This time it was in the car on the way out for dinner.
In the car were 2 boys, a Mom and a Dad. The radio was blaring from the car stereo. At the same time, the younger lad watched 'People are People' on YouTube and started a duet performance with Mom in the car. The elder boy was playing a game on the phone that blasted techno music .
Dad was driving and concentrating on the road. He had minutes earlier avoided a potential accident and was on edge. It does not help that he has a keen aversion to noise. He snapped,
'Boy, lower down your game volume! '
As the older boy sat in front, his device emitted the loudest sound. He was within sight of a tired Dad and faced the full brunt of the old man's fury tone. The former agitated that he was picked on ahead of others, hurled back a reply,
'Why never ask brother to lower the volume, he is also making noise! '
He had a point, but Dad was blindsided by the talkback and lashed out
' Why you do not always listen to me? Why do you like to argue so much! "
The tension rose in the car. Mom was disturbed by what was happening in front and joined in the mini chaos with a sharp rebuke,
'What's going on in front? Go straight home now! "
In that instance, dinner plan was cancelled. We headed back home instead with tempers shimmering in the car. The moment the family stepped back home, mayhem erupted .
Mom and Dad engaged in a verbal battle over the incident. Dad protested his innocence, saying the boy was being disrespectful and should be punished. Mommy, on the other hand, retorted that Dad was particularly picky on the boy. She made it clear it was not the first time the boy was arrowed for a verbal assault. She was not wrong.
With tempers flaring, someone had to make a move before the situation worsen. The old man stormed out of the house but before he did, the son apologised sobbing,
'I am sorry Daddy '
It was acknowledged in return unexpectedly with the slamming of the door. Dad left the house in a huff. He heard the apology but his heart was too stiff with anger to acknowledge it. He started to wander around the estate when his phone rang in less than 10 mins from home.
The son called.
Initially, the old man refused to pick up the phone. He wanted to punish the boy yet his heart soften when he saw the lad's name on the phone. It was his Achilles Heel... he could not stay angry for long, especially when he knew he was to be blame for this messy situation.
The old man, in between guilt and anger was still feeling frustrated. He refused to listen to apologies and instead berated his boy for the first 5 minutes... how very 'adult'. After a tirade, he asked the boy to hang up. The child refused and kept saying sorry.
In between tears, the boy pleaded for Dad to return. Dad refused and the boy continued talking. At first, the old man could not make out what was said . 15 minutes passed and the crying subsided. This time the boy was more coherent... a conversation began.
Before this day, conversations between father and son barely lasted 5 minutes. On that fateful night, they talked for over an hour on the phone. Dad was seated on the kerb side of the road while son pranced around the living room. It was an insightful conversation. Truths were told. The actions of the past between Dad and Son became clearer. In fact, the revelations were so powerful, it rendered Dad speechless. For one, he did not expect a mature conversation with his son at this tender age. His boy had grown up and yet he only discovered the fact during the phone call.
After calming down, the boy did most of the talking. Dad learned that why his son reacted the way he did. The boy had felt the distance between them. He suggested ways that Dad could do to make them closer. Dad was surprised when the boy wanted to provide a listening ear and counsel as the latter felt he was under stress. At the end of the hour long conversation, Dad found himself back at the doorsteps of home. The heartfelt speech by the boy brought him back subconsciously. The boy was waiting by the door waiting for his return. The door opened and they hugged.
Things happened for a reason. That fateful night may result in a change in Father and Son relationship. It was a small step, but it was one step on the right direction. Hopefully it will lead to the start of a stronger bond between them. It took a 'clear the air' conversation for both to realise how much they love each other.
As the son said,
"Show me love. Do not shout at me. Instead, teach me how to do the right thing and I will do it . Hug me when you can. Ask me how is my day and tell me about yours. I may be young but maybe I can give you advice or at least allow you to share your problems to make you feel better. You could do the same for me."
It was then Dad realised how much he had grown apart from his son and the boy wanted Dad back in his heart . The feelings were mutual. As the son wisely stated,
"Once we start ( getting closer) , we will not stop."
Sometimes , you hurt the ones you love the most . Most occasions you may not realised this until it it too late. On that day , both Father and Son found each other again . Dad learned alot on parenting from his Son on that night. Most importantly, the relationship will have a chance to rekindle .
It was not too late.
For all Daddies who find it hard to connect with your children, you are not alone. Maybe it is our upbringing or maybe it is in our culture that made Dad a 'difficult' person to open up to the child. Regardless , do not let this cycle to turn into vicious one . Now it is the time to reconnect with your child.
It is never too late .
Published with permission from Son
Published with permission from Son