I can't think of a time where I haven't admired my father. He has been the backbone for many people throughout my life, from friends, to other family, to myself. He is probably the best person to ask for advice on a moral dillema, because he knows the answer right off the bat. I can't imagine how blessed I have been growing up with him as a dad, because he is always there. He did something different with his kids in raising us, and I will forever thank him for it.
I remember a time, back in high school, I had snuck my girlfriend into my room to spend the night. He had knocked, I answered, and my girlfriend, Didi, hid. She didn't hide very well, and I saw his eyes flicker in her direction and then back to me. We finished our conversation and he left, I locked the door and Didi continued to hide (not being able to see the door) until I said it was ok. I had looked back where he looked, and a part of her ear and red hair was visible. Now, She had been having problems at home, he knew the situation with her family wasn't great and he knew she had ran away from home, but I had told him she was staying with a friend. To be honest, I still don't know whether or not he actually did see her, but he clearly saw something that alerted him in that direction. He walked into my bedroom one morning two days later and poked me in the side waking me up for school with Didi in my arms saying he better not see this again.
I asked him what prompted him to go into my bedroom that morning, he said to lay down lunch money. Every morning before (and after) that he laid it on the kitchen table downstairs. So I believe he must have known something was up. How much trust can a man give his 17 year old son?
He raised me right, though. I am ashamed and proud to say I had never snuck out of the house. I had no reason to. My dad knew my friends. He knew where I was just about every step of the way on my weekends. I never had a curfew and never needed to check in. It would be normal, even being 15/16, to have my dad come downstairs getting ready for work at 4am, seeing my friends, both male and female, hanging out downstairs. Some of my friends were surprised he wasn't upset for them being there, or for being there so late.
He definitely respected me as a young man, even from the age of 16. I never asked for too much when I got a little older, I liked building and buying things for myself, especially after my parents divorce (we'll get to that topic later). The one thing he did get me, though, was a car. A Plymouth Duster. The thing was $800, chipped paint, dry rotted wipers, peeling tint on the windows, but it was mine. Now, a buddy of mine purchased a ticket to go see Red Hot Chili Peppers in Glendale. Please understand I was 16/17 at the time, and had never driven there before. He offered me $40 to drive him (when gas was still around $1/gal) and I had said OK. Well, we bring his sister along for my company on the way back, and it started to rain. Hard. It was the first time I was driving on a major highway, and first time in the rain. Let me tell you, it was the scariest drive of my life. Do you remember those dry rotted windshield wipers? Well, one worked just barely, and the other broke off during the drive to Glendale. Well, we get there without any accidents, I'm turning into the arena, and my phone goes off. It's my dad. He asked me where I was and I told him the truth. He was *not* happy and told me to come home immediately. I dropped off my friend and drove his sister home and then went home myself to face the music. I walked in and joined him in the living room. He asked how the drive was. I told him that it was, by far, the scariest drive I had ever done, and even though I knew I was going to get punished, that drive, in and of itself, was a lesson learned. My dad told me to go upstairs till he thought of a suitable punishment. Ten minutes later he comes to me and says I'm grounded from my car for two weeks. He then proceeds to say that, as a father, he feels obligated to punish me, but I have self-acquired everything in my room (including building my own computer) and he doesn't feel right taking that stuff away that he didn't give. The car was the only thing he had given me worth grounding me from. The respect to allow me to keep *my* things still astounds me to this day. I wouldn't have questioned him taking my computer for two weeks, that's for certain.
There was another time, much later into the future, where him and I had gotten into an argument, we are both large men, and we could yell the roof off our house. It was a screaming match for the decade. Naturally, him being the father and me being the son, he won, and I went to my room and slammed the door. My step-mom got into his face after and yelled at HIM for letting me treat him that way. She said that he should demand my respect and punish me for yelling at him in such a manner. Instead of listening to his wife, he shot back at her and said that I'm allowed to yell, because his children would never leave the house without telling him, like her daughter had done in the past. It shut her up quick, and it really showed me that he definitely taught us respect, not demand it. Having an attitude was not against the rules.
I could go on with different stories when he impressed me, but I won't. Just know that this man is the most influential person in my life and he molded me into what I am today. He is worthy of admiration ten-fold. I know he has figured out the meaning of life, and he takes it by the horns.
I like being a Dad, Watching my kids grow up. I believe honesty, trust, and patience is something more people should have and I hope I have taught my kids the same. - Paul Hoffman
~Just a thought