The privilege of having talks with my son about the good and bad things going on in his life periodically come up. Recently my son talked about some troubles he had in a class with a teacher. It made me angry that she would treat him poorly, berating him and yelling at him in front of the class for not completing an assignment the way she wanted it. I was ready to call her up and set her straight. However, he really didn't want me to, but rather he just wanted to share with me that he had had a tough day. He was just letting me know. It showed me that he is learning how to deal with troubles all by himself, which is encouraging. There is no shortage of dysfunction in the world and it's good for him to learn how to deal with it, and to honor his teachers now - and supervisors later.
There was a boy at school who threatened to kill some of the girls in his class. That made my son very angry and protective of the girls, and so he confronted the boy, who then threatened to kill him too. On that issue, outrage welled up in me again and I had to contact the principal so he would be able to deal with the threatening behavior. My son did not want me to, but sometimes Dads still need to intervene. But, I had to find a way to intervene without violating the trust that built up between us that allowed him to share things with me. This meant I had to do a lot of explaining to him about the gravity of the situation, and to give him perspective and understanding. If we know someone is dangerous, and we have the responsibility to say something. In a similar biblical concept, if an owner had an animal he knew could hurt people, and it got out, then the owner was responsible and liable. The unpredictable behavior of a Rottweiler that has not been properly socialized is an example of this. That boy is now in counseling, and appears to have temporarily changed his behavior. I still think the school should have expelled him, but now it is in the hands of the school authorities rather than me. Since my son is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and very strong and big, he is the only one that challenges this foul-mouthed bully, and I'm proud of him.
These are some of the things this father and his son talk about when the door opens up. My desire is to stay in touch by doing things with him and listening and being receptive when he opens up. We also do things like walking to the store together and talking, playing games together, playing music together, fishing together, and talking during movies. These activities provide a way for us to stay close, and they give a framework within which my son can share what is on his heart or mind.
It also helps to not try and fix him or fix the problem right away, but rather to ask questions and listen to what he is saying. The time for instilling and training truth into his heart was best when he was young. At his age, guiding him to finding the right answers, rather than telling him my answers, means so much more because the truth he learns then belongs to him. Now, this Dad has a teenager, and has switched to more of a coaching role.
Rich Kimura is a project engineering manager, freelance writer, and entrepreneur. He has numerous technical papers, 1 patent and 2 pending, and 24 years experience in industry. He started numerous home businesses and has Crown Financial training. For more unique perspectives on personal finances, relationships, and spirituality, visit Cirrovista at http://www.cirrovista.com