I read in some book where the author warned against befriending the neighborhood addicts. Like stray animals, once you start feeding them (so to speak) they won’t go away. Don’t know if you remember this post, but I adhere to a hard and fast rule about panhandling in that I do not participate. (usually) This rule mainly applies to folk that are just passing through. If I don’t see you begging for money on a regular basis, then the chance of you getting any money from me is next to none.
But back to this next character, we’ll call him Jon because he told me that was his name. He’s broken man. A pronounced limp, scraggly beard, wears a beat up ball cap and maintains a Pig-Pen like aura about him. He hustles at the same gas station as that newspaper-window-washer dude. In fact, he has the same hustle as the newspaper-window-washer dude AND for a small time period Jon and NWWD were competing to be ignored by the majority of this Chevron’s customers.
I buy gas often, so I see Jon often, and seeing someone everyday breeds a certain familiarity. He asks to either clean my windows or pump my gas. I never let him do either. For whatever reason, he talks to me, even introduced me to his son. (an odd moment indeed) Well I know the reason, it’s because even though I don’t let him dirty up my windows with the dirty cleaning fluid they keep at Chevron, or pump gas in my car, I do give him money. Last couple of times I’ve seen him, I’ve been uncharacteristically flush with cash and hit him off with a fiver. (which is a panhandler no-no) Now when I see him he greets me with more enthusiasm. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I give him a pound and then disinfect my hands with sanitizer when I get in the car.
Until recently I had one son. One son who for better or worse has learned, both directly and indirectly from me what it will mean to be a man. God bless that boy, because while I don’t consider myself a total bustout, I don’t consider myself a total success either. Since I was the oldest, my mother and father were not above telling me that they were learning as they went. I feel like that with my oldest son… and I guess this is both an apology and an explanation.
But that aside, any father with a spine running down his back wants to give his children things to prepare them for this world. For that matter, any father with a spine running down his back wants to make certain that his son is prepared for this world. As a father, I want my son(s) to do whatever they want in this world.
I inserted that clip at the top because around the three to four minute mark that father and son have a moment. It is I guess, the apology and the explanation.
They call it tough love. If applied properly it can motivate, nurture and teach your child without coddling them. If applied improperly, it can be hurtful, isolating, and destroy your child’s spirit before you realize the damage you have inflicted. And knowing that risk, a man will risk the down side of child rearing to separate his own weaknesses from his children. Recognizing your shortcomings in your children is frustrating to say the least. Correcting your shortcomings in your children without damaging them is something like a rebirth of self. But more importantly it is building your children to be a better whatever it is they want to be. The family DNA re-engineered and improved upon. The lesson gets passed on to the next generation, and so on and so on and so on (son). Money is not what we seek…we just want to be…beautiful and free.