I Wish I Could Tell Him

picture of DadMy father believed in authoritarian parenting. Respect and obedience topped his list of values. My husband believes in democratic parenting with parents having ten votes! I believe in teaching children to manage their own behavior in age appropriate ways. That means children need to be heard and emotions recognized. I have always believed my father tried to micro-manage my behavior, thoughts, and emotions. “Get that look off your face” was a part of my training. I am coming to realize I owe a lot to my father even though I don’t approve of his style of parenting. His constant reminder, “Stand up straight. Pull those shoulders back” became a permanent recording in my head. He corrected my grammar even when I prayed aloud. He taught me to love God, manage money, love books, do my best, be kind, memorize scripture, always tell the truth. I never questioned my father’s love. He never withheld hugs and kisses. Papa didn’t say one thing and do another. He stood up straight, put his shoulders back, treated people kindly, gave generously to anyone in need, practiced speaking with good grammar, never swore, loved his parents and siblings, played games with us. He did what he expected us to do. It can be hard to successfully complete the developmental task of becoming independent from strong controlling good parents. It takes time to find the confidence in your own ability to run your life well. After you accomplish that task, you can begin to understand the many things your parents taught you. I thank my father every day for good posture and the many important things I learned from him. I wish I could tell him.