The names are changed in this story to protect the precious.

I wish you were dead. – Eldest Child

This is the worst thing a child has ever said to me. Probably won’t be the worst in the long run but still, to date, it is the one that has hurt the most. Let me list off some things that have been said that were the worst before the next was said.

  • Deaf Boy
  • Fatty
  • Stupid
  • Idiot
  • Fat Stupid Jerk
  • I hate you
  • remember that time you (insert some mistake)

Then 

I Wish You Were Dead

I am a foster parent and my children come from, hard places. All of these insults that are said hurt because of the love and care I feel for them. However, each time the insults come and the emotions run high I have to grow with them. Each insult has a story behind it both in the here and now and in the past, but as parents, we have to be the better emotionally stable person in the relationship. Which is why I say “fathers Know. Thy. Self.”

I Wish You Were Dead

There are times when my eldest has a little storm inside of him and can only express his displeasure, in irrational biting insults and wit. This day had been normal for the most part, what we could not see is inside, all of the fears and doubts that come with an entrance into foster care had been nagging him all day. Without warning, he started acting out, and we sent him to his room to cool down. Upon checking him, he declared ” I hate you, I can do life all by myself, and I wish you were dead.” I played it off “oh you don’t mean that.” He reiterated his statement “yes I wish you were dead.” I said once again “you don’t mean that!” Of course, he stated it again “I wish you were dead!”

Apparently three “I wish you were dead”s was the limit. I lost my temper yelled at The Eldest about how rude he was and slammed the door; much to my shame.

I Could Leave The Story There

What I want you to know and for me to remember is that we as human fathers fall. All the time we are brought to our knees by the crushing weight of our ineptitude. Ineptitude does not define character, though, what defines character, what will make us great fathers is a willingness to stand back up after those blows to the face.

The other half of this equation is to learn not only your child but yourself. I should have walked away after the second “I wish you were dead” but I didn’t, this is my fault. Sure he should not have been saying such things, but I closed the door to teaching him at that moment I lost my temper. After every fall I learn more about myself, and I resolve not to lose control when faced with the same situation; which will happen again.

Know Thy Self

After I had cooled and the eldest had cooled I went and reconciled with him. We apologized hugged and then discussed what had happened. In my humility and humiliation, I found him again in his little storm, and I guided him to yet another safe harbor by God’s grace.

Fathers remember when you fall you can always get up. 

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Aaron Blakeley
Dad
Aaron Blakeley is a poet, and writer. Has been dadding hard since 2007. Joined the ranks of foster parents in 2014 and has not looked back. Writes poetry and other thoughts about parenting and the ineffable at http://aaronblakeley.com. The Daily Haiku webcomic can be found at http://aaronblakeley.com/the-daily-haiku-web-comic/