When I was a young child my parents got a divorce. It was difficult for both my mom and my Dad. They continue to have issues with each other to this day. Yet, as much pain, sorrow, and depression they went through, it amounts to little in comparison to what their divorce has put me through. But this article isn’t about my parents’ divorce or my experience growing up in a broken home; it is about the power my Dad held over me and continues to hold over me.
When I was growing up I had a stepdad and my biological father. They both represent two different images in my life and are pillars of power to my existence. I will first address my biological father.
Steve is 100% devoted to working hard, paying his own way, protecting the innocent, being a master hunter, a go-to-guy, man’s-man, with no doubts or issues with being himself. I was always fascinated with my dad growing up. He was the primary focus of my affection and everything that I wanted to be when I grew up. He projected the image of a super hero, and he even got to carry a gun wherever he went. He always had the right thing to say, or at least something to say when I had a question. His answer was never “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, the things I listed up were all that my dad cared about.
Steve never fully realized the power he had in my life. I used to sit on the blue ’80s shag carpet and try calling him for hours. When I did finally get to see him, it was often for a meal and some kind of token gifting. My dad had a short temper and a big list of things to do, but I loved him because he was my dad. He could do no wrong in my book. There were times where he would tell me about a new women he had met and would ask me if I was okay with it, and of course I was. I didn’t understand or even care, I simply wanted to make my dad happy and I wanted his approval. I loved my dad. Deep down I was sad though because I only got to see him two or three times a year.
I grew into my teens and finished high school. Dad and I had a very distinct conversation one day. It was during that conversation when I realized that my dad and I didn’t see the world in the same light. I realized that I could not view the world the way my dad viewed the world, but I still loved him. It was during that time when I noticed that I couldn’t live up to what my dad was preaching to me, at least not in the way he described it: I wanted to become a minister and my dad wanted me to make enough money to have a comfortable life. I respect my dad for everything he has ever said to me, but I don’t agree with the lifestyle he suggested.
Dan, my stepdad, was and still is a very quiet man. He is in many ways the complete opposite of Steve. Dan never liked to yell nor did he ever enjoy disciplining us kids, but he was always present in our lives. Dan made me angry more than once and me him angry, but we also had many good times. It was Dan that taught me how to hunt, fish, and be a man. Dan taught me about respect and patience. He very rarely gave advice, but when he did it stuck with me. I can still remember most of his sayings. In many ways, Dan became my adopted Father. Steve made a huge impact on my life, but Dan raised me and helped me become who I am today.
Now here is the interesting paradox: when I was young, I wanted Steve’s advice and attention more than anything in the world. As I got older, Steve let go of his power and influence over me. Now today, all I want is Dan’s advice and attention because all along he was, and continues to be, my Father. Dan showed me what power is and how it works in people’s lives. Now as a young man, I have my own power and I look to Dan as the example, and I continually seek to give him power over my life because I love him. I love Steve too, but he gave his power up a long, long time ago.