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AN ACT OF CARING essay
by Richard L. Provencher 
07/09/08
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When I was a child, I acted as a child; a Biblical refrain, which helped me mature through the years. And during the interval since my youth, memories of events are twisted, reformed. Even embellished to the point of an offense.

Such was one of the incidents carried in my mind for too long. Forgive me Father, a proper tenet among God’s expectations. Yes dad, forgive me for my hostile thoughts.

An early memory of my dear earthly father, now deceased, was of an angry war vet wielding a branch.

I was almost four years of age. And in my mind’s eye that slender willow blossomed into a tree trunk. There was really no physical pain inflicted, just an image of one. And then, the back hairs of my young blond head stood straight up.

Turning around, my eyes allowed the excitement of planes revving up on Lake Osisko’s waterfront, to disappear from sight. It was a thrill to loiter in the center of Rouyn, Quebec. But, not a safe place for a young child.

The year was 1946. Dad had recently returned from World War Two after an absence of two years. And the bonding between father and son was strained. I was older than my sister and even at that tender age had already developed wanderlust in my soul.

Leaving the porch, front yard and apartment territory was not following the rules. Something I did often.

Dad told me much later I did learn a lesson that day. I do not remember ever being smacked on the behind. Dad also does not remember providing any pain, except telling me of his unhappiness about something I should not have done. I was a child, unattended and lingering alongside the activity of waterfront.

It was wrong of me. So it is with life. Temptations must be controlled by discipline. Each family has to decide which is the way to do so. I can only speak for myself, leaving the safe confines of my own life.

To step into the world, with its attractions and snares and mr. devil surely provides the wrong paths, which overstep safe boundaries.

In the case of a little boy I once was, stories of drowning were not uncommon. Headlines today blare out the details of another misadventure.

When confronted with a Hurricane, many insist on racing the ocean swells off the Florida coast. Or take a chance with the weather in spite of warnings to vacate lowland areas. Yes, discipline for listening and heeding a caring voice can allow a person to live a full life. And all of it captured in the spirit of love.

“Go slow,” I said to my own children. “Be not too anxious to tread the waters of life before proper preparation.” Almost sounds like a sermon if expressed in formal language. Instead let’s try, “Hey you, son/daughter of mine. I worry about you. I care about you. I love you.”

And that’s the way my dad wanted me to be.

It’s all part of discipline, footprints from parent to child. That sweet baby-faced urchin, now grown, with independence and a God-given will to make choices. And our Lord smiles at His Plan taking shape:

“Honor thy father and mother.”

* * *

© Richard L. Provencher 2004

FOOTPRINTS, a close family novel about a father’s search for a son he never met can now be ordered from SynergEbooks. Richard & Esther Provencher are also co-authors of two other novels soon to be published at: www.synergebooks.com



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