Hug Him…..

Hug Him….

A teenage son does not need to go too far to declare his double-dare policy.  Just his father’s presence is sufficient.  As usual, his dad and I took him for school clothes shopping. He was leading us through the maze of racks of weird clothes. Whenever we made a suggestion, he did not even bother to shake his head in response. Finally, he picked out a pair of pink shorts with flowers on it and some similar outfits. I was just smiling at his choices, but his father was in shock. He went on expressing his opinion as strongly as he could but finally shook his head and walked out of the shop.

On our way home, his father said, “How could you select such strange clothes and pay so much money?” The lecture did not seem to reach its intended target, so he told me, “From now on I will not take him shopping – you handle it.”

If not every day, but every week for sure, there were one or two disagreements between father and son.
“Why do you have to buy ninety-dollar shoes when I am wearing these perfectly fine shoes for fifteen dollars?” Dad would ask.  A good teenager’s law: you do not have to respond to any question.

When he went to his Dad for financial advice, there was sweet harmony. He trusted his father’s judgment to secure his financial future in his middle and high school era. He came up with an idea and requested his father to invest in Nike’s stocks for him. The profit from that investment made the rest of his teenage years a breeze.

He announced at the dinner table one evening, “I am going to buy tickets for upcoming NBA basketball games.”  We were aware of his loyal craze for the Lakers and basketball.

“How much do they cost?”

“Oh! I will buy them with my money.”

“How much?”

“Maybe eight hundred bucks.”

“You have only a thousand dollars. Get ready to work after school.”

 

 

That explanation sent him looking for some free tickets. He went to see a game with a friend and his father. After the game, he somehow sneaked back into the stadium because he was determined to see his favorite team. But his ride was gone when he came out. It was close to eleven o’clock. He was smart enough to go to the guard and called home. He said, “I cannot find my friend. Please, come and get me.” His father was benevolent until he heard about the cause of his detour.

He was very generous about giving gifts, especially to his sister. He surprised her with a Boom box on her sixteenth birthday. With a belief in quality, his selections were always at high-end prices. We used to tease him that in the store the expensive things wave at him, “Come and buy me!” Many times this teenager thought that the world had started with him, and that attitude was enough to annoy his father. An argument, followed by a few days of the cold shoulder, would remind him that he is not as smart as he thinks. Then a small piece of paper with a few apologetic lines on it would exchange hands and father would treasure that small piece of paper forever.

He convinced his father to buy the car of his choice with all the trimmings. His father always reminded him, “On Father’s Day, I had to buy this car for my son.”

One night, the teenager, his sister, and her friend had gone out for dinner.  Around ten o’clock we got a call. Our daughter said, “On our way home, brother was driving. There has been a horrible accident. We are okay, but my friend is seriously injured and I am with her at the hospital. He is at a near-by gas station, finishing up with the police.” We both hurriedly went to the location of the accident. The car was towed away and everything was quiet. He was standing near the door of the store all alone. I was sitting in the passenger seat. I was not in tune with his lonely feelings and expected him to come and sit in the car.

From the driver’s seat, his father was looking at him with moist eyes and I heard his warm voice tell me, “Go and give him a hug.”

The depth of this love connection is immeasurable.

Youth is a beautiful time, and it spirals between three facets of a teen’s life: Love, Rebellion and Freedom.  In this relationship, I saw love prevail every time.

 

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