Engage

A Story about my Dad

The most important thing you need to know about this story is the setting: small town Mississippi in 1987. The reason that is so important? In 1987 I was in the sixth grade and I was the definition of the know-it-all, smart-mouthed, dramatically annoying junior high girl. (Shocking, I know.)

The most important thing you need to know about this story is the setting: small town Mississippi in 1987. The reason that is so important? In 1987 I was in the sixth grade and I was the definition of the know-it-all, smart-mouthed, dramatically annoying junior high girl. (Shocking, I know.)

It was a school morning and my dad was trying his best to get my older sister and I to school when some extremely intense drama ensued (I’m quite certain this involved which one of us sisters would be wearing the hot pink newspaper print shirt and ripped up blue jeans.) I must have lost the battle because I was in a MOOD and using my smart mouth to express myself.

Somewhere between home and the drop-off circle at Small Town Middle School, my dad had had just about enough of me and my mouth. He said something–I don’t remember exactly what– but it shut my mouth quick and left me running into school crying and nursing my hurt feelings.  

In the middle of first period math, the principal called me to his office. "What now?" I thought. "You have a phone call," Mr. Principal said. 

You guessed it, right? My dad was on the phone. He had called as soon as he got to work, asked the principal to call me out of class so HE could apoligize to ME. "I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that to you. I know I hurt your feelings and I don’t want you to be sad all day."

I expected the buts and ifs: "but you were being a real pill this morning" or "if you had just had a better attitude." But what I received was just "I’m sorry and I love you."

And man, I’ve NEVER forgotten that phone call. I have no memory of what he said in the car, what I said to precipitate his response, only the apology.

It’s no wonder then is it, that I heard myself the other day apologizing to my kids? In the midst of a stressful situation I had slipped up with the dreaded "sh" word (that’s "shut up" by the way!). And I heard myself saying to my kids: "I’m sorry, I really shouldn’t have said that to you. I know I hurt your feelings, but I love you and I’m really sorry."  

And I smiled and thought to myself: "Man, I sound just like my dad!"

We all mess up, don’t we? It’s amazing what an unqualified and heartfelt apology will do. May they flow freely from our hearts and mouths.  

0

2 Comments

  • Avatar

    Heather A. Goodman

    That’s a beautiful legacy. I
    That’s a beautiful legacy. I remember similar stories about my dad. Pride is hard to overcome, but it’s the only way to work toward being Christ-like.

    0
  • Avatar

    Sue Bohlin

    :::tears::::

    I love it, Terri, that you remember nothing but the "I’m sorry-PERIOD." What a powerful way to make you feel loved, valued, and cherished.

    Let me guess. . .

    0