The Path of Least Conflict – A Fathers Heartache part 18


This weekend we celebrate the wedding of my oldest nephew, the oldest child of my twin brother.  It is a time for celebration, for our families to come together and spend time this weekend as this new journey in life begins.  Family has always been the most important thing in my life.  The irony of the situation created for me through her infidelity has left me many times scrambling to keep my family tight and close together, amidst great odds and challenges heretofore not thought of in this life of mine.

Family events such as are occurring this week are moments I treasure to be with not only my dear children but also my nieces and nephews.  As a child growing up we were extremely close with our aunts, uncles and cousins and I have always desired the same for my children.  These moments aide in strengthening that bond.

Late last night, to my utter astonishment I receive a text message from my dear son. “Dad, did you get the email on my 7 on 7 football league?  I have 4 games tomorrow” (the tournament also continues into Saturday)  The answer is most often the same when this question arises, no I was not copied on that email.

We have faced this situation many many times in the past when an activity the kids are involved in interfere with a family event.  I have always let my son make his own choices when these situations arise.  I have taught him much about the importance of his family and witnessed many times when these issues arise, he chooses his family first as his priority.  He loves his sports and is an extremely talented and gifted athlete.  He also understands commitment to the team and what that means.  We try to solve these conflicts in order to accomplish both.

This time however a resolution to attend both functions is not possible.  As it is my weekend to spend time with the kids I knew that I could request of him to attend the wedding dinner tonight in place his football.  I knew that he would willingly comply with this as he truly seeks my approval.  However, I have taught him to be able to choose on his own and will always give them that ability, I will provide guidance, however I will never dictate.

Upon receiving his message last night, I asked him to sleep on it and call me in the morning.  This is when my frustration built and the anger kindled.  I received his phone call around 7:30 this morning and we talked about the dilemma and what should be done.  As we were discussing the issue and the special uniqueness of this particular family function in contrast to his commitment to the team, in the background was heard his mother telling him that he had to attend football or she would be really upset with him.   I listened as my son was torn from his family by someone who has been much estranged within their own and turmoil thrust upon him.

The path of least resistance won again as he decided to attend to football over the wedding dinner.  In order to keep the peace in the home he spends the most time in, he chose the path that would create the least conflict. Sad, discouraged and frustrated as I was with this situation, I always give my children their own choices while realizing that is used against me to control the children on the other side. 

Countless times I watch as I allow them to make choices.  The choices chosen are ones for them to avoid conflict as they are confident in our relationship, the choice always follows the path that provides for them the least amount of conflict in their life.  Unfortunately for my dear children, others choose to parent with the power that conflicts provide them in controlling their perceived property.  I miss out on many events with my children as a result of this dynamic, yet I know that they are confident in the fact that I love them and that their security lies within my loving arms and home.

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