Father Forgets…

I am not too sure if you are a parent but the article Father Forgets from W. Livingston Larned taught me new truths about being a great father! (The article was extracted from the book “How to Win Friends & Influence People”) Reading this article reminded me that we need to change how we see ourselves that way we can be more effective in our engagement with others around us, so that we can influence them more positively.

After reading the extract, I was reflecting on how it is the month of November and the year is drawing to a close. Many of us will be thinking of our December vacation and the family time we will get to spend with our loved ones. We may also be pushing hard to end business engagements on a high and leave our staff and clients motives to re-engage in the New Year. My challenge to you is; 

Focus on what people are doing right, not on what they are doing wrong. 

Look at the value of the contribution they are making, not the error in the contribution they are making. 

If we have this attitude of nurturing positivity, then resentment will nestle elsewhere and we will have the best year end possible. 

Do tell me how this extract from Dale Carnegie’s Book impacts you and what you will do differently as a result of reading Father Forgets. 

Father Forgets – W. Livingston Larned – extract from How to Win Fiends & Influence People

“Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your friends by marching you ahead of me into the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tight with an affection which only God could have set blooming in your heart and which neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

There was so much that was good and fine and true about your character. This little heart of yours was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying it as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.”

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