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.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

What is it to be a man?

I have been contemplating what it really means to be a man. This is on my mind a lot for a personal reason. I feel as if my son who is 14 right now is not on the road to being the man he needs to be. He tells me that he will not be like me and that I am trying to turn him into me. It hurts a little but the more I think about what he is saying, that is not what I am really trying to do.

What I am trying to do is to get him to be a true Man – not the socialized stereotyped falsity perpetuated by history or even dramatized novels and movies.  I want him to be a man in definition and action that defies those aforementioned trivialities to be a person that signifies what it means to stand out and be noticed for being unique in a way that may not be understood but is universally accepted as being unlike anything that has been before. Of, course it is not a new concept but a rare one I think.

So here is my view of what is means to be a real man. There are 10 parts:

1. Men break the stereotypes of what a man is in society.

    Men don’t cry and men are kings of the castle and men lead and men dominate and men are . . . are . . . . .are. Well, men according to society will never be one that can truly affect people in a way that men who break those stereotypes. What is next I feel may be unconventional but is raw in truth.

2. Men never say what they do not mean.

    A favorite lyric of mine goes like this – “Some words when spoken, can’t be taken back.” Well, that is not true. ALL words when spoke cannot be taken back. ALL OF THEM. If it is in your heart and mind, it is on your lips. A person can’t say something that they have not thought at one time or believe. It would never be uttered if they didn’t believe it. All those hurtful things a person says them they are angry and then say they don’t mean them. . . well they did and they  may be ashamed but they are not that sorry. Anger just has a way of turning off filters when the heart is draining of emotions.

    Say what you mean and mean what you say. What a person says when they are angry tells you a lot of what they truly think.

3. A man is multitalented.

    If a guy does not know how to do a lot of things then they have not stretched themselves. They have not found their strengths and developed a true love of themselves and their talents. It really does not matter what they are good at to be honest.. . .it just needs to be eclectic.

    They can do more for their fellow man if they know how to do a lot of things and do them well.

4. A man has a deep sense of faith and is faithful.

    Do you want to see strength in a man? How much faith does he have that all will work out in the end? If he has a lot of faith then he is looking for solutions because he has faith that there is a solution. The good lord blesses those who follow Him.

    Being faithful is a no duh statement. If you choose to be with someone, then you have done all the careful selection stuff to want to make sure they are the one and you trust them to be your companion for life. Be faithful to that choice and love on them with zeal.

5. Men know who they are and know what they want out of life.

    It is a growing up thing I guess. How can you guide or make any choices in life if you don’t even know what you want out if it? A man has to really soul search and knows and loves themselves for who they are and what they want out of life.

    I wanted a job that I enjoyed and a wife I could share my life with. I wanted children and a house that is all my own. These things hold a focus for me. All that other stuff is just icing. They are nice but they don’t hold interest for me. My focus is my job, my wife, and my family. It shows in all I do. It may come out as seeming like I am extraordinarily confident. Naw, I just know who I am and what I have wanted.

6. Men follow the Bible.

    It might be heresy but you don’t have to or may not believe all the God and Jesus stuff. I do just to set the record. Even so, if you don’t believe all that stuff, you have to admit that the way Jesus treated people is the way to go. If you truly look at all the jobs and commandments a man has for following and how he is to treat his wife and fellow man ( and I mean all of them – no picking and choosing), they are what men should be. A man of God is a man that will make a mark in the community around him. He may not make a mark that is broadcasted (most likely not) but he will be missed without the people knowing why. That is what being humble is all about.

7. Men are without question.

    It is all in the items above. A man will not be questioned. If a person that does not know them questions, the others around shut it down as fast as the question is on the table. This also means that a true man has nothing to defend themselves for. Nothing to hide is nothing to defend. It is all out for all to see and it is consistent and unwavering. A man is one that is beyond question and will always hold themselves in a way and act in a way that perpetuates it.

8. Men never stop pursuing their wife.

    A man has deliberately and carefully chosen their wife. They have fallen deeply in love with them on an emotional level and have grown an inseparable attachment to their wives in which no one could possibly understand the uniqueness it holds between the two. It shows when you see the man pursuing their wives with endless vigor. They are constantly showing their love for them even at the smallest level. A touch, a note, words of affirmation, doing chores, holding hands, wistful glances, and all the things that had to be done because it can’t be pent up inside, it has to pour out in a constant stream of pursuit.

9. Men need to be decisive.

    It is in the Bible really. Men need to be decisive. They need to be the leader of their families and household. I know that this seems like the whole barbaric man of the house thing but hear me out on this one. If the man makes the choices then it saves their wives from the guilt and shame for making hard and sometimes wrong decisions. I love my wife so much that I don’t want her to bear that kind of inner turmoil.

    Now this does not mean that a man makes these choices alone. They must listen to their wives and good counsel. Why would I have married my wife if I didn’t believe she would have good advice? I also feel that faith has a lot to do with it too. I am just saying that when it comes down to who makes the choice – it should be the man.

10. You don’t have to be a fairytale to be a Man.

    Let’s be honest, a whole lot of what people think men should be is unrealistic. It should be clear by now that I really have some contempt for media driven views of what men should be like and how movies perpetuate unrealistic views of men. Life is longer than two hours or a grammatically wrong meme. There are days that we just have to get through. We have moments where we are weak and moments where we feel like we could spin the world ourselves.

    We are people that are real and living day to day with hard choices and just trying to get by most times. We have our moments and if we have a lot of love in our hearts, they come more often than others. But, we are people. Not some made up person, and that is okay. It has to be.

I am not sure, maybe I am on the wrong path. I do know one thing, I sure am better off with these traits. I am not sure if I am like “the” model of them but I sure do try my best. So here you have it, my ten traits of what it is to be a real man.