Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned

I’ve been reading this story many times. It keeps inspiring me every time I read it. I will be reading this on and off again for many years to come. A truly inspiring story for all daddy. 🙂

Father Forgets  by W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a twoel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, form a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too muchof youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in yourcharacter. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself overthe wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you alugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing buy a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

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7 thoughts on “Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned

  1. Nice one. A good reminder for all the parents to treasure their kids and appreciate their positive side. Don’t just dwell on their negative behaviour.

  2. Nice story. Some fathers/mothers are like that – they open the mouth – nag, nag, nag…scold, scold scold – everything they say is right, everytime, the kids are wrong – they force their beliefs, their ideologies, their prejudices, everything down their children’s throat. Is it any wonder at all that the kids are pulling further and further away…or worse, they rebel and hit back.

    Kids brought up with love…will love. What goes around comes around, it’s as simple as that.

  3. I love this one too – working parents should take note of the message:

    A father came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.
    Son: “Father, may I ask you a question?”
    Father replied: “Yeah sure, what it is?”
    Son: “Father, how much do you make an hour?”
    Father said angrily: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
    Son: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
    Father: “If you must know, I make $20 an hour.”
    “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down. Looking up, he said, “Father, may I please borrow $10?”
    The father was furious, “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such childish behavior.”

    The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. Father sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money? After about an hour or so, the father had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10 and he really didn’t ask for money very often.

    The father went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
    “Are you asleep, son?” Father asked.
    “No Father, I am awake,” replied the little boy.
    “I have been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the father. “It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $10 you asked for.”
    The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you Father!” He yelled.
    Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.
    The father, seeing that the little boy already had money, started to get angry again.
    The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.
    “Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.
    “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
    “Father, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

    Moral of the Story: It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life.
    We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.

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