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“The Conversation” and My Son

 

I live in New York. People in NY have (literally) cried about “The Conversation.” They say how sad it is that they have to tell their kids to be careful of the police.

“OMG,” they say, “I can’t believe that, I have to say to my children that they should obey the laws.” Because if they don’t, they will be profiled.

Okay.

As the Dad of a boy though, I get confused. I had that conversation a long time ago with my son, who is a white, honest, innocent, “leave it to beaver” type, boy. (I only say “white” here to demonstrate that color should not matter. Being white, who cares? Well, I “Had the talk” anyway, as did the NYC mayor with his kids.)

Raised in the suburbs, no worries. Yet, when he was 12, I had “The talk.” I said, “Do whatever the police say. They have the guns. We can fight it later.” That is my honest talk with him. I told him that in 1999.

Any boy who has a father who lives at home with him will have that talk. (At least I would hope they would.)

Here is one letter (of many) that I sent to my son over the years, when he was having a rough time:

 

Here’s an idea. I said about trying to look close to home to make you feel better, instead of mainly concerning yourself with the world’s problems. At least for the time being. And you don’t have to completely ignore the outside world, but try to make your home life better in small ways. I said about finding a girl to date. But how about a pet. Coming home to a guinea pig or a couple of rats might be a nice change. Or maybe even a cat. They take care of themselves for the most part (other than feeding and cleaning their litter box).

Something to think about.

And always remember that things will get better. In the future you’ll look back at this time and carry it as a badge of what you could take and keep on going. You’ll be proud of how you got through it. It doesn’t make it easier right now, but keep your head up. All great men go through trying times, and I mean ALL. Then when you read about it in the history books, it’s like it was easy for them because they knew they were going to do great things. But they didn’t know that. Each one thought their lives could be over during the rough times (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally). G. Washington didn’t know he was going to be the first president when he rode in front of his troops to keep them from retreating and had bullets shot through his coat.

It’s hard to realize it while it’s happening but the times you are going through now are molding you into the better person you will be in the future. It can help if you try to look at everything with the glass half full theory. There is a positive side to everything if you can find it. One trick I used when I was at the bottom was to remember that my upbringing was pretty good. My parents didn’t beat me, and they loved me. Your Mom and I may not have gotten everything right, but we loved (and love) you and we hardly ever beat you. Think back about the good times and remember that nobody can take them away from you. That’s a lot of good will that you have inside of you that some people don’t have. And that’s a good thing.

Keep on plugging away.

Love, Dad


Having a Dad around is so much more important than modern culture would have you believe. In my extended family, those without Dads have found themselves in trouble, those with Dads have found their journeys much easier to navigate.

The moral here: A better world does not come easy. It takes much effort to raise free thinking, independent adults.

Keep fighting the good fight.

It is not for naught that you toil each and every day.

Both as parent and also as child.

Keep fighting the good fight.

There are 12 comments.

  1. Member

    Captain Kidd: KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT.

    Indeed.

    • #1
    • October 5, 2017 at 11:35 pm
    • 5 likes
  2. Member

    Captain Kidd:Raised in the suburbs, no worries.

    Yet, when he was 12, I had “The talk”.

    My dad had four girls, raised in the suburbs of Tulsa, Oklahoma and HE still had “the talk” with all of us — point for point, every single thing that our idiot mayor seems to think only needs saying to young black men (“follow instructions, no sudden moves, do not argue, don’t get out of the car unless told, etc.), was said to me with one glaring exception: I wasn’t told that the reason I needed to do all this was because the cop was out to get me.

    That doesn’t mean I wasn’t warned that there could certainly be “bad cops” out there — I was (and I’ve actually met at least one, since). But my dad made it clear that it was even more important in that case to stay calm and follow instructions so I didn’t unnecessarily escalate an already bad situation. That would also, of course, ensure that I made a compelling and sympathetic witness later, if need be. (Dad was also my lawyer.)

    • #2
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:24 am
    • 9 likes
  3. Member

    The really sad thing about people from NY “literally crying about the conversation” is it implies that deep down they believe all laws are optional – that they are intended to apply to others, not them. To them the solution to a bad law is not to change or repeal it, but to ignore it.

    Down that road lies either anarchy or totalitarianism, generally the first followed by the second.

    Seawriter

    • #3
    • October 6, 2017 at 5:14 am
    • 13 likes
  4. Member

    Ironically, I have witnessed many occasions in which a single mother calls the police (the complaint is “out of control juvenile”) because she’s hoping the cop who shows up will act like…a Dad.

