Father and Son

June 21, 2011

It was a cool morning and the deep black clouds covered most of the sky. The irises gave off a sweet smell as the wind caressed them in a cool steady breeze. Morning had broken and the promise of another day woke the earth and all its inhabitants. The birds were first, a crow in the distance, and the sparrows and starlings. Every so often the dog would raise her head.  Her ears would perk up; she would give a deep bare tone, and bark at some noise she thought needed some attention. Then her large head would slowly fall to her paws and her ears would relax until the next noise of the waking earth caught her interest.

They arrived about eight on this Sunday morning. Both were well dressed yet seemed at bit rough as they had left Toronto in the wee hours of the morning.

The father led his adolescent son to the door. The son walked slowly and painfully a large distance behind him. As they got near the door the father said in a loud voice to his son:

Come on you little bastard. I don’t want any of your bullshit now. I have driven to this place for three hours and as much as I care you can stay here.

As I opened the door, after a loud aggressive knock, I said in a loud voice:

Welcome to the bastard rehabilitation center! Only bastards are allowed. Are you both bastards?

At this the father stepped back and his son, a handsome blond haired, blue-eyed, fit guy said:

Oh yes we’re bastards alright! He’s the biggest one though! pointing at his father.

The three of us all had a good laugh and they came inside and we sat in the den.

The father started things off.

Well I didn’t expect this – to start out laughing.

No sir. How can I help?

My son behaves like a little bastard, he dropped out of school, is smoking weed and partying all night, won’t work, won’t help out around the house, and steals money from me whenever he can. I have to watch my wallet and car keys, he got a ticket and we have to go to court. He had booze in the car, open, some half-naked slut with him.

She’s not a slut! She’s my girlfriend, you fucking asshole.

Sorry but I agreed that this session is only for bastards. You have to come back tomorrow, that’s my asshole day.

Both laughed and I sat there silently and kept a very serious face. I got out my computer and looked up the word bastard and read this to them.
The word  bastard means:
A contemptible, inconsiderate, overly or arrogantly rude or spiteful person. See asshole, sod.
(informal) A child that does not know his or her father.
(informal) Something extremely difficult or unpleasant to deal with.
Life can be a real bastard.
A variation that is not genuine; something irregular or inferior or of dubious origin, fake or counterfeit.

The father replied:

Well that about sums us up, if you go by definition.

Then the son said:

Doesn’t that apply to everyone, basically?

Yes sirs it does. So it takes one to know one, right sirs?

They both nodded their heads and the son had a smile.

Now can we get to it sirs. Now, all of us are conditioned bastards so why do you come three hours to see another bastard like yourselves?

You helped save my colleague at work’s marriage. He said you helped him with things so I thought we needed your help. So here we are and you can tell the rest. I’m sure you’ve seen it before.

Seen what sir?

This mess of a son! He’s a disgrace! I’m so pissed with him.

Sir I don’t see that!

Well then you’re a fucking idiot like him.

Yes sir my wife would concur with that! Do you know her? Has she talked to you?

This isn’t funny. You’re making my son laugh. This isn’t a joke! I’m pissed.

Dad, lighten the fuck up! You’re such an asshole.

Sorry sir. Do you want to know what I see?

Yes. I’m paying for this bullshit, aren’t I?

I see a man who loves his son, and is desperate to fix him when he himself is broken.  That’s what I see. Sorry Sir!
There was absolute silence for several minutes.

Sirs can you tell me: When did this all start?

Both men were now crying, the young man said:

Dad, tell him. For god’s sake tell him. Say it! Say it!

The father burst into tears and fell back on the sofa. The son just stared at him and shook his head.

Ever since my mom died! That’s what he can’t say. Fucking cancer two years ago and our fucking life has fallen apart.
Yes sir.

Now the son began to cry and this lasted for a good two minutes before a word was spoken.

May I ask you something?

Both nodded.

How do you think you have dealt with this trauma?

The son said:

I just party my fuckin’ brains out. I can’t take him – his bullshit around the house. His moods, his tears, his dates that he goes on and then freaks these people he dates out. He tells me why they aren’t like mom. She’s fucking dead! They’re not mom!

So you’re in pain so you party!  How does that help you?

It’s fucking better than doing what he does.

How is it any different?

It just is! I don’t sit at home and feel sorry for myself.

No, you just don’t let yourself feel!

Yeah, well fuck you! Why the shit did I come up here anyway?

Because you have hope and you’re tired of hurting and you feel safe.

How the fuck do you know what I feel?

Good point! So tell me!

