“His Father’s Son”

randomlychad  —  January 4, 2012 — 14 Comments

I recently learned something about my childhood that I have no memories of. I don’t doubt it–it rings true. It’s regarding me, my dad, and playing ball. I’m told I was about three at the time, and my dad wanted to teach me how to play catch.

The catch is that he was an accomplished athlete, and I was a gangly toddler. And each time he threw–I’m guessing it was a football–and I didn’t catch, he would throw harder.

At my stomach.

As I said, I don’t remember this, but my mom does. (She saw this transpire, and by her recollection, did nothing insofar as I know, at the time). He got angrier and angrier, and threw harder and harder, until I was reduced to tears.

I can only surmise that in his mind he thought he was trying to to toughen me up. But let’s call it what it was: bullying. A grown man, and skilled athlete, making a toddler cry? That’s not power–because anyone could do that–that’s just sheer meanness.

What keeps me up at night is that, despite his not being a regular part of my life since I was about thirteen, is that I can be just as mean. In trying to prepare my own son for the adult world, there are times I’ve gone overboard with the whole “trying to toughen him up” routine. For that, I’m truly sorry.

With regards to my dad: it’s hard to say, and not something I want to see–but the things I hate about him, are the things I hate about me.

God help me: I am my father’s son.

Please note: I’m not sharing this here to impugn my dad’s character, as he stands, or falls, by his own actions. Just as I stand, or fall, by mine. Bringing this to light here, and now, stems from the notion that I’m not alone. And if I’m not alone, neither are you. It’s my hope that by sharing some my story, you will be encouraged to share yours, or see something of yours in mine.

Which brings me to: can you relate?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • I can relate more than I am willing to express publicly. Thank you for sharing this. As you know by now, being a parent does not come with a certification or a guide book. All parents are on their own, and their only experience of being a parent is that of their own parents. I hope that by sharing this incident from your life it helps you come to greater peace of mind. The fact you see this in yourself, well, sir, that is grace!

    • Stephen, I appreciate your candor, and am very glad you can relate. I suppose it is grace that Lord show us these “ugly truths” about ourselves, and yet loves us enough to not leave us as we are. Like the Children of Israel, He (this is from a song) “did not bring us out this far to take us back again. He brought us out to take us in to the Promised Land.”

  • Somewhere along the way I developed an attitude where I only remembered the negative about my dad. He did many great things, but I only remember the hurts. And like you, I hate it when I find myself doingcwhat my dad did.

    • Ah, Larry! Why is it in our natures to be thus? Like you, I’m sure there were happy times with my dad--I just don’t remember any. Even the ones that should be happy--seeing Return of the Jedi with him when it released in 1983--are tinged with sadness, because it was after the high of seeing the Rebel Alliance defeat the empire that he told my brother and I he was divorcing our mom.

  • Chad, As a PK (Preacher’s Kid), I often heard people say, “That must be tough.” Honestly, I think my dad made it easy. He was (is) not perfect. I saw him get angry. I saw him lose his cool. I saw him get frustrated. I saw him put holes in doors and walls. No father is perfect except for our Heavenly Father. I’ve discovered that I’m just like my dad. I mess up. I get angry. I lose my cool, etc.

    I think you and I have a chance to show our kids about grace and forgiveness. How we handle our failures can be the best example for our children.

    • Amen, Jon! We’ve got this one life, and we’ll mess it up, but how we handle those failures is where the rubber of faith meets the road office.

      Thanks for being (though we’ve never met IRL) a good friend!

  • It always terrifies me when I judge someone for something and turn around to find it in my heart as well. Sometimes is easy to see it in others, but harder to see in ourselves. At least your honest about your own life. Great thoughts, Chad.

    • Thanks, Seth! Appreciate the kind words. Learning the hard way that only one I can hope to change is me--and I can’t even do that very well.

  • Wow. This is powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing. Here’s to hoping that your own son grows up to say “my dad was not a bully. My dad was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

    • Ben,

      Thanks so much! I hope so, too. And I hope that he’s more of a natural at this whole dad thing--cause sometimes I feel like Indiana Jones (nowhere near as cool, I know) in that I feel like I’m making it up as I go along.

  • I tell my kids to shake it off if they get hurt. I need to do a better job of acknowledging their hurt sometimes.

    • Oh, yeah--me, too: for sure.

  • Ricky Anderson

    The difference is you’re aware of it and are making sure the trend doesn’t continue.

    Good man, Chad.

    • Aw, shucks! Thanks, Ricky! (The truth is God is good and faithful to love me enough to not leave me as I am).