Letter to My Sons #7

Dear sons,

I am still struggling between freedom and structure. On one hand, I would like you to have the freedom to do whatever you want. On the other hand, I also need some structures, especially with Đạo and Đán. Every time you punch and kick each other, I feel the pain too. Should I step in to stop the fight or should I let you hurt each other until you figure out yourself? As a father, I find it too hard to stand and watch or to look away. My intervention doesn’t seem to get into your head. It rages me to see you repeat again and again as if my words have no meaning.

From the way you threw tantrums in public and the way you ignored your mom’s and my words continue to irritate me. I told you again and again, but nothing stuck. I had been hard on you lately and I am regretting it. So I am going to try the opposite direction. I am going to give you as much freedom as I can. As long as you don’t harm Xuân and Vương, I will trust you to make your own choice.

If you don’t want to read, I won’t make you. If you hate Taekwondo, you can quit. If you don’t want to take swimming lessons, you can stop. If you want iPad all the time, I won’t stop you. If you don’t want to take a bath, that’s fine. If you don’t want to brush your teeth, that’s on you. If you don’t want to eat, stay hungry.

I’ll do all I can to refrain from yelling at you or punishing you. I won’t cautious you when you fall, but I will be there for you when you get hurt. I won’t tell you what to do unless you ask for my advice. I won’t stop you loving you, but I will stop restraining you.

I had been wrong all along about how to love you. I had been over-protective. I worried too much about your behavior. I expected too high from you. I am ready to let go of who I want you to be and let you be who you want to be. By not reigning you in, I hope that you’ll soar instead of fall. Even if you fall, I’ll be there to pick you up.

Everyone makes mistakes. I made countless of mistakes in my life and being a parent is one of them. I hope that you will forgive me. My intention had been to be good to you. I wanted to give you a father-and-son relationship that I didn’t have. I am not blaming my dad for my mistakes. I am on a good term with him now. I don’t hold any grudges from him anymore. I am a grown man now and I am responsible for my own actions. If I fail you, it’s all on me—not your mom, not my dad.

I am struggling with my own conscience. I thought I would be a good parent, but I am not. I hope it is not too late to make the change. I am grateful that I have you. I thank your mother and the man above everyday for giving me four healthy, energetic boys. I know people who would love to have one kid, but they can’t. I know parents who don’t have the time to be with their kids everyday; therefore, I should not take our precious time together for granted. I love you four from the bottom of my heart.