I feel like shit okay? My life is fucked. I miss her too dad. She was my mom! But you’re … fuckin’ fuckin’ …

Fuckin’ what?

I still have a dad!

You mean you still need a dad?

Yeah, of course I do!

But not the one you have now!

No fuckin’ way. He’s got to deal with this for fucks sake. I can’t do this alone!

You can’t do what alone?

Be strong! Mom asked me to be but I can’t. I can’t do this!

Did you ever?

Yes he did, replied the father. Until you and Nancy broke up, right?

Yeah.

What happened?

Nancy was my old friend. Her and mom were really close. Dad liked having her around. She was great but I just couldn’t deal with it all.

So you pushed her away.

Yeah!

That was it my son. She just reminded me of your mom.

Dad that creeps me out!

Not that way. Nancy was just so easy to talk to.

Dad, she was my girlfriend and you were relying on her too much.

For what? I asked.

I don’t know

How about emotional support?

Dad, what do you think?

The father remained silent for some time.

Son, I think you’re right. I’m sorry that you broke up with her because I was too dependent.  You thought I wouldn’t move on. So you got rid of her for me.

Yeah dad! Mom told me you would take it hard. She knew. She told me to watch out for you. She warned me about Nancy, that you’d put too much pressure on her! She told me that.

Now the son was weeping and the father moved over to him and hugged him.

I’m so sorry son, so sorry.

I miss her Dad!

Who do you miss? I asked.

Nancy.

The dad, a little shocked, said, Not mom?

The son replied, Of course I miss mom but she’s dead. Nancy’s alive Dad! Alive!

I know. It’s just that it’s your mom!

Sir, may I ask, is your mother alive?

I don’t know. I never knew her. I was adopted.

Yes. So your wife was everything to you?

Yes she was.

But you still have a son!

Yes. I see that! And a daughter. She lives out west and is married.

Yeah and look at the pressure you but on her to stay. She almost gave up her job, to babysit us.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry! What do we do now?

Life is for the living dad!

You got a pretty wise son here! Why don’t you listen to him? Get closer to each other. Were you ever close?
Yes we used to be! He’s strong like his Mom is!

Was Dad!

Was, okay, was!

Well I think that getting close again is the best option. But can I give you both some advice?

Yeah sure! the son replied.

Try or do new things together, nothing you did with your wife.

No shit. Everything we do depresses him. He keeps bringing mom into it.

Well when your dad chooses to depress, how could you help him?

I can’t.

Right!

And when you choose to self medicate with drugs or drinking, how can he help?

He can’t.

Okay, but if you both work together on your relationship and it works better for you guys, will that help the both of you.

Well I wouldn’t be as depressed.

You wouldn’t choose to depress.

Okay, I need some help with that.

Well, when your son is in pain does he choose drugs?

Yes I do for sure!

Okay okay, I get it.

But I think I would like to see you again.

This was not what I thought it would be. I think I have a lot of work to do.

Me too Dad … like getting Nancy back!

Okay then! So call me and we’ll set up a time.

Sorry to come on a Sunday morning so early.

Anytime sir!

Coachbri


Father and Daughter

June 29, 2009

The morning was just glorious. Small snowflakes fell straight down, touched only by stillness. They seemed to travel in slow motion, and fell so gently it was breathtaking. The sun would touch them higher in the sky and the flakes took on the suns golden light. As they landed on the ground they sank into the earth in a way such that they seemed to disappear before one’s eyes. This movement stayed for several minutes and then a small gust of wind would come and end the golden dance.

He was a very large man with big features and a strong Dutch accent. He knew why he had come and wanted to get to it. He had enormous hands and a defined jaw that seemed to go on forever, giving his face strength and character.

I have come about my daughter. She is not listening to me and is giving me so many headaches. She seems to be doing poorly at school, as well as not attending church and I am very concerned about her soul. She’s going to get the wrath of God. I have come to talk with you, as you know well an old friend of mine who talks about you in our discussions. He often quotes things you have told him and he holds you in high regard. I miss my old friend now that he is passed away. So I thought I would come to talk with you.

Well sir I too miss Henry. He was a good man!

Yes he was but his ideas and your influence seem to move him away from his church. But we all have our sins.

Sorry sir I don’t believe in sin! The etymological meaning is old and it meant “to miss the mark”! It was an archery term I believe.

So you don’t think there is EVIL?

