Nicole, Dylan and I spent the 4th hanging around, doing lots of yard work and some more painting. We watched the Auburn Parade the evening of July 4th. Dylan loved all the sites and sounds. The best part was watching his head turn back and forth as the parade passed in front of him. His eyes were glued open the entire time. We then saw the fireworks show from our deck as Dylan slept through the night. It’s been 4 nights in row that he has slept all the way through. The fires have pushed the smoke back into the area so air quality is very poor. Not a good time to be out running so I’m adjusting the running appropriately. Lots of time to think during the past few runs and a couple of themes keep reoccurring. Both sort of came out of the Western States experience. One is running and why I run. And the other is parenting. Running, like any discipline, takes time and it takes time away from something else. It takes time away from home, at least an hour a day and on the weekends it can be 3-4 hours a day. I’ll go into this further next time. For now, I’ll focus on the parenting side.
What is our responsibility as parents? As children? What do we owe our kids? What do we owe our parents?
I would lean towards the side that parenting is a lifelong job and it will probably never end. Although I see some parents take absolutely zero interest in the lives of the children. This was evident in the foster care system but even in my own personal experience. Is my own dad there for me as a father should be for his son? Well, I’m not entirely sure. What is his responsibility as a parent? We’ll talk on the phone maybe once a week or every other week. He will ask about the cars, the weather, etc. But as far as a personal connection with me, I just don’t see or feel it. I mean this is the person who gave me life but he doesn’t know much about me. Now, what is my responsibility as a father? I see my own son, and love it when we can connect, share a moment, share a laugh. Sure he’s only 9 months old so those moments are pretty simple. He doesn’t have to take an interest in me for me to take an interest in him. If we can connect on his level, we are both happy. I want to be going after him, going to his events, to his games, to his world. I want to share it with him for the rest of my life. If my own son were to beg me to take an interest in him, then something is wrong with me. Something is wrong with my priorities. Am I wrong? This person who brings me into the world, then wanders off, not taking the opportunity to experience and share life as a father and son, this person is my father.
Nicole and I finished listening to Sidney Poitier’s autobiography “The Measure of A Man”, and we have rented a few of his movies. We rented “A Patch of Blue” about a black man and white blind woman who become friends. And we rented “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” about a young white woman who brings the love of her life, a black man, home to meet her mom and dad. Both were great stories and Sidney Poitier’s character had some fantastic lines. One takes place when he is talking to his dad and his dad is against the idea of his black son marrying a white woman. Sidney’s character, John, and his dad, a mailman, are going back and forth on the issue and his dad tells him he did not make all the sacrifices he and his wife made so his son could do something like this. Sidney’s character, John, replies with this:
“You listen to me. You say you don’t want to tell me how to live my life. So what do you think you’ve been doing? You tell me what rights I’ve got or haven’t got, and what I owe to you for what you’ve done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you’re supposed to do! Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don’t own me! You can’t tell me when or where I’m out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don’t even know what I am, Dad, you don’t know who I am. You don’t know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life you will never understand. You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs! You understand, you’ve got to get off my back! Dad… Dad, you’re my father. I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man. Now, I’ve got a decision to make, hm? And I’ve got to make it alone, and I gotta make it in a hurry. So would you go out there and see after my mother?”
What do you think?