Lonnie, a truck driver who usually works through the night, came home unexpectedly one night at 11 pm. He went into his fourteen year old son’s room and to his surprise Jack was nowhere to be found. Lonnie has been a good father to Jack since his mother left them after his birth; he loved his son and was very protective of him. He had told Jack on several occasions never to leave the house after 7 pm without first seeking his permission.
Lonnie waited for his son in the living room all night. The longer he waited, the more anger stirred within him. “How long has this child been sneaking out?” He thought to himself.
Jack suddenly walked in just before dawn…
“Where have you been? You foolish child, I work my tail off to put food on the table and this is what you’ve been doing behind my back? You defy my authority…. If I ever catch you…!”
From then on, Lonnie began coming home sporadically to check on his son and always found him in bed as the experience of his last outing was still fresh in Jack’s mind. A few months later, however, Jack again went out to a party with his friends without his father’s permission. It just so happens that Lonnie left work early that day because he had back pain. “This boy left the house again without my permission? What should I do with him?”
As he pondered over the situation, he thought of all the pranks he played on his parents as a teenager. He remembered that his father’s yelling never had a positive impact on him, all it did was make him plan the next adventure more meticulously so as not to get caught. He laughed as he thought of this. His mother was able to reach him because he felt her love for him in the words which always followed the spanking. With his father, he never felt this love. It was only anger and irritation that his son disobeyed him and defied his authority.
With this recognition, Lonnie met Jack calmly as he walked into the house around 3 am. He explained to him why he did not want him out late at night. The teenager, who was at first shocked by his father’s measured response, listened attentively and for the first time felt ashamed for betraying his father’s trust. He no longer saw his father as his adversary but as a confidant because he now understood that his father’s actions were driven by the love he had for him.