How to fix the bonds between fathers and sons
Pain Parenting and expectations
For the entire span of my career I’ve been consistently exposed to the pain of many young men, old men all hurting because of relationships with their parents or their children. Stories of hardships of coming of age in a single parent house hold, the anger of having an unsupportive or abusive parent. Insecurities that plague generations that stem from not ever being able to trust the love or ever being showed loved by a particular parent.
Heart wrenching the hidden affects of bad parenting has on a child which continues to echo long into the sea’s of adult hood. To my fathers that don’t know what to do to mend time harden relationships and to my children of all ages that still hurt I offer my life and the lesson of years of observation from my clients as well as insight from my own life. I will attempt to express to you in the same manner as if you were here sitting in my barber chair.
So you can’t stand your father? I can definitely understand the feeling. He’s hurt you so many times or just once but it was enough to change the entire course of your relationship. Sad, but even sadder is most of these men don’t even realize that they’ve hurt you. Unfortunately we can never make our fathers be the fathers that we want. Looking to the left and right and seeing examples of great fathers and wishing my dad could be like that or why can’t I have a relationship with my dad with all the love and guidance are questions that are hard to deal with. Hard because the bottom line answer is that he may not give a damn how you feel, who you are, what you want to be, or how any of his actions have influenced your life. To him all you may be was just a nut! I know the pain that realization can be, because those words were once spoken to me from my grandfather that was the only man in my life who witnesses me repeatedly being hurt by trying to love and include my father in my life when it was painfully obvious he didn’t have any desire to be in it. The years of nightmares from the age of 11 to 21 where bad consistently fighting my father in my sleep, waking up from one nightmare to fall into another one was exhausting. I had been traumatized by a relationship that at one time was the only thing I wanted in the world.
After I called my father one day because at church while in prayer I heard God speak to me and tell me to call him. I couldn’t do it I argued with God I could not submit to someone whom treated me like shit and when I was went blind and on the verge of death not only left me to faith but hung up the phone. I couldn’t call someone that left voicemails about how at 11 years old I was a bad son. I couldn’t call someone that would call my brother and wouldn’t even acknowledge me when I would answer the phone. But God put a weight on my chest and froze my movement till I submitted.
I had my father on the phone and tears rolling down my face holding a youth pastors hand as I poured out a decade of hurt pain questions that I had to this same man and it was not easy. The next day something amazing happen, my phone rang and it was my father the most significant words from that short and still awkward conversation happen when he said “son I am proud of you.” 21 years old never heard it before from my father. For the first time and only time I cried tears of joy. Uncontrollable huge tears of joy. I had no idea how much my soul needed to hear that and my heart goes out to any son that has never heard that from their father. But as your barber, friend, and someone that will always be in your corner no matter what I am proud of you. For me those words from my father where even more significant that the tears I had at the present time but that night and every night since I no longer had nightmares about me and him fighting. But the pain still wasn’t over. When I can back to my hometown to take care of my grandmother I worked at a barbershop for seven years on the same street less than a mile from my fathers job and he never came to see me, or even stop to say hello. Only once did he slow down as he drove by and yelled my name as I stood outside with my fellow barbers and clients I explained that was pops. He was just a cold piece of work, and you better hope that you didn’t need him to give a fuck because he had no fucks to give. And I was mad, deeply angered by the bullshit crusty as relationship that we had and I stored it all up. That was when the physical pain started at times of high stress and anger I began to have blood in my bowel movements which I ignored. I knew I was stressing to much over this man but oh how much I clinged tighter to the anger because I knew nothing else. It was now apart me as my fingers were part of my hand; then the pain hit. My sides felt as if someone stabbed me, and there I was lying on the floor waiting for the episode of pain to pass. Which after minutes it would but overtime just as we ignore the signs of pain in any aspect of life and don’t cure the cause the pain becomes worse. Luckily I have been blessed to have a great grandfather that love me enough to share his similar life experience and tell me with tears in my eyes to let the pain go because it was and will kill me and he’s been through enough surgeries to know first hand what that pain, anger, and stress can do. Fathers knowing it or not you are killing your sons.
Sons know as hard as It may be your parents aren’t perfect and you may have a shitty one or pair and that’s it, you have no ability to change that but you can replace that anger with acceptance. Accept all the faults the short comings and just love them for who they are not whom you want them to be. Forgive them for their crustiness so you can continue to grow and not get staggered by the pain of days past.
Fathers that want to restore a broken relationship must ask themselves how much are you willing to give of yourself to reconnect. Why must you give? Because you have lost the trust of your child, you have shown no consistency and half ass attempts to try to be good only satisfied your own personal guilt and hasn’t strengthened any bonds. That’s why your kids don’t want to see you, talk with you, let you in because you haven’t showed love and commitment to them. Children at any age know the difference and deep down parents know it to. If you still choose to embark to restoring your family be patient, humble and consistent.
Parents when opening that door back into your son’s life you might be met with resistance. You want to be daddy? You don’t let that resistance shake you from your belief that one day the relationship will be restored. You may have to call everyday, send a letter, apologize a thousand times, have your calls sent to voicemail or get cussed out but don’t loose track of what you are setting out to do. Be willing to do what it takes to re establish yourself as the loving caring parent that you know you can be. For years your actions whether intentional or not has chipped away at the soul of your seed and now you must nurture and care consistently for as long as you have breath in your body because if its half ass or something your going to try for a month then if it doesn’t work fuck it stay where your at don’t pick up a phone or write a letter that will dissolve more away than build.
Let your children see you be humble honest and sincerely want and ask for their forgiveness. Be an open book they see your soul through your actions and words no longer do you have the luxury of being guarded now to be let into their lives you got to let them into yours, It doesn’t matter your faults or shortcomings but you will have to be honest about them.
I know not from whence you came or what pain from love rest in your heart. I do know that each day is an opportunity to live your dreams of what life can be and resurrect relationships that you wish could always be.
Sincerely your barber