February 22, 2005
A Child's View of Dad
On Saturday afternoon we had a little birthday celebration for my children. My parents and two of my brothers were there along with my children and their boyfriend and girlfriend. We bowled two frames and then ate pizza and had cake, then gave some gifts. Since my mom wasn't around during my birthday, she gave me a card also. I thought that was nice.
But inside of the card was something even nicer. When my grandfather died, my aunt had put together some photo albums and on one page with pictures of my dad and grandpa there was this little article. I don't know the source of it, but I know it's been around for a while. In any case, my mom gave this to me in my card:
A Child's View of Dad
At Age 4 "My dad can do anything."
At Age 7 "My dad knows a lot, a whole lot!"
At Age 14 "How could I ever expect dad to understand this?"
At Age 19 "My old man just isn't with it!"
At Age 30 "I've got to find out what dad thinks about this."
At Age 40 "Before we decide, let's get dad's idea first."
At Age 60 "My dad knew literally everything."
At Age 65 "How I wish I could talk it over with dad just once more."
The years go by, and it certainly changes our thinking.
Posted by carl1236 at February 22, 2005 10:06 PM | Attitude
I want, so bad, to subscribe to this piece of family-apple-pie. I truly do.
But I cannot, sadly.
I am 41, married and we have a beautiful 5 year old daughter... my mom passed in 1997 and so all I am left with in my family, vertically-in my family tree-is my dad.
We cannot see eye to eye on anything. Nothing. Ever. He's bitter, judgeful, negative and controlling. I have never had a conversation with him that didn't involve at some point him saying that I "needed to do" insert thought here "his way, and all would be well".
Ever since I was 6 or 7 he has pushed incredibly hard for me NOT to follow my dreams, my natural abilities... music. Only my mom supported me... they fought nonstop over this and now that she's gone he not only diminishes her by saying that she always agreed with him that I should have never pursued music, but actually uses sentences like, "Well, if you and your family relocate to such and such an area won't there be a temptation to start playing music again? You know, I thought we came to an agreement on this... no more music". I am freaking 41!! No one but him talks to me this way... I have fought with him, agreed with him to shut him up, lied to him and been blatently truthful to him...
none of it matters at all.
Perhaps I am a very bad son but my thinking goes something like this...
age 3-7: he treats mom, me and my brother badly, I wish he didn't.
age 8-12: I don't like him that much, I wish he would leave us alone.
age 13-19: he's a prick and I can't wait to leave home.
age 20-34: he's a prick and I wish mom would leave him.
age 35-41: he's a prick and I wish mom were still alive so I had a friend.
-Large Fella (Scott)
PS... Nice blog, I like it.
Posted by: Scott at February 23, 2005 7:21 AM
Yeah, itís too bad that so many relationships are dysfunctional and so many people get hurt along the way. My father was an abusive alcoholic and parts of my childhood were not so great, but luckily when I was in Junior High School, he went for treatment and it made a huge difference on how the rest of our childhood played out and his relationship with our children when we finally had them. My dad did change, so we were lucky.
I did know though, that even if my dad had NOT changed, I did not want to be like that with my own children. I wouldnít have let myself because I could see the destructiveness and what it did to my mom and us. My guess is that you probably feel the same way with your beautiful 5-year-old daughter and try to have a good relationship with her and your wife. You are probably a great dad to your daughter. Hopefully everyone can change and break the cycles of destructive behaviors that many families seem to pass on from generation to generation.
I believe in our ability to change, otherwise I probably wouldnít have had such a great family myself when we had our children. Family apple-pie? Yes, in a way, because all of our experiences are not so happy and we may not have experienced those kinds of good relationships ourselves, but I think we still want our parents love and approval, and most of us want that with our own children. I do. So I try to make some better choices than my father did at those times in his life. At times I was not so successful at that either, but I changed. Now I think our relationships are much more caring and loving toward each other, and my children are older now, and I never thought it would come to this, but Iím really looking forward to the day when I might be a grandpa too. It will be really cool I think. And I hope I will be an excellent role model to my children and my grandchildren.
I donít really know how to resolve the issues with your father, but I do know that my father wouldnít have gone to treatment if he was not forced to by his work and by my mom who had had enough. He didnít think he had a problem. Things might have turned out differently if he was unwilling to go. I guess no one can change our beliefs if we donít want them changed.
Also, I know that my wife has confronted me on some of my attitudes related to control and how to raise our children and it made me think about what I was feeling, thinking and doing. I am so lucky to have a partner like that. My changes in attitude were influenced by my dad, my wife, my children and many others. But I wanted that change; I didnít want my children to experience what I did. I am definitely a much happier person now and my views on life have changed drastically since I was a child.
In any case, I hope you have a great time with your daughter as she's growing up! They really seem to grow fast and time together seems to disappear so quickly!
Posted by: John at February 23, 2005 4:22 PM