like walking upstream in a raging river. He pushes back so hard with his wants and desires in a fury of entitlement that just pierces me. But again, here I am hating myself all the same because he is my son and I am not supposed to feel this way. I am not supposed to hate how he does this to me and his mother. I am supposed to love him and support him and encourage him. I am just tired. I am beaten down.

(A few days later)

So I have come back and read what I typed so frantically the other night. I have had a few days to re-center myself. I have talked to dad ( well I basically sobbed my way through all the pain, guilt, and confusion with him). Lord, what am I going to do without his council? I can’t even begin to contemplate that right now. I am come to realize that what I am experiencing is normal for having a teen. Well, the tantrums and severe reactions are not but that is my son’s slight autism tendencies magnifying these episodes. I am going to keep trudging on. I am wrong about him not loving us. He does. He just has moments where it is clouded by anger and frustration. I just have to try and not let it hurt so much. It is hard you know. Words. They are sticks and stones some times. They don’t break bones. They break hearts. It is worse. Especially when they come from people you love.

I am hesitant to post this. Part of me does not want to put it out there the struggle in my house and my guilt for writing such harsh words. I have only put my side of it here and not how my wife is handling it. The other side of me has this need to post it so that if other parents are struggling they know they are not the only ones. I have been told that it gets better but it looks so impossible from this side. Just hang in there. I was once told that I was given this child from the good lord because I was the only one that could raise him and his uniqueness. Well, we will see. I just have to power through my days and nights of shaky ground with faith and endurance only the good lord can give.