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4 Things A Real Man Does And Doesn't Do

The smoke has cleared from my son's meltdown on Monday night. I've caught up on the rest I lost by staying out until nearly 2 am and then not being able to sleep once I returned home. All the punitive measures were put in place before I wrote that post: his phone only works when he calls his parents or grandparents, all the Wi-Fi in the house is disabled, all the keys (including the one at the front desk) were in my care and he was yanked off his basketball team (they only had two games left anyway). When my wife came home that evening she said, "What'd you do put him under house arrest?"

I chuckled the way you do when something isn't funny and poured myself a glass of Mount Gay on the rocks and took a huge swig. Her eyes widened with concern.

"I'm good," I assured her. "I'm not going to get drunk at 7 in the evening." Truth is, I drink so infrequently now, I can barely hold my liquor. I'm too old to be getting plastered anyhow.

"You should talk to him," she said, pleadingly looking towards the back of our home. "He needs to hear from you."

A few hours later I did talk to him, but not as his mother did, stern but nurturing. I simply spoke my mind as a man should when the air needs to be cleared.

I told him that I was sorry the man who should be his father isn't around and I can only imagine his pain (he was gone before he was born). And that he was correct in labeling me a step-dad, as I am the dad who stepped up. As one commenter put it, most folk don't get to chose their family. I chose him. I also told him if he should ever want to pursue that man I'd support him.

I told him that the day I "put my hands on him" (something he accused me of doing) is the day he wakes up in the hospital and I get carted off to jail. There was some grappling that night, all from me, but never once did I raise a hand.

I told him he was wanted (something he screamed to the contrary that night). What I told him was that it wasn't that we thought he didn't do anything right, but rather we don't understand why he opts not to do anything right.

Speaking of rights I told him he had too much going on for him, too many people in his corner, too many people loving him to piss away his own opportunities and be ambivalent about it.

I told him he was first, the first one I knew, the first one I loved. I've never once made a distinction between he and his sister.

And then I went in...

  1. I told him the show he put on made him look like a fool and all that drama is best saved for the soap operas. And the next time he gets angry he needs to figure out a better way to express himself. As his parents we have to see through all that. I doubt a stranger will show him the same discretion.

  2. I told him what makes a man a real man is his standing by his responsibilities, such as getting a woman pregnant and being responsible for the child he makes, or taking on a child as his own and never once balking at it.

  3. I told him a real man makes mistakes, owns up to them and does his best to correct them.

  4. I told him, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that a real man NEVER EVER EVER NEVER EVER curses at, or in the presence of his mother --- no matter the circumstances. A real man does not disrespect his mother, EVER! And that he HAD TO apologize to the one who gave him life --- the one who has him at the forefront of all her thoughts and actions.

  5. I advised him that his punishment had yet to be handed down but it was going to big and it was coming swiftly.

And he said, "Okay."

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