As promised, we have a brand new topic this week. Once again, we have family members behaving badly. This time, it’s a parent.
The letter is a sad one, and I’m betting many people can relate to it. Let’s see what this chastened son has to say:
After your columns about when a child lashes out, how about the topic of when a parent lashes out?
I am a 57-year-old grandfather whose father is determined to “reform” me because I am bound for Hell. The problem? I don’t wear a missionary/military haircut. I also have facial hair.
My father, a teenager through World War II, believes that if one is not wearing “approved” hair styles, one is simply bound for Hell. It doesn’t matter that I have held responsible church positions and worn my hair appropriate to the calling; he literally cries over the fact that I am bound for Hell simply because of my hair. In all other ways I am a model Latter-day Saint.
At my age I still have all my hair and it’s not all gray and white yet, and I haven’t lost any of my curl. I wear it long enough to touch my collar and show off its curl. My bishop knows that I do and will wear my hair appropriate to an extended calling and has no worries over my righteousness and spirituality. (He signs my temple recommend without hesitation.) My stake president has expressed his jealousy over my still having hair and jokingly says he’s going to talk the Lord into a “responsible” calling for me so I can be as bald as himself.
I literally cannot visit my parents without extended and very hairy lectures from my father. These lectures have obviously failed, so now he is talking to my sons behind my back – lecturing them on my evil, sinful ways and ordering them on what they are going to do to save me from eternal damnation. Does he not think my sons report right back to me? Consequently, my sons refuse to visit my parents because they know they do not have to take orders from the man or listen to his tirade.
Since my sons won’t visit him anymore to receive orders, my father has taken to calling my bishop, who has told him to stop calling. He also will not let me visit when members of his ward are going to be around. He is literally ashamed for his ward members to see he has a son who is so blatantly disobeying God’s standards.
I must note that several years ago I grew my hair out so I could donate a 10-inch ponytail to Locks for Love in honor of a great-niece and a son who were both going through cancer. When an active, faithful LDS man in his 50’s is courageous enough to do something like that out of love for another person, he should be congratulated and not condemned to Hell by his own father (who refused to believe that cancer patients would or should care whether they have hair or not).
Anyone who thinks a curly-haired person growing a ponytail is simply “too lazy to get a haircut” has never tried to properly maintain a curly ponytail! I was happy to cut it when it was finally long enough!
I love my father, but I am 57 years old and am living a proper Latter-day Saint life, and I haven’t needed to take orders from him for quite some time. Our children all marry in the temple, missions are all accomplished, and grandchildren are being raised within the Gospel Covenant. What more could a parent want? Besides, of course, an obedient haircut?
This would be funny if it weren’t true!
Tired of the Dad I Love
Tired, in your case it’s a haircut. Other parents find other things to criticize. I well know what being chastised by his father can do to a man’s confidence. I have seen it in action!
Readers, if you have any advice for Tired, or any stories of your own, be sure to send them to [email protected]“>[email protected]. DO NOT USE THE FORM ON THIS PAGE, BECAUSE THINGS GET LOST THAT WAY. JUST USE THIS EMAIL ADDRESS! Be sure to put a subject on it so I’ll know it isn’t spam. “Tired of the Dad I Love” can use all the words of comfort, condolence, and advice he can get.
Until next week – Kathy
“Some parents really bring their children up; others let them down.”
Want more Kathryn H. Kidd? Visit www.planetkathy.com to read her blog, get free stuff, and participate in the new Ask Madame Kathy forum. Kathy also has a weekly column at the Nauvoo Times (www.nauvootimes.com).