“Fathers, Provoke Not Your Children to Wrath”

IMG_0570You ask me if I have kids. “Yes, I myself have three daughters.” Then you must know how I feel. You look at me, and I am seeing great emotions about to pour in. “Yes, I do. Yes, I understand the pain of loss. Twenty-two years old, your only son. His departure — his bloody departure– must be very painful. And your feeling of remorse. Yes, I understand all those.”

Why does it have to be so?

It all began with dreams. Your son’s. Dreams of great income. Dreams of places like America or London. You are an engineer, a board topnotcher at that, and you think his dream to become a nurse is to give in to mental weakness. His mental weakness, not yours. But your son admitted that his math skills are far from satisfying. Just help me become a nurse. So nurse he would be.

That dream was the mover, and other dreams were put aside, or laid by the wayside. The house in the farm was sold. The land, four hectares of grandfatherly dreams too, was also sold to be able to send the favorite grandson to college. Everyone in the family made the sacrifice. Older sister, for example. Let Junior finish nursing school; when he’s done, you will be next. Did Junior say he needed books? He can have it, not just any book, but stateside books, its pages bright and glossy. Oh, did he say he needed to do much research? Why not a PC, one that packs in more power, with an internet connection to boot.

Two years. Plus half a million spent to educate Junior. That was just for tuition, and that was much money in these days when good income and resources are hard to come by. You were asking for his grades, as if those grades were your son’s way to repay a kindness and a privilege. You never saw a thing that resembles it. You took the initiative to get them yourself. And you were mad. No, mad and surprised. Surprised because you thought sons should follow in the way of their fathers when it comes to intellectual achievements. Mad because the “fool” in him had got the better of him. “What do these 3 F’s mean?” you confronted him the night he arrived from school. “Don’t give me that humble look! What do these F’s mean?” For the first time in years Junior saw fatherly impatience. The fuse is getting shorter.

Junior came home the other day, and he was drunk. He wanted to turn his PC on, the PC you had given him as a gift to motivate him to aspire to greater heights. That day he saw you packing that PC–you were in a hurry, for the buyer was waiting outside the house. The line man from the internet provider company has just pulled out the last of the internet cables. Not a word was said, but Junior understood.

That night Junior came home, terribly drunk. “Don’t show me your face,” you said. You began to put up boundaries, walls so thick and so high. Boundaries that you think protect you from shame, or salve your regrets. They actually fence your son out. “Don’t show me your face again.” You draw the line and you are not crossing over it, never.

Your son was begging for another chance but you were not listening. “Out!” you shouted. Junior rushed to your room. He was weeping. You were blind to what could be the last sign of something that was amiss. Because you were deaf to his pleas, he had no recourse but to take a course of action that you too would regret later. A shot. And it broke the stillness of the night. Just one bullet on the head. And the lifeless Junior slumped at your feet.

You still couldn’t believe your son would kill himself. But he did. You said you never understood kids. Now you do.

What would you have done? There is no room for undoing the acts. Now too you understand regrets. And remorseful feelings, of which you have much.

What is it that Paul advises parents? “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Tomorrow morning, three hours before noon, you and the family are going to bury Junior. Sadness is a long trip to nowhere.


One Response

  1. too painful ending for a very nice start story…but that is reality all about..most people care less of what other people’s interest..they are just so focus of what should they have and very inconsiderate that we all have individual differences and unique capacity

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