My man is strong
In so many ways
A man of substance; a rock for our family.
We all look to him
So his words to me this morning were startling -
"You know, my dad has never, ever said 'Well done' to me.
Now understand, my man is an achiever: in sport, in work
Actually in every area he takes on.
Not a driven, uptight guy but determined and good at stuff.
He told me this morning that his father watched every rugby game he ever played at school
But there was never praise.
All the feedback was about what he did wrongly
What he should have done better.
Same with school work.
Now my man is in his early 60's
And this thing haunts him
Because it did not end with his school years.
But has been the minor key throughout his life.
He did well as a naval officer
And built a number of successful businesses, one of which is listed on the stock exchange.
He has taken care devotedly of his ageing parents, beyond the call of duty
But the criticism and withholding of approval just continued
And continues still
Here's a story that illustrates my point:
One day DH* was doing a presentation of his business to a group of his peers, so he invited his father to attend with him.
He thought that once his father heard everything laid out, he might understand what he had achieved.
It was a big occasion, well attended
My man's carefully prepared presentation was well received by his peers.
His father's reaction?
While his son was speaking, he was making a list of everything he thought his son was doing wrongly.
Not one word of approval or affirmation
Not one word.
It doesn't matter how old you are: it hurts.
The old man is proud of his son
I know he is
But he never says it to him
Never acts as if that were true.
And the tragedy is that he probably thinks he is helping his son.
My man remains a rock
He manages the pain
And learns from it
But I pray that the day will come when his father looks at him
Really sees him for the man he is
And tells him that he loves him and is proud of him.
* DH - dear husband.