Unconditional Love Sometimes Hurts
I have decided to tell you the story before any rumour mill gets going. This story concerns my younger son and his choice of career. I think it has surprised my family that I can be calm and measured about this when they expected me to hit the roof…I think my younger son did as well.
Let’s start at the beginning with him leaving school two years ago after being a school prefect and a mentor figure to many younger people during his last three years at school. His chosen career turned him down because like me, he is dyslexic; quite seriously so. The fire service that he had set his heart on turned him down as modern fire fighters have to be able to read chemical names accurately and fast in incidents. So his life went into freefall.
His brother is now fully qualified in the only thing he ever wanted to be…car mechanic. So he gave that a go but early on in College it was clear his heart was not in it. He qualified as a night club bouncer having many degrees in martial arts. In the UK all bouncers have to be licensed and trained in dealing with conflict and authority issues. At 19 he found himself in charge of the dance floors where he worked with a staff group under him…but this was only weekend work and not a full time job.
From Christmas there was something that he was not telling me…he was afraid to tell me…something he feared might change my opinion of him…and he became secretive. Eventually I upped and asked him straight.
He told me he had applied to join the Army but knowing my views about peace, pacifism and all he had been afraid to tell me. He had been thinking of this for some little while and his girlfriend’s two brothers are both in the services. So that was it. What a relief to have it out in the open.
I told him about the meaning of unconditional love that a father feels for his children. He was free to make his own choices in life and that I as his father would support him all I could…”but Dad that goes against everything you stand for” he said. No I said. It would go against it only if I decided to join the army. He was his own man. Unconditional love means just that. I support him come what may. I support his right to make decisions about his own life and how he wants to live it. My love as a father was over and above all these parameters.
A week ago he completed all the arduous qualifying courses for selection to join the Royal Armoured Corps. He has worked hard to get his fitness and attitude right for the selection board. I have a photocopy of his certificate here in front of me…and as a father I am proud of him…no make that immensely proud of his achievement.
Of course I shall worry about him. What father wouldn’t? But then I have two sons under 25 both driving about in their own cars. And yes I worry. But worry doesn’t change things. He passed and will possibly be getting married to his girlfriend as she wants to go out on postings with him. But we are far from that stage yet. He starts his military training on 19th April. And I have had to re-think my whole life in the last few weeks.
And you know I am still a life-long Pacifist. That has not changed.
And I am still the proud father of my sons. That has not changed.
And I will still support them all I can as they face life’s trials. That has definitely not changed.
Sometimes unconditional love hurts. But I would not have it any other way. Would you?