Hello and good day!
two fathers are sitting on a couch talking. Their two sons have done something they shouldn't have done.
The first son, a twelve-year-old, comes walking into the living room. "Sit down at the dining room table please. We need to talk," says his father. "Ok," says the son. He walks to the dining room table with his head hanging down. He feels bad about the whole thing and hates that he has disappointed his dad.
"What happened?" asks his father.
"We were in the street riding bikes back and forth in front of the house, like you told us we could do. Then my cousin had an idea. He thought we should ride around the lake by ourselves," says the son.
"Keep going please," says the father.
"I told him that we didn't have permission and that we should go ask. But he assured me that it was fine. I felt it was wrong to go without asking, but I didn't want to look scared," says the son.
"That makes sense. What else happened?" says the father.
"I gave in, and we went riding. Everything was fine until we came to the hill," says the son.
The other father nods. He knows the hill his nephew is referring to. It's a cone of a hill with a curved top and steep slopes climbing up on either side. It's the most dangerous hill in the neighborhood for riding bikes up. A driver ascending one side has no idea what, or who, might be on the other side.
If a child isn't paying attention and rides up the wrong side of the road, a car can suddenly appear at the top of the summit and come bearing down on them. This is the precise reason the other father doesn't allow his children to ride the lake by themselves.They haven't yet proved that they are conscientious enough to take the necessary precautions without parental warning.
"And the accident happened on the hill?" asks the boy's father.
"Yes. We were kidding around, laughing, telling jokes, looking at each other and doing tricks on our bikes. We went riding up. We weren't paying attention. All the sudden, a car appeared and headed straight towards us," says the son.
Both fathers shake their heads.The thought of their sons being in such a dangerous situation makes their hearts speed up.
"Then what?" asks the father.
"My cousin was behind me a little way. He turned quickly and drove into a ditch on the side of the road. He fell and got scraped up, but it wasn't bad. I jumped off my bike just before the car crashed into it," says the son.
"Oh my God. You could have been hurt so bad," says the father. He looks down and pinches the bridge of his nose.
"The car drove over the bike and then came to a stop. The driver got out and walked over to make sure that we were ok," says the son.
"And then?" asks the father.
"Once he saw that we were ok, he wanted to take down our contact information so that he could call our parents. The bike was ruined, the tire rims and the frame are all bent. I walked it back here. We came straight home," says the son.
"The man called us. He was glad that he didn't hurt you boys. He said that it would have broken his heart to hurt you. He also said that his car has some serious damage. He will send us the bills so that we can pay for the repairs," says the father.
The boy is on the verge of crying. "Dad?" says the boy. "Yes son?" says the father.
"I'm so sorry dad. I didn't mean for any of this to happen. I will do whatever work is necessary to pay for the repairs. I'll do anything to make it up to you. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me dad. I'll never do anything like this again," says the son.
"Come here son. I'm so happy that nothing terrible happened. If you were hurt badly, I could never get over it," says the father.
The son sits next to his father on the couch and puts his head on the father's shoulder. They embrace.
"Now go tell your cousin to come down please," says the father. The boy wipes his eyes and goes upstairs to bring down his cousin.
The cousin, a stocky ten-year-old, comes stomping down the stairs. He has a challenging, proud, look on his face. His arms are folded across his chest.
"Sit at the table right now!" demands his father. The boy sits and stares daggers.
"Your cousin told us everything. You pushed him to go around the lake even though you know it's prohibited. What is wrong with you! You two could have been killed! How many times do I have to warn you about that hill!" yells the father.
"We made it out fine," says the son. "You made it out fine? Your cousin barely escaped with his life and now we owe thousands of dollars! When will you learn to be more responsible!" shouts the father.
The father breathes heavy. The son stares at him with a small smirk forming at the corner of his lips. "Is that all?" asks the son.
"No that's not all! You're grounded and you will work to pay back the money. Do you understand me?" yells the father.
"Sure," says the son. "Sure huh? Get out of here. You don't even care. Just go," says the father. The boy walks up the stairs and goes back into the room with his cousin.
The two fathers are alone again.
"How come you and your son have such a good relationship and me and my son are always fighting," asks the father. "May I be honest with you?" says the other.
"Yes, please tell me the truth. Something needs to change." "You need to let the boy talk. Of course, he is going to be angry and rebellious if he doesn't feel heard."
Several weeks later, the father and son duos get together again. The sons go off to play. The fathers are back on the couch.
"I thought a lot about what you said. It was hard for me to admit to myself, but you're a better father than I am. You've done a better job. I need to learn from you."
"Thank you. It's not about better or worse. We learn from each other. How are things lately?" "Not perfect, but much better. Thanks to you."
A great irony that I've noticed in human behavior, and I include myself in this, is that we tend to become most defensive about the most important issues.
On small things, like where to eat lunch, or which brand of laundry detergent to use, we're all ears. It's a peculiar thing.
I think that when the stakes are high is when we're most frightened to admit that we are wrong. It means that we've been screwing up big time on something essential and our pride doesn't want to accept that.
And yet, this is precisely when it is most important to acknowledge our errors.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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