Sunday, June 19, 2011

Things My Father Taught Me

I haven't spoken to my father in over ten years.

My parents divorced when I was seven and we moved to Texas a few years later. For years, I tried to stay in contact with him through letters, phone calls, occasional visits, announcements and greeting cards. I maintained the hope that one day he would realize that he missed me and wanted me to be a part of his life.

I pretended that it didn't hurt when he never responded. I was kidding myself.

Five years ago, I gave up. I finally admitted to myself that he was never going to respond and I was wasting my time.

If I were to talk with my father today, I would thank him for teaching me a few things about parenting.
  • You do not divorce your children when you divorce your spouse. Children are family forever.
  • Children are a labor of love. They should never be made to feel like a burden.
  • It takes very little effort to show your child that she is loved.
  • Children (both boys and girls) need a male role model in their lives.
  • Promises are not made to be broken. Sometimes, it can't be helped, but it should be a rare occurrence.
These are just a few of the things I have learned from my father. I like to think that they have helped make me a better parent for my son.

Perhaps one day my father will realize what he's missed.