Everyone has a story, whether good or bad.
by Glenn Starkey
I was prepared to write about the mental exhaustion we feel from months of constant editing, proofing, and preparing our books for print or e-book publication, but a Facebook posting I read this evening abruptly changed my thoughts.
In brief, the posting was from a young man, 19 years old, asking whether it was wrong to carry such dislike toward his father for neglecting him through the years, leaving his mother, their family, and starting another family—and still seemingly ignoring him. A reply from his sister, one year older, came immediately, echoing the same emotions toward their father, only with stronger animosity. Knowing them I felt a deep hurt because of their pains, yet realized regardless of what replies they received, only the passage of time could heal their wounds, if ever.
Unfortunately, divorces occur in families, and all too often leaves everyone bitter, resentful, and scarred—especially when children are involved. In Vietnam I witnessed the effects of war upon families. As a police officer on the streets I responded to more violent family disturbances than I wish to remember. My wife works for a law firm that handles divorces. Each evening I see how disturbed she is when children have been swept up in parental battles.
There are no perfect families. Everyone has a story, whether good or bad, that can be told about their families. All too often though, many of the stories range from alcoholism and physical abuse to abandonment and worse. Those events have a long lasting impact on children that is often not discovered for years then becomes one source of adult life problems.
I’m not a psychologist or a licensed therapist, but I once heard of a method for helping someone who silently carries such hurt from their youth: write it all in a journal and then burn it.
If truth were known, every author has placed a piece of themselves in their novels. I know I do, and it’s done without intention. But baring your heart in a private journal, writing every vile thought and memory you’ve held secret and captive within, and when complete, burning the book, works to some degree to cleanse the soul. It is the statement and release of those inner demons which is most important.
Of all things though, we as adults, as parents, should always remember that our children must be protected and feel loved by us. We are responsible for nurturing their overall mental development and confidence that will carry them through their lives.
There are enough hardships and obstacles in life without carrying additional baggage from our past. We cannot undo the past, but we do have control of the future—and the future is today.
When the last sands of my hourglass are about to fall, I hope my son will have a good story to write about his lifetime with me.
How do you feel?
photo credit: Jake Starkey