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Friday, August 19, 2011

Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned

I recently picked up an audio book by Dale Carnegie called "How to win friends and influence people" I had heard it was a great read. I chose the audio version because I love hearing and feeling the passion of the story through the reader. It makes the story that much more exciting. While listening, I heard the below story "Father Forgets" by W. Livingston Larned. I immediately came to tears. So many of the words made me think of incidences in my own life. It reminded me to slow down, be calm, love, play and speak kinder to my children. They are just children and are learning. Learning from us. We can't expect them to know what we know!

Taken from the story

But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: ‘He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!’


Even though this story is from a father to a son, I think we can all learn from it. As fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teacher and friends. Be Kind to Your Children! Love them in their youth!

I am going to frame this in my home, so we never forget! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.

| FATHER FORGETS |

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 the 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 towel. 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 your 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, from 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 you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of 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 your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the 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 laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: ‘He is nothing but 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.
W. Livingston Larned
Think of this story in every aspect of your life. Put yourself in the shoes of others and don't be quick to criticize, even if you think you are right. And I recommend that you pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win friends and Influence People" It is truly an amazing book!
Please share in the comments below what you think about this amazing article. Have you read it before? Will you share it too?
Images found thanks to google

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