I have a question. When did it become cool to try to be your kid’s friends instead of their parents?
I can remember the last person on earth I thought was my friend was my Father. He loved me. He actually spoke those words once in my life. Now I know here come the folks that say that’s the reason I’m the way I am is because I have “Father Issues”. Let me address that right away. My Dad didn’t tell me he loved me, true. However, I knew it. When I was coming up you understand he worked 3 jobs so my Mother could be home with the kids. He provided anything we needed, and not much of what we wanted, a blessing I now see. He demanded respect for him and my Mother and if you every crossed that line the penalty was swift and severe. I got it.
I recently heard of a situation where someone found out through Facebook that their kids were leaving some rather racy messages and posts. Thank God we didn’t have anything like this when I was a kid; we just talked to one another, oh the horror!!! Well it got back to the parents and there was a huge fight. Now it needs to be said I was not in the room but here is the way I see it as I happen to know the parents. One says “it is harmless its kids being kids. Things are different today” and leave the kid alone. And the other says don’t do that because people might see it and think I am ok with that. Kind of out of sight out of mind. The second one might be more likely what was going on as I was growing up. We all went to church on Sunday and we all tried to curse like sailors during the week. However, if you ever slipped it was like the scene from a Christmas Story. Life Boy soap and a scolding like you will never forget, and yes you always blamed it on your best friend and acted like you had never said it before!!
Now back to my original point. Why not go in there with the life boy and get it on. Am I so naïve that I think 13 year olds don’t curse? Not on your life. Am I so backwoods that I think they don’t talk about things that would more than likely curly my nose hairs? Not even close. However, this “it’s ok” line is simply not acceptable to me. It is never ok, in polite society, for a young teenager to talk like a rude and disgusting grown up. And to think you might piss your kid off for acting like a parent is something I will never understand. Think about the person who raised you. Were they your friend or were they your parent. I get the closeness between children and their parents. In my Memphis Family there are some really close parent children relationships. But I truly believe that if the chips were down the kids know the parents are not their friends. A survey I will be conducting during the next family meal.
Parents are charged with the responsibility of raising you and protecting you. It is their job to make sure you get to the part where you are allowed to mess it up on your own. That age my friend is not 13!! It is more like 19-21. I would like to think my son and I are trying, today, to build a closer relationship because he is at that age where I am out of his business. He lives on his own, pays his own bills, and get into his own trouble. Has he call me more and more? Yes. Do I bail him out no questions asked? Not even close. I only tell him what I would have done differently and give him some advice on what I would do next to get out of the pinch. I got my first call this week where he got into a bind, got himself out, and called to see what I would have done. What a great call to get.
My Father told me one time it was his job to make sure when he died he didn’t leave a burden on society, in me. I think that is the roll of all great Dad’s. Have I done it? Maybe not fully, but I am blessed to still be alive. Am I working hard to get there? Absolutely.
Now I will tell you all something that might be bothering you all at this point in this post. Every time I hang the phone up after talking to my son or we part ways I tell him I love him. I also try to show him I love him. Is there a hole in my heart where all those I love you sons were supposed to be and fill up that I missed from my Dad? No question. Will there be one in my son’s heart? NEVER. But please remember I KNOW my Father loved not only me, but my Mother, and all of my sisters as well. He was a special man and one I miss every day of my life.
So I guess the one friend my son will never have is me. But the one thing he will always have, as long as I live, is a father. And I had much rather be that; isn’t he blessed. Guess I will leave another blessed man to take my place. I just hope I can make him realize it before I go.
The Blessed Man