…I was reminded recently about how important a follow up phone call can be. Important questions await equally important answers. Even if the answer is somewhat less than expected, it matters that the follow up information be communicated quickly and accurately. With such an answer I can: move on; make a more informed decision; answer someone else’s question.
In the same day I waited (in vain) for follow up calls from one person and received a follow up call from someone I didn’t expect. The unexpected callback was full of genuine concern and encouragement–quite the lift I needed at that moment. The call back I never received generated a trip to the office and 90 minutes spent. Even though things worked out well in the end, I can only imagine what I could have accomplished with those 90 minutes–voiced a documentary about armadillos, perhaps; gorged on more of Cora’s delicious cheesecake (yum); or maybe write a blog about how old school yet important it is to make that return call. It only takes a moment…
…OK, fellas. There’s nobody here but us, so I can speak freely. I am a man who has done everything that men do to destroy their families and relationships. I have lied, cheated, stolen, broken sacred covenants and promises, even forsaken my children for a right now thrill (read adulterous relationship). There was a point in my life when I had NO relationship with any of my children. It wasn’t their fault. In my lifetime I have been married 4 times to 3 different women (it’s a loooong story) and each one of those marriages had the same problem. ME!
The reason why I’m freely sharing my horrendous history is to tell you that even through all of my destructive behaviour there was still a chance for redemption! I don’t dare expect your ‘AHA’ moment moment to hit you like mine hit me. But I know there are guys out there like me who have said the wrong thing (and kept saying it), did the wrong thing (and kept doin’ it) and in the course of trying to ‘find yourself’ in the midst of a mid-life meltdown you lost touch with the folks who matter most–your kids.
Here’s a real manly challenge I lay out for you. Call ’em. Reach out and call them. Let go of the pride, excuses, forget about who’s right or wrong. It takes a real man to be responsible for the mess he’s made and then go back and pick up the pieces. It won’t be easy. Years of neglect and rejection will NOT be erased by one or ten or a thousand attempts to fix it. They won’t want to talk at first. They won’t even acknowledge your existence. Or, they may react like my kids did–with some of the most colorful language this side of a marine barracks after they laughed in my face.
You wanna ‘man up’? You wanna exhibit the proper ‘swag’? Do you want to be a superhero? Don’t jump off a cliff! No need to break the land speed record! Hang-gliding is not required! But there is a little heavy lifting involved. Pick up the phone. Tell them ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ and then spend the rest of your life proving it. C’mon, man, you can DO this. If you are breathing while you are reading this, you have the golden opportunity, the once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a Universe-altering choice. Humble yourself for the sake of your children. Believe me, bro–they’re worth it!
Stand tall, clear your throat–and Happy Father’s Day
P.S. My relationships with my own kids are not perfect, but they’ve gotten much better. They’ve even stopped cussin’ me out!