Father Forgets

You will never control the cards life deals you, but you can control the way you respond.

After recently finishing Paul Hanna’s ‘You Can Sell It!’ and Anthony Robbin’s ‘Awaken The Giant Within’, I have stumbled across this gem… well I wouldn’t quiet call it stumble. Reading an interview from the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg, he quoted the soon to be mentioned book as the most influential book he has read and confessed to reading it at least once a year;

Despite only reading thirty pages today on the train I have to say I am hooked. While there are many topics we could discuss, there is a poem I would like to share which was inserted in the book. It has also been shared through multiple magazines and books including Readers Digest.

The poem is the words of a father talking to his son and what he learns later in life is that his decisions shape his destiny and the way people perceive us. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned.

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 the 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 boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to 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 tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even 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.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you 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 feeble atonement;I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours.

But tomorrow, 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 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 son, too much.


As I read it over and over, I reflect on some of the decision I have made and I may have quickly made judgement on others actions. How a friend or family members playfulness and affection was misinterpreted into annoying and smothering. How a text message from a loved one may interrupt  what you were currently doing yet it was their sign that you are appreciated and loved.

It is not easy to wear someone else’s shoes, however; if you can find a way to fit into them you will get a better understanding on how they take their steps in life.



    1. Yah that was a little concerning though I find it funny when you watch or read an old piece and people openly say they’re gay. Maybe some words we use will be interpreted differently with our kids?

  1. Love it!!! Beautiful poem!!!! Definately a valuable lesson learned there…
    I am really enjoying reading your blog. You’re very inspiring 🙂

  2. An absolutely inspiring poem, it rung true a couple of times, as a father I notice how sometimes I expect too much from my boys and I snap at them etc, and I get absorbed in my own adult problems to notice that they are just babies doing what babies do, so they make a mess, so what! And it’s true, no matter who you are, what you do, what you say, they stil will come over give u a hug and say “love you daddy” that poem is as true as anything I’ve ever read, thank you for bringing it into my attention, I will now start to see others actions for what they really are, not for what I perceive hopefully itl make me a better person.

    1. I’m glad to have shared it with you Marcelo. It rings true on so many levels and I think all fathers or males thinking about becoming a father should read this before raising their child.

      Children give unconditional love and that is something we can all learn from.

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