A long, long time ago, I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile…..
Oops, sorry, got a little carried away there.
(Now I’ve got that song stuck in my head)
I can still remember so very long ago when my older brother, Putz, left home at the age of 17. Putz and mom didn’t get along. In fact, Putz didn’t get along with my step-dad either. By the age of 17, Putz was drinking, smoking dope and doing a lot of stupid things. He missed classes, did poorly in school, and just didn’t seem to care about anything at all.
He was my big brother, my protector, my friend, but there were times when he was my worst enemy. By the time he left home, I was afraid of him. I was only 13, and very small for my age. Our dad lived in Alaska and knew how much Putz hated living with us in Colorado. Too many rules I guess. Dad offered Putz a home and mom resisted letting him go for fear there would be no discipline at dad’s. (She was right).
The final straw for Putz came when we all returned from vacation to find that Putz had completely trashed our home. (He was too cool to go with us and was allowed to stay home). After a rather “intense” confrontation, Putz was packed and leaving for Alaska. We made the long drive to Denver, put him on a plane and saw him off. I didn’t see my brother for four years after that day. Putz never called or wrote. His mother had to call our dad to find out that he made it there okay. There was a lot of anger and bitterness between those two for a very long time.
I am reminded of this time in my life because my own son almost followed a similar path. In his last couple of years of high school, he missed classes, didn’t turn in assignments, and started doing stupid things. He was also disrespectful to his mother. In all the despicable things his mother has done, I always encouraged him to respect his mother, whether he felt she deserved it or not. He still respected authority, just not his mother. He started wearing baggy clothes and hung out with the “gansta” crowd. He also got into his share of trouble.
I spoke to his counselor at school and found that he got along well with his fellow students and the teachers and staff, and they all thought very highly of him. “He’s just a great guy, everybody likes him!”
So why did he stop trying? Why did he stop caring about things?
I believe it is because his “give-a-crap” was broken.
All he heard from his mother is how worthless he is and how he’ll never amount to anything. Never any words of encouragement, just complaints about what she didn’t like about him. (Sound familiar?) He had to listen to his mother go on about how much she hates his dad, and then hear her scream at him, “You’re just like your father!”
I can only imagine how that made him feel. No wonder his give-a-crap was broken.
I had always told my son that there is always a place for him here. He understood that there is no free ride. There are rules here. Nothing too strict, though. Just your basic
- Be considerate of others.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Respect your home and the others who live there too.
Each of those can be broken down into several different things, but you get the idea.
A few weeks ago, right after his 19th birthday, he had finally had enough. He called me and asked if the offer for the room was still good, of course it was.
I picked my son up from the airport last Wednesday. As we were driving out of the airport parking garage, my son was already on the phone with his mother and his little sister, letting them know he made it here safely. Before he hung up the phone, I heard him say, “I love you, mom”
My son came here to start a new life, to get a fresh start.
My son has a huge heart for God.
My son is a follower of Jesus, God’s Son.
My son is a good man.
My son is taller than me.
I am so very Proud of him!