Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned

by Chris on October 22, 2009

condensed as in “Readers Digest”. This really touched me as a father, and I believe it will mean something to many of you as well. I first heard this while reading the book “How to win friends and influence people.” I recommend that everyone read this amazing book as it helped me tremendously in both my home and work life…

Alex, 2009

Alex, 2009

Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a twoel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, form a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too muchof youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in yourcharacter. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself overthe wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you alugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing buy a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 S November 16, 2009 at 1:04 am

Alex’s cute! ^^ I’m not quite good in writing and i don’t really read blogs even my best friend’s blog. Why? maybe because i don’t read blogs? Hehe, but i’m kind of attracted by your stories…Everyone do wrong things, but doesn’t mean they have a bad heart. I trust friends easily, because i truely trust that every human have a “kind-heart” inside them. They might be hidding deep inside, and they just need sometime and some helps from others to drag out their kindness. My friend used to be a gangster. Burning down ppl’s car, fighting along the street…and the worst is he don’t even feel any guilty. I tried so hard to advise and scold him, (well, i had no worry at all that if he will give me any harm eventhough i scold him, cz i believed that he is stil a kind person, as he save a kitten before.) at first, he avoided me for quite a time. After that, we meet each other again, and found that he is doing a course and it’s goin to finish. He started to care and love and appreciate of everything he owns.
I make a lot of mistake as well, hurting and cheating my family, frens and loves…But, deep inside, i do love them a lot…really a lot…
Life is not easy, please be tough to keep ur family happy.
Seeing forward for happy stories of yours after this…

2 Gustavo September 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm

This text is really stunning. The first time I read It made me think about my life and behavior. For all of us, our sons are the most important thing that we can have, our biggest creation, and we sometimes are very unfair with them.

I also discovered this text while reading the book “How to win friends and influence people” (Dale Carnegie), a great book to understand and learn about people relationship.

I’m sorry for my spelling, English is not my mother tongue 😉 .

Regards, Gustavo.

3 Brandon Judd April 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Great reminder. We are all guilty of letting life’s distractions and pressures get the best of it. It is a great idea to have these little reminders to help us focus on what is really important…

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