Caussey's Corner

I’m Staying on the Sidewalk, Daddy: Mistakes and Triumphs in Parenting

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The late afternoon sun was already shrouded in a thick bank of clouds. The temperature was dropping fast and northerly winds were picking up, bringing icy fingertips in its wake.

As I looked at the ominous Norther that was approaching fast, I quickened my pace to get the chores done. My five-year-old son Chad was providing me with company as I worked toward the tasks of watering and feeding the dogs and horses.

Chad was playing, thoroughly enjoying his daily outing with his dad. His shorts and shirt were thin, and would provide little comfort against the approaching weather. But I was working hard and needed only a few more minutes to bring in wood for the fireplace and throw the horses some more hay. Chad was yelling, ripping, and running. So in my zest for proper parent posturing, I ordered him in a most stern voice to stay on the sidewalk, keep quiet, and not try to talk to me. With facial expressions captured among harsh words and in my most authoritative voice I said, “Stay on that sidewalk and don’t get off of it until I tell you that you can.”

I'm Staying on the Sidewalk, Daddy: Mistakes and Triumphs in Parenting
Photo: envato elements

Minutes passed and the chores were completed. I hurried into the warm house to shower and enjoy some hot chocolate. Afterwards, I sat lounging in front of the fire, enjoying the fire’s glow as the mesquite wood made crackling sounds rivaling the howling wind.

My wife, Debbie, came in and asked where Chad was. I sprang out of the chair and flew out the door. The wind was liquid cold. I could see my breath as my heart pounded loudly in my chest. I went around the side of the house and look toward the kennel. There on the sidewalk that led to the kennel sat Chad. He looked up and smiled when he saw me coming.

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