What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
(Author: Susannah Conway)
A few months ago my dad and I had quite the blowout. Like, a big enough blowout that I called my mom to tell her that while I would be cordial to him if I had to be around him I did not see our relationship ever being fixed.
I’m sure you’re curious as to what could have caused such a blowout. I would be if I were you. Well, let me kill the suspense. My dad and I were arguing over whether George W. Bush was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, we were on the verge of never talking to one another again because a president’s salvation was in question.
This was obviously a stupid argument to have and certainly an even stupider argument to tear a family apart over. However, it was a fight that showed me that I had a choice to make. My relationship with my dad has been going through a turbulent transition for the past couple of years and our future was at the proverbial fork in the road. I needed to make a decision about how I was going to treat him after what I considered some major disrespect.
I had just finished reading Rabbi Shmuley’s Renewal: A guide to the values-filled life and he talks in the book about the commandment to honor your mother and father (Exodus 20:12). He says that not being able to respect our parents, the people who literally made it possible for us to be alive today (I’ve heard rumors that it’s very difficult for newborns to obtain food on their own) is a failure to be truly grateful.
For everything that I see as flawed with my dad, I know that he loves me. I know that he’s made some pretty big sacrifices to help and encourage me to be the woman I am today. I know that it should take more than a theological fight about George Bush to make me forget how blessed I am to have him as my father. The basic truth is I owe him.
I decided to go to him and apologize for being, well, a brat. We prayed together (a first) and I went home.
I wasn’t sure if or how things would change. Was I sending out a sign of weakness or surrender by apologizing? Would he now expect me to agree with him on all things, and never respect me or the opinions I had? I felt like I was taking a huge gamble, setting us up for an inevitable disaster.
But I was wrong. Something has significantly changed in our relationship. I’m learning that I don’t have to rage to have my thoughts heard by him and I think he’s getting a little more comfortable with the idea of me forming my own opinions. And that once I truly realize how much money the government is stealing from me there’s no way I’ll continue to buy into that liberal hullaballoo.
We’ve also agreed to “not go there” when it comes to politics. It’s best for everyone.