Sir, all I know is that these words had a different meaning at one time and have a different meaning now. The word evil meant “to exceed due limits”. So I am saying Sir that to me, sin is a term that has its roots in missing the target or point of something. People who buy into sin, as a bad thing someone does to offend, means that they are conditioned by the propaganda of religion as a means to control. Sin has been invented to control people, to foster guilt in the human mind. Guilting people is a way people behave toward others to breed the feeling of humiliation in order to control. The human race is full of this process as a means of creating authority and judgment over others.

Well I believe people do evil to other people. And without knowing what sin is nothing makes any sense. Society would be corrupt if we didn’t have Sin and Evil as guideposts.

Sir I’m not trying to be rude but how much more evil do you want! 3% of the population of the earth owns 95% of the wealth. We have wars, poverty genocides, executives who ripped off millions of people and took bonuses. Also, we are becoming a drug addicted culture. We are destroying the environment. We are losing one animal species every day.

Okay! Okay! Okay ! I get your point. You are starting to sound like my daughter. Look, I am an uneducated man. We must have some sense of morality, otherwise we would live in chaos.

Sir, if you don’t mind, we are in chaos because each human mind is trying to be psychologically secure. The pursuit of that is what causes global insecurity.

I don’t see that! How do you mean?

Inwardly man is insecure, and therefore he lives out of his insecurity, he identifies with the outside.

I don’t do that!

Sir, are you not identifying with your daughter’s behavior?

In what sense?

If she acts in accordance with what you think is right for her, she is a good daughter and if not she is messed up. Right, sir? You think you are your religion, the flag , your personal beliefs, the car you drive, the money in your bank account! All of that defines you!

Okay, okay, okay! This is really telling me everything with my daughter is my fault.

No sir. How does fault finding bring you closer to your daughter? You are responsible for how you treat your daughter, not how she treats you. This is a fact, no?

I know what you are saying is true but it is so overwhelming.

Because sir you came here out of an image and I have shattered it. That is all!

I feel so lost when it comes to my daughter … what to do with her.

Yes sir, but what are you doing now?

I just show my disapproval.

How sir?

I grounded her, took her phone away, stuff like that!

So you punish her. How does punishing her allow you the chance to get connected to her?

She must see that she is wrong. It is my job as a parent.

How does punishing connect you to your daughter?

She is doing these things that are immoral and against God.

And when you punish her … how connected do you feel?

Well, then I am in trouble with her and my wife!

So how does punishing her get you closer to her and your wife?

My wife is another story!

So how does punishing her bring the three of you closer?

Damn you! Why are you playing these tricks with me?

What is the trick?

I don’t have to answer your question if I don’t want too.

Yes I know that, I can’t make you do anything! It is your choice to answer! Does your daughter answer your questions or is she like you and choose what to answer and what not too?

Well I punish her until she answers them.

So you get the answer?

No!

I didn’t think so! So the punishment isn’t working for you then?

Damn! No it is not! (as he pounds his fist into his other hand) What are you, a mind reader?

If I was a mind reader I wouldn’t have to ask you questions, I would just read your mind! I don’t think it works that way. You see I would like you to get along better with your daughter and I think you would be happier.

I think I would too. But she does so many bad things!

Yes I know but when does she do more bad things?

That’s easy – when I try to discipline her!

Can I make a suggestion?

Yes!

Why don’t you let your wife handle the discipline for a while?

She is too soft and gentle with her.

How do they get along when you’re not there?

My wife tells me that she is better when I’m not there. But that is my daughter’s manipulation. My wife is too easygoing.

What happens if your wife is right and they are better off when you are not there?

Well she is probably right!

Now what make you say that?

When I come in they are always talking and laughing, then things go quiet.

So what does that tell you?

I am not connected to her as you said. But I want to be!
(Large tears filled his deep, massive eyes. His face seemed to change and one could feel his sadness and his embarrassment at the same time. We sat is silence for several moments and he choked out some apology.)

Sir it is fine. You are safe here. You can cry if you like.

I don’t cry!

Well apparently you do and it shows you have the potential to be a good father.

I thought I was!

Yes sir I know! But we all must keep growing sir and facing our life with new learning. I think you are capable of learning because you notice how they have fun when you not around. When is the last time you have done something with you and your daughter, just the two you?

A couple of years!

What happened?

She just lost interested in the farm. She used to always come and help me in the barn. We have horses and she loved them but now nothing! No interest!

Well can you do something with her that she loves and even if you hate it, go and pretend you like it? Just find something that you can do with her and maybe your wife too and stop all disciplining her. Let your wife do it.

Okay I will try.

And come back and see me next week.

Yes I will do that!

Thank you!

You’re welcome!

Coach bri