Dad, I Need You
By Barrington H. Brennen, June
This article is Part 4 in the series "Male
Leadership in Crisis." The following is a teenage sonís letter
to his dad.
"Dad, we are missing you so badly. Where are you dad?
Dad, we need you in the kitchen, living and dining rooms, not in just the
garage. We need you everywhere. Dad, mom cannot do it all alone. God never
intended for mom to raise a son and daughter without your help. You cannot do it
alone, and she cannot do it alone. Why do you go for long hours away from home?
We miss you so much when you do not spend time with us or take us to the park to
play. As your son, I need you the most. Without you I cannot fully develop as a
man. Mom can try, but you also need to be there with me.
Dad, I love so much. But you never taught me how to say
"I love you." A teacher at school spoke in class about how important
love is in a family and how we must share our love with each other. You seem not
to have the desire to share your love with us, Dad. That hurts me terribly. Last
night I heard when you came home and started shouting at Mom because she did not
have the food ready for you, then you angrily burst out the door and never
returned home until this morning. Why dad? It pained my heart to hear Mom cry. I
wanted to comfort her, but I couldnít. I am not you, Dad. Mom needs you. I
need you and little sister needs you too.
Many times Dad, I hear my classmates whispering behind my back
about you and how you "Love women." It hurts to know that my father
prefers to spend more time with other women and go to late-night parties with
them than to spend time with us. Is it really true, Dad, that you have children
with other women? Even at school, some of my classmates tease me about my
"half sister and brother." How could you do that Dad? How could you
give your body to other women and then come home acting as though all is well.
Then you want to punish me for trying to kiss Carol last week.
Do you know what really hurts me Dad? You are free to go and
do anything you want to do, but you treat Mom as though she is one of the
children when she wants to go places. I thought you and Mom were partners. You
are not setting a good example for me, Dad. I am your son, not your colleague.
That means Dad, I need lots of love and nurture from you just as much as I need
it from mom. My teacher told our class today that we learn about loving,
sharing, and caring from both of our parents. She also said when one parent does
not love and share, it makes it really hard from the children to grow up
well-balanced citizens. I read in the newspaper one day that boys raised without
dads have a greater risk of becoming troublemakers in society. Do you want me to
become a troublemaker Dad? Your actions are telling me itís okay to be a
troublemaker. But my heart is saying no. Itís so confusing Dad.
Dad, I need you to be my dad. I need you to set a good example
for me. This is how I learn best about life. But everything you tell me not to
do (donít drink and smoke, do not have sex, donít lie or steal) you are
doing. That hurts dad, because deep down inside I do not want to do those
things, but I know nothing else because you never really show me another way.
Dad, I need you to change, if only for me and no one else. I need you to show me
how to live the right way. Dad, would you please come home and stay home and be
my dad. I need you. We all need you.
Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and a
board certified clinical psychotherapist (USA). Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242 327 1980
or 305 767 4976 or 242 477 4002