Have you ever done something that you regret? I have and only recently. Yesterday, my son came home with CA results that were below expectation. I showed my disappointment (to put it mildly). He then cried when he ate his dinner and shed silent tears as he fell asleep.
This morning I thought about what I did and said, or didn’t say, and I regretted it. So, this is my letter of apology to him to make up for it:
Son, your dad is a jerk. He expects you to grow up faster than you can enjoy growing up. He expects you to wear his big Italian shoes and walk like a grown up when you are just a boy. He is dreaming of an adult "you" in a child’s body. He doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is living in cloud cuckoo land.
I think he needs to be in your shoes and walk your walk and talk your talk. He needs to understand that life is not just about grades. There is more to it.
Of course, who doesn’t want their children to do well, academically that is? In this society, many will judge you by your grades. We all know that. There is unfortunately a disquieting form of unspoken discrimination. But the truth is, life does not punish you for mistakes. In fact, life rewards you for it, and it is called learning.
Your dad should have taken some time to reflect about that. Your dad should know that at your age, you are trying your best. And you are most sincere about it. If he thinks that that is not good enough, well then the problem lies with him and not you.
If he compares you with others, then he may as well compare himself with Einstein or Stephen Hawking (maybe that's thinking too highly of him?). How’s that for a comparison because as unrealistic as that is, the boot is now on the other foot? And spare not the kicking on your account right?
Anyway, if the roles were reversed, I am sure your dad would earnestly yearn for his own dad to understand him as you now earnestly yearn for him to understand you. And if your dad thinks long and hard about it, he will realize that his bond with you does not start and end with the grades you receive at such a tender age. And it would be so unfair to be judged or measured by what you do now when what you do later in life is equally important, if not more so. At the very least, it would definitely be more enduring.
In any event, here’s some food for thought for that old geezer. Why should he measure you by the things you have done in past at the expense of your potentials in the future? Doesn’t he know that your life stretches out from cradle to grave and not from cradle to primary school exams or PSLE or GCE levels?
Of course, this is no excuse for you to slack. But that is no reason for your dad to fret either. He should measure like with like, that is, measure apple with apple and not apple with durians. He should have confidence in you to do your studies at your own pace and not expect you to win first place before you even start the race. Your dad has put the “scores” cart before the “relationship” horse and has missed the “bonding” forest for the “results” trees.
I guess your dad has still a lot to learn and if judged by the scorecard on maturity, he really fell short. So, it is hoped that your dad will love you for who you are and not for the person he hopes you will become. That would be like mortgaging the present father-son relationship for an uncertain and unrealistic future. And the last thing you want to do is to live out your father’s lost childhood and miss out on living your very own right? That’s hardly living I know.
After all’s said, your dad is sorry for being a jerk. He should have known better. Sometimes, adults act like children and children act like adults because if they could express it like adults, children would make more sense and exhibit more understanding than adults.
Let your dad end the apology with this: “I love you son. You are my son for a reason. And the primary reason is not because of what you can do or achieve or give or contribute or will become. It is because you are you. You are special just being you. And that's a privilege of a lifetime. For me, I will always remind myself of how blessed I am to be a part of this journey of growth and discovery with you for as long as I shall live.” Cheerz.