All of us are desperate to have someone believe that we are worthwhile. What if a man believes that kind words stifle improvement? What happens to his children when he hands out criticism, but never praise? He learned this mindset from his own father—will he pass it on to his son?
In my novel, I’ve written about a man who carries that burden and I put the reader in his head. It’s intense. Some have a hard time with it. Others respond strongly in the affirmative. Let me quote one that I highly respect:
“You have captured the way it was for me growing up. My dad never complimented me. It seemed to be a rule of thumb that a compliment would immediately breed arrogance and pride. Yet all of us are desperate to have someone believe in us. I’m about 50 pages from the end of the book and feeling sort of sad that it’s almost over.” Robert Page—Senior Pastor and Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist—The Kent State Shootings
Who will provide the force needed to change the trajectory of such thinking? Does it stop with this generation?
4 responses to “PRAISE”
Father son relationships are so… uniquely life long. The longer you live, the more you learn how unique they are.
I never had an issue with my dad. He was always supportive, in spirit. Not complimentary, but encouraging. He and my step-mom paid their annual 3 day visit this weekend. In fact, they’re retiring to bed as I’m typing this.
I learned something new about my relationship with my dad today. He gave me a gift. A rather significant material gift – his primary purpose for coming up before Christmas and my Birthday (all in the same week).
My dad said; “I wanted to do this because I’ve never been able to help you in a significant way. This is more for me than for you because I want you to know that I’ve always wanted to be there for you. It’s just always been… well, Pete, that of all the kids, you’re the one that never really seemed to need me. You always took care of things yourself, never asked, never complained, you just found a way and as much as it always made me proud, it also made me feel… well… sort of left out.” ….
The funny thing is, which I explained to him, was that the most important thing, I thought, that I ever learned from his was to be independent. Stand on your own two feet. Don’t look for a hand out but always offer a hand up, even if all you can offer is a pat on the back, a hand shake, an ear or… a ladder.
John, I’m very thankful for the posts you’ve been making here. They’ve opened my eyes to the relationship I have with my own dad, enabling me to recognize that while not a bad one, neither of us have been on the same page with each other for a very very long time.
Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments. It strikes me that the publishing world is afraid of “the negative main character” in fiction. Yet, in the real world, people grow up under negative role models, making it difficult for them to relate to a portrayal of a healthy parent/child image. It creates a block to the acceptance of the unconditional love of the Father. Life isn’t “Leave it to Beaver” or “The Brady Bunch.” Even so, in main part, that’s what’s offered in print. Only the villain is allowed to be bad. I believe the negative main character is a subject waiting for an audience. I want to get inside the head of that character and expose the hurt and wrong-headedness that goes on, show people a human being that seems familiar to them and a positive way out of the dilemma.
I think you have touched on such a significant issue for boys and their fathers–for their fathers, and their fathers! Thank you for addressing this soul issue and deep wound that too many disregard and even shun. May your book inspire healing for all boys and men. Blessings, John!
Thank you for warming my heart.