Below is the response (or reaction) from one of our readers to last week’s posting of “No Longer a Child: Booting Daddy To the End of the Line.”
For those unfamiliar with the southern saying, “hotter than fish grease” it can loosely translate as an individual being extremely angry.
There may be times where, even when you are the object of another’s person anger, you can benefit from the message they are bringing you. You can choose to respond to their points rather than internalizing their reaction and making it yours.
If you do the latter, you deny yourself the process of reflection before sharing the response with the external world. This may result in the message being unclear. Emotions aside, the writer of this correspondence has raised issues of substance and that are worthy of consideration.
Dear Visible Man,
I am not one to criticize the feelings of another, but since you put yourself out there, I feel the need to speak up for the parents you trampled on when you gave your “clinical insight” regarding the daughter who DID DISRESPECT her father when she chose to “boot him to the end of the line.”
In fact, after all he had done for her, providing guidance and direction in her life, her choosing to contact her girlfriends first was more of “a slap in the face.” This is the problem with young people today. A parent sacrifices all and what does he or she get in return? Booted to the end of the line! Kicked to the curb! For what? Her girlfriends?!
These girlfriends are only going to do so much for her. They only have a “snippet” of information, whereas the involved parent was there from birth to adulthood. As a parent, I was there to wipe my daughter’s behind when needed. I was there to wipe the tears when she had a bad day or relationship breakup.
I agree with the father. The daughter intentionally disrespected him. She was wrong for not informing him first, especially since he remains actively involved in her life.
You should be ashamed of yourself. Since you put it out there, I am going to put it out there.
You, being an African-American parent, should know about the struggles of our children as they attempt to navigate a world that is hostile to them. Your writings indicate that you don’t. You may want to question as to whether your comments are dividing families and creating tension among parents and siblings.
I am unclear as to what this “larger group” nonsense is that you are always writing about. What does the larger group have to do with me as an individual, as a parent supporting my daughter?
I do know that I don’t like the use of all these clinical references. It seems that you have spent too much time reading those books and not living a “real life.”
If there is anyone that needs to be lying down on a couch and having his head examined….it should be you!
Hotter Than Fish Grease, Seattle, WA
P.S. Bet you won’t print this!
It is clear that I have several choices here. In my younger and more radical days, I would probably say a few choice words that I couldn’t print. Today, being older, wiser and grayer, I choose to do something different. My choices are simple:
- Hit the delete button
- React to the challenge
- Respond by sharing & educating.
What shall it be? Hmm…Let’s go with sharing & educating.
In response to the issues/ concerns being addressed:
- From the information being presented, there is no evidence that the daughter intentionally sought to disrespect her father. Did the father feel disrespected? Yes! Is he entitled to his feelings? Yes! Is this about being who is right and who is wrong?
Answer: It depends on the observer. My hope is that the father will have the willingness to look at the situation from another viewpoint. In doing so, his feelings may change.
My goal is that he develops a sense of understanding regarding his daughter’s choice to reach out to her friends for emotional support. He can still maintain an active role in her life without the expectation that she will come to him to either inform him of every occurrence in her life or seek to resolve problems that she is now equipped to respond to.
Regarding the concept of “parental sacrifice” and what that parent “gets in return”, my views professionally and personally are the following:
- Those who make the decision to become parents are blessed to have children in our lives.
- Children DO NOT ask to be born. They come into this world out of circumstance or as a result of the choices and decisions that are made by others.
- Children DO NOT owe parents anything. There is no debt or obligation placed upon a child for being born.
- Parenting is a responsibility and NOT an obligation. It is something that one does out of love, commitment and the desire to parent.
Differentiating between the limits of friendship and the parental relationship:
- To clarify, the relationships between the daughter and the young women are not fleeting. Their quickness to respond and depth of concern are clear indications that these relationships have strong foundations and are deeply rooted.
- In reviewing the clearly identified relationship, it is my intent to point out that the friendships work in support of and not in competition with the parental relationship.
Regardless of race, ethnicity, or culture, many parents may be over their heads as they themselves struggle to adjust in a fast moving, technologically focused world. In doing so, the parent may be working with a skill or knowledge base that is not quite equipped for teaching problem solving skills for this modern age. These friendships can make up for what parents may lack in the guidance they provide to their children.
Regarding the “larger group”–from a clinical viewpoint, the “larger group” consists of the integration and dependency of three sub units working in collaboration. These three sub units are society (at larger), community (church, school, and other defined institutions) and family (loosely defined).
The most important piece, which impacts the sub units separately and as a whole, is the individual member, who in some way or function belongs to each one of the sub units as well as the larger group.
The strength of the larger group is the interworking among the three sub units. The weakness of the larger group is its dependency upon the individual to survive. The group does not teach the individual to strive or thrive. Its hold on the individual is one of existence or survival (of the group).
The focus of the larger group is “the destination” i.e. middle class standing, buying a new car, promotion at work.
However, for the parent, adult, adolescent or child to be successful, seeking self-discovery and empowerment when responding to obstacles and challenges are essential for development and growth.
I think that like most of us, you are living in fear.
You are correct. Our children are struggling to navigate a world that may be hostile to them. If we were to be honest with ourselves we would be willing to admit that as parents, many of us (regardless of race) are struggling with helping our children thrive.
In moving forward it was my intent to provide for the father (and you) an alternative way in perceiving the actions taken by his daughter.
We, as parents, must want to consider the following as our children attain adulthood:
- Transforming from the role of parent to that of Dad & Mom.
- Changing our status to advocates, seeking balance and providing consultation when requested.
- Empower ourselves to let go, move forth and grasp the full meaning of our lives.
Yesterday is GONE
Today is FADING
Tomorrow is NOT PROMISED
LIVE IN THIS MOMENT
THE VISIBLE MAN