Hopefully I don’t lose any of you today, but the purpose for this blog is for honest and raw discussion. Today, I want to talk about my dad, and how his method of parenting shaped who I am today and how it demolished our relationship.
Growing up, I was afraid of my dad. Plain and simple, he scared me. His method of parenting was to use force and fear. I can’t think of anything more degrading than when I was about to be punished, I would have to pull my pants and underwear down to my knees and put myself over my dad’s knee. Humiliation aside, I swear he didn’t hold back at all. To this day I can feel the smack of his bare hand and how mind-numbingly painful it was. On especially bad occasions I would have to go and get the black leather belt he hung on his bedroom door knob (Seeing that belt hang in its place was unnervingly intimidating), and wait for it to crack on my backside.
I don’t mean to give the wrong impression. My dad was not abusive, nor was he an alcoholic. The only time I got smacked or hit, was when I was bad and deserved it. Also, this wasn’t his only method, in fact I remember a time when he caught my older brother and me cursing for the first time. He was furious, instead of physical punishment, we were grounded and had to write 1000 lines of “I promise to never use swear words ever again”. Side note to that story, the best way for me to write this out was one word at a time down the page (I, I, I, I, I, promise, promise, promise, promise and so on). Well on one page I forgot the word “never” and I actually wrote a page of “I promise to use swear words ever again”. My dad had a chuckle from that one. Also, 1000 lines is a lot, especially when you’re 10. It was about 40 lined pages worth.
Looking back, I need to give my dad credit. If you’ve read my previous posts, then you know what kind of upbringing he had. It was one of abuse, alcoholism and drugs. His idea of parenting and being a dad came from a flawed image to say the least. He did well for what he had growing up. That being said, it never changed the fact that I resented him for it. I think I still do to a certain degree. The result however, is I am someone respectful of other people, their property, and just general authority. I respect people’s right to be happy, and to live a simple good life. I don’t do drugs or smoke, I only drink on special occasions, and I work in a public position in a respectful way. I respect women, and treat them accordingly. What’s the drawback to all of this? I don’t have a very good relationship with my dad for one. I don’t expect to have a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ type relationship, however, we can easily go months without talking or visiting, and when we do visit, we aren’t very nice to each other. I have accepted this though; I know he did right by me. Having two boys myself, I understand doing everything and anything to make sure they grow up to be responsible men. Even if achieving that means being the bad cop all the time.
I also want to temper this post by saying I won’t be repeating the same steps my father did. As with everything in life, we need to evolve. I plan to take my experiences and forming them to fit my personality. I will never hit my son with a foreign object, and I will never degrade him by making him drop his pants and climbing over my knee. I will however use spanking as a tool, and this is where I may lose some of you, but I’m a firm believer of having some fear of your parents. I could give you a list as long as my arm of all the times I had to choose between doing something stupid or illegal or walking away. I can promise you before each and every decision, I thought about what my dad would do to me if I got busted. That’s what I mean when I say “fear”. I don’t mean being afraid to be around someone or to speak, but to be afraid of the consequences of screwing up.
The hard part for me is walking a fine line of fear and respect. I want nothing more than for my sons to follow in my foot steps and be good people, and good men. I also want to have a great relationship with them, I hope one day when they’re my age, they’ll think of our relationship in a better light than I do with my dad. At the end of it all, family is all you start and finish with. There are many important things in between, but you can never lose sight of who shaped you, for better or worse.
Thanks for reading and as always
Keep Your Head up and Your Nuts Covered