Last Good Quote: Son's are the seasoning on our lives. - Someone on Facebook

Tuesday, March 11

To My Son and My Future Self

I love you son. I want to be your friend. I want to be your confidant. I want to be your rock in stormy times. But I am your father first and foremost. That means I must prepare you for the world as best as I can. That means I must ask you to do better than me. That means I must ask of you the hard things in life. I must force you to confront your issues head on, with your head up and your eyes open. I apologize if in your youth this strains are relationship. But it is how things must be. I am your father.

You brought home poor grades, extremely poor grades. At first I was angry at you. Very Angry. I dreamed of ways to punish you and make you FEEL the retribution. How I would make you quake with the fear of god himself. Make you feel as if the very wrath of the world was upon your head. It felt good to think these things. Yes, I knew the exact methods I would take to ensure you could not contemplate a failure like this again. I had it figured out...down to the last belt stroke.

But I gave myself time. Time to simmer down. Time to realize that my anger was driven by something else. (A lesson you would be wise to learn: Anger is never the REAL reason, it is an excuse to take action). I realized that I was ashamed, embarrassed that a son of my genes, a boy with the creativity, wit and intelligence equal to my own, could not do moderately well in school. I was embarrassed because this was a public reflection of my lack of mentorship to you.  My lack of showing you how to apply discipline and persistence. My lack of teaching you what was important and what was not. It was not you who had failed, but I who had failed you. My lack of showing you how take on a challenge and succeed. This failure was on both of us. This was humbling.

I now contemplate a gentler approach, but one that will test the limits of our relationship. I will teach you how to do this thing. I will teach you how to excel at the game of life. Oh, there will be punishment but it will be with measured and calculated to demonstrate to you that there are immediate consequences for poor decision makings. Especially when one can choose a better road. Rewards will come as well, but not given cause you are "due" them, but given because you earned them by taking the harder, longer, less traveled road.

I do wonder at what point it was that this failure on my part began. I love you. I spend time with you. I take you out. I take you to hang out. I find friends for you. I taught you how to talk, walk, read, ride a bike. Never let it be said that I did not care and spend time with my son.

But I was never hard on you. Never. And shame on me for it. I claimed I wanted you to have a “nice” childhood. Not realizing that in the “roughness” of a no, there is a challenge to the little mind. A challenge to the idea that not all things come by way of words, tears, smiles and hugs. But the idea that some things only come by the hard work of your own hands. In wanting you to have an easier time of childhood, an easier one than mine, I made you unable to handle struggle.

You're 14. Maybe you are too old, I hope not. But change is in the air. I know this will start a war between the two of us. I know at your current age you will not understand. I know we may no longer be friends....for a time. This makes me terribly sad. But I know this is my responsibility. I know this right. I know this is what I need to do .... for you.

We start on this journey tonight, March 10th of 2014. I hope I have the fortitude to stay with this. I do this for myself, I do this for you and I do this for the future generations. I love you son.

Your Father,
Markus Beamer

I write this in the heat of the moment. I write it cause I have to catch this anger and bottle it up and use it to fuel me to do the right thing. I write it so one day in the far future you will know I did these things for the right reason. However it works out.

I make this public because a public declaration of intention is the strongest way to re-enforce me taking personal actions.

I also know that I am not the only one struggling with this issue, it is driven from a true love for my children. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.


Dominic Beamer said...

Just so you know...

One of the most defining moments in my life happened when I was 14. In a fit of rage I told mom I was unhappy with my life, I went on saying, "I'm short, I'm fat, I'm bored all the time..." I expected mom to say, "it's going to be fine you'll grow eventually and find new hobbies", but she didn't. She told me, "if you don't like your life then change it! If you think you're too fat, go lift weights; if you're bored, find a hobby; and as for your height, we'll see a doctor!" She surprised me, which caused that moment to stick with me for life.

That simple advice (if you don't like your life than change it) empowered me. It taught me that this sea of life is full of uncontrollable currents, but at least my hand is on the rudder. It was a reminder that I didn't have to lie down and accept life as it came to me.

For the sake of my dear nephew, I hope this moment surprises him too. I hope it sticks with him for decades - a constant reminder that at 14 he did something many people will never do in their life time... change.

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