Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Steve of Freedom Education.
I come from an Italian background. Both my parents were born in Italy.
When I was growing up we didn’t say the words “I love you.” It wasn’t normal in our family to do that. This wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong, it’s just the way it was. We just didn’t say those words and express ourselves verbally. We expressed ourselves in other ways that were non-verbal.
My dad and I used to have these conversations. And in these conversations my dad thought he was right and I thought I was right. We both thought we were right.
You see, this was a real big problem. Here you have two grown men who think they’re both right, which means nobody is listening.
When I played hockey when I was younger I heard my dad point out all the mistakes I made. I always heard the corrections I could have made, but I never heard him say how great I was doing or how proud he was of me.
It doesn’t mean he didn’t say those things, I just never listened to him that way.
In March 2006 I participated in the Landmark Forum. It’s a Saturday and I phone my dad. I’m at the course and I’m really nervous to speak with him. I was scared. So I get on the phone and my mom answers:
Mom: “Hi Steve, how are you?”
Steve: “Oh, hey mom. (huge relief ) I was calling to speak with dad, but I guess he isn’t around.”
Dad: (on another line) “Hey Steve, it’s your dad. What’s up?”
Steve: (sweating like crazy) “Oh, hey dad. Well, there is something I wanted to tell you
… (long pause) …
Steve: I just realized that it must have been really tough for you and mom to raise me when you were young. I mean, you were in your early 20’s and you had so much responsibility. It must have been hard. I just wanted to tell you that you did a great job raising me and that I’m responsible for raising myself from now on. I also wanted to let you know that I care for you and that I love you very much.”
Dad: “Well, your mom and I want you to know that we are really proud of you and your brother.”
That one statement “I’m proud of you,” totally changed me. It was the first time I heard him say those words.
Why am I telling you this?
You see, my dad and I have an amazing relationship today; we really do. And I’m so happy and grateful that he is a part of my life because I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. It doesn’t matter who’s right anymore. What really matters is that I got my dad back.