but ties of blood, or seed endure,
and even now I feel inside
the hunger for his outstretched hand,
a man’s embrace to take me in,
the need for just a word of praise. Isn’t it extraordinary that even after a life of monumental achievements, Mr. Carter still feels pain when he thinks of his father who either could not feel or would not express love and approval. Unfortunately, there are lots of people in Mr. Carter’s shoes, left with bitter feelings and enduring wounds inflicted by their parents. Yet not all bad parents are bad people. Caring parents can unintentionally injure children through excessive harshness or permissiveness or through well-intended criticism and advice that comes out as relentless disapproval or oppressive negativity. Kids not only need to know they’re loved; they need to feel worthy of our love. They need to be valued not simply because they’re ours, but because of who (who’s) they are. It’s never too late to try to fix whatever is broken:
- Consider expressing caring, pride and approval more lavishly and often.
- Be less critical, more helpful, less controlling.
- Set aside your need to be right, be less self-righteous and more respectful to the people you love.
- Be sincerely accountable and genuinely apologize even if whatever you do may not be enough.