Love and Discipline

The "Best NGD Dad" contest so far is no contest, and not because I already have 5 amazing stories. Rather because I don't have a single story.

I wait till the last minute to do everything, so maybe the rest of the bloggosphere's procrastinators will submit a story on Friday at 11:55 PM and the contest will actually go somewhere...leaving me to voraciously review submissions all day on Saturday.

But in honor of the contest I figured I'd submit a "Best NGD Dad" story to get the creative juices flowing for the rest of you. This one is about my dad. Obviously my story is not officially entered, but I'm hoping it creates some desire to honor a dad.

My dad fit the 'traditional' dad model. He did the man stuff like mow the yard, bring home the bacon, and have complete control over the TV remote and best viewing spot from the couch. His role in the parenting was rough housing, coaching any sport we played, helping with hard math homework, and disciplining. Things like diaper changing, house work, and nurturing were usually left to mom.

But one instance of my dad's rarely encountered nurturing side will forever be imprinted in my memory of what it means to be a great dad.
Me, Dad (Papa) and Bubba
(I wrote this story about 10 years ago in a college English course. My English Professor was a tough middle-aged Viet Nam vet that told me it was the first story from any student that made him cry...he was the dad of a 12 year old at the time.)

Here it is...

I have rarely considered my father an emotional person. He doesn’t really express his feelings outwardly, and my family has become used to this fact.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I began having a slight problem with authority. It seemed to me that I knew what was best for me and did not need parents or teachers “encouraging” me in what I should do.
Needless to say, this behavior earned me a few groundings, a couple of swattings, and more then a few guilt trips. My parents felt that these things would straighten me out, and for good reason; the punishments always had in the past. But for reasons that I still cannot explain, they did not.

On one occasion which I was sent to my room, for something now which I don’t remember, my father came in and sat down, took off his belt, and told me to sit on my bed. To this day I don’t ever remember my father striking me with his belt, but he often enforced an idea which he entitled, “Proper Fear.”

My dad proceeded to sit down and talk to me about my actions and words that had hurt him and my mother. He then apologized to me for anything he had done that I felt was unfair, and with tears in his eyes he again said he was sorry and gave me his belt to spank
him for what I thought he had done wrong.

I was broken inside, and instead of spanking him I crawled onto his lap and we both cried. I tell you this story because I have seen lots of 11 year old boys act the way I did, but have never seen or heard of a father act the way my father acted. My dad is one of my heros. I pray that one day I will be as good of a father and husband as my dad.

I lied it a little in my story when I wrote it. I do remember one thing I did.

My dad subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and I discovered the SI Swim Suit Issue as it arrived in the mail. With hormones versus common sense influencing my judgment I swiped it, took it to school, and proceeded to cut out pictures for me and my friends paste all over our Trapper Keepers. Twice dad asked me if I took it, and twice I said, "No."

When the call from Principal Cook came, my cover up of covering my notebook with women draped in skimpy cover ups was up.

The following day dad drove me to school and asked to meet with me and all of my friends privately. I was sure I would be the loneliest kid in school after that. When you get all your friends busted, notes sent home their parents, and then your dad wants to meet with all of them life as a pending junior higher is over.

Dad sat down with all of us and proceeded to all of our surprise apologize to us. He apologized for getting Sports Illustrated which led to the incident. He then told us though he loved reading SI he had canceled his subscription and would never renew it again.

That was about 20 years ago, and I've never seen an SI in my parents house since.

Thanks dad.


Andy said...

1. thanks for pointing out that you made your professor cry ;)

2. sports illustrated is a great magazine with great writing. He could have easily called them up to cancel just the one issue. Or what I did while growing up--took it straight from the mailbox and dropped it directly in the sewer.

I think your dad is awesome and I think youre an awesome dad.

Dorky Dad said...

Sorry, mybad. I didn't give your contest a plug sooner, but I did today. Maybe someone will do this quick enough ...

Kevin said...

I agree that it is a great magazine.

I think it was really more of a protest against SI for even having the Swim Suit issue.

Kevin said...

Dorky Dad...that's okay. I'm stoked to get any plug at this point.

Thinking now I should have maybe done a photo contest...less work.