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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: Didn't He?
By L.M. Lee


I never had a dad growing up. He left when I was five and we never saw him again. Considering how he treated us, it was good he left. The abused ended that day. I was relieved to no longer live in terror.

Mom did the best she could. She maintained a structured home. We were enrolled in after school sports programs until we were old enough to try-out for school teams. Boy Scouts, Royal Ambassadors, youth leaders and grandpa supplemented the supply of men in our lives. When mom wasn’t surrounding us with positive role models, she was burning holes in the carpet interceding on our behalf.

I left home at the age of seventeen. I thought I was ready to be a man. Mom’s prayers continued to cover my path. I was immediately surrounded by godly friends and mature Christian men. Every step I took placed me in close proximity to men who could mentor me in righteousness…and fortunately I had the good sense to listen.

Seven years ago I got married. I was learning how to be a good husband. The same men, who had escorted me into manhood, were now my husband coaches. I never realized how little I knew. My appreciation for lifelong marriage partners took a quantum leap.

Two years ago my wife announced she was pregnant. As delighted as I was at the prospect of having a child, stark terror stabbed me in the gut. I didn’t want to be like my dad. I wanted to be like the men I had come to admire over the years – but how?

My wise wife gave me a book. I only read my Bible and sports magazines, but refusing to read this book would be the first step on the path to becoming my dad. I had drawn a line in the sand. It wasn’t the time to cross.

I read the book. Boring page, after boring page. I felt like there was a drill sergeant screaming commands at me from every page. A new panic set in. How would I ever remember all this stuff?

Four months into the pregnancy we learned we were having a son. A son! Wow! The drive to be a man of excellence and to break the cycle of abuse was heightened exponentially. My courageous wife was battling hormonal changes. I was fighting the frustration of learning a new job and trying to be supportive. I felt my commitment to excellence slowly eking out of me, like an inner tube with a pinhole.

My mom must have sensed my eroding courage. She sent me a humorous card, with a reminder she was still praying. It boosted my morale and I was ready to march on into the vast unknown realm of fatherhood. Watching “Cosby” reruns supplemented my reading.

Our son was born, strong, loud and healthy. He’s been growing like a weed ever since. When I look at him, I wonder how my dad could have ever been so brutally cruel to us. Didn’t he look at me with the same pleasure as I do when admire my son? Why didn’t he want to be there when I hit my first homerun, scored the tournament winning three-pointer, perform in my senior play, kiss my bride and bounce his grandson on his knee? How could my father, never want to be a dad?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 04/20/08
You pose a very good question. I really liked how you talk about mentoring here, too. It is so important. Good writing!
Steve Uppendahl04/21/08
Great title! Good points and questions throughout your story. Your last paragraph is excellent.