    Wonderful letter. Lucky Will.

    • #4
    • October 6, 2017 at 5:38 am
    • 13 likes
  5. Member

    Captain Kidd: Having a Dad around is so much more important than modern culture would have you believe.

    That alone would be reason enough not to buy what modern culture is selling.

    • #5
    • October 6, 2017 at 6:47 am
    • 6 likes
  6. Member

    My advice on this subject, both as a parent and as a former police officer is when you are raising a child is that you must remember you are not your child’s best friend, you are their parent. You have an obligation to pass on what you have learned in life so your child does not have to learn certain things through direct experience. Indulging a child’s every whim has nothing to do with love.

    A child should hear the word no from a parent rather than hear it for the first time from a police officer. Your relationship will change when they become a well adjusted adult to one of friendship. This is much easier to do with both parents, especially with parents that understand having a child is that they have to sacrifice indulging their every whim. I have met a few parents who were just as immature as a child.

    • #6
    • October 6, 2017 at 7:36 am
    • 12 likes
  7. Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    I have met a few parents who were just as immature as a child.

    Sometimes less mature.

    • #7
    • October 7, 2017 at 12:28 am
    • 4 likes
  8. Member

    I had that conversation a long time ago with my son, who is a white, honest, innocent, “leave it to beaver” type, boy. (I only say “white” here to demonstrate that color should not matter. Being white, who cares? Well, I “Had the talk” anyway, as did the NYC mayor with his kids.)

    I was a ‘leave it to beaver’ type too, and no one had “the talk” with me. I wish they had.

    Well, that’s not entirely true.

    I got pulled over when I was in college, and not knowing any better went to get something from the glove compartment without saying anything first. I’d never seen a gun pointed at a human being before- let alone have one pointed at me. Scared the bejeezus out of me.

    The police officer explained that I had just come very close to getting shot and told me why. When everything was calmed down he walked me through exactly how to act if I got pulled over again.

    So I got “the talk” from a cop, but I’d much rather have heard it from a family member – or even the teacher in my drivers ed class.

    • #8
    • October 7, 2017 at 5:30 pm
    • 9 likes
  9. Thatcher

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    My advice on this subject, both as a parent and as a former police officer is when you are raising a child is that you must remember you are not your child’s best friend, you are their parent. You have an obligation to pass on what you have learned in life so your child does not have to learn certain things through direct experience. Indulging a child’s every whim has nothing to do with love.

    A child should hear the word no from a parent rather than hear it for the first time from a police officer. Your relationship will change when they become a well adjusted adult to one of friendship. This is much easier to do with both parents, especially with parents that understand having a child is that they have to sacrifice indulging their every whim. I have met a few parents who were just as immature as a child.

    This is such an important thing, that many in today’s world (and I include the last twenty years as “today”) do not understand while raising their children. YOU ARE THE PARENTS. You must be the grown-ups. Sure, your children (especially teens) will act resentful and maybe even snarl at you. Don’t give in. Be the boss. You can be kind, but you must never give in.

    • #9
    • October 7, 2017 at 8:11 pm
    • 5 likes
  10. Member

    contrarian (View Comment):
    So I got “the talk” from a cop, but I’d much rather have heard it from a family member – or even the teacher in my drivers ed class.

    My father was a police sergeant, so I also heard it from a cop. ;^D

    • #10
    • October 7, 2017 at 8:17 pm
    • 6 likes
  11. Member

    You letter to your son was marvelous – so good that I’m going to steal it – with your permission. Am currently mentoring some disadvantaged kids who are, for the most part, fatherless. (The mentoring is one-on-one.) Even girls without fathers are in a tough situation for so many reasons.

    The part of the letter dealing with things getting better is what I’ll try to pass along to them. We’ll see if some of those thoughts from a woman (to a young lad) will be effective. Not certain, but I’ll try.

    • #11
    • October 7, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    • 2 likes
  12. Member
    Captain Kidd Post author

    barbara lydick (View Comment):
    I’m going to steal it – with your permission. Am currently mentoring some disadvantaged kids who are, for the most part, fatherless. (The mentoring is one-on-one.) Even girls without fathers are in a tough situation for so many reasons.

    The part of the letter dealing with things getting better is what I’ll try to pass along to them. We’ll see if some of those thoughts from a woman (to a young lad) will be effective. Not certain, but I’ll try.

    By all means, steal away. Good luck (and good for you) reaching out to the young lad. I wish you and him the best.

    • #12
    • October 8, 2017 at 8:35 am
    • Like