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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Monday Mottoes – #146

fathersIt was Father’s Day. A time when dads basked in their children’s love. Usually. If you raised them right. If they went along with the program. If everyone minded their p’s and q’s.

Whatever that means along the lines today of minding one’s manners. Apparently it comes from the English pub life of the 17th century when bartenders would keep a running talley of patrons pints and quarts. It’s unsure whether it was a warning to watch one’s finances or watch one’s sobriety, or even a reminder for the bartender to get the talley straight, but somebody was reminding somebody else to “Mind your p’s and q’s”, since the lowercase letters appeared so similar.

Some reports say that the phrase started in printing offices around the time of typesetting because again,Fathers-and-Daughters the lowercase p’s and q’s could be confused. (None of this has anything to do with today’s blog, but that’s the historian in me seeping out….)

Anyways, a couple came to Benedetto with a quandary. Married just over five years, the wife had attempted to remind a wayward stepson in his early 20s to call his father (her husband) and wish him well. Over the course of their brief marriage, they had helped him graduate high school and get a part-time job here and there as he traveled from one treatment center to another all across the country.

He probably had more frequent flier miles than I did, and that’s saying a lot.

Dad-and-DaughterSo she texted him and he let loose a barrage of abuse back in her direction. Mind you, the father still funds everything from phone… to food… to flop houses… as he pings and pongs like a pinball through life. The wife showed the texts to Benedetto and asked for advice.

“Cut him off,” Benedetto said in no uncertain terms. “He went from your home, to rehab, walked out three times, to your cousin’s home, walked out, to your sister’s home, walked out out, flew across the country to a super-duper rehab, didn’t last a week, lost every job he ever landed, is doing drugs and alcohol and has been in jail, wrong friends… am I missing something here? And then sends you junk on the phone that YOU are paying for?”

I was in another room with other friends and I could hear Benedetto’s voice rising, which is not an everyday father-and-sonoccurrence.

“I’m sorry if I’m offending you,” he said to the other guy, “but love for your son does not mean supporting his bad habits. You’ve tried over and over again. Eventually, he’s got to help himself and meet you halfway. He’s going to kill himself at a young age at this rate. Pull the plug on that phone right now and change your home phone number. You are not cutting him off forever, you are showing him that the dynamics have to change. Now.”

Back and forth they discussed it for over 20 minutes. The world needed more straight-talking friends since the front porch swing chats with concerned family members has gone the way of the horse-and-buggy.

Father-and-teen-son-talking“Listen,” he told them, “if I divorced Alexandra tomorrow and she showed me a foul text like this from one of our children, I would go over there and rough them up!”

Gee. Thanks. I think. Some of his Sicilian blood was showing now. He was not one for divorce and he was not one for roughing up kids, grown or otherwise, but he might have wanted to talk this fellow’s lingo….

Which brings us to today’s motto, a Scripture verse still in style:

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” commandment5(Exodus 20:12)

To honor someone means to show them public or outward respect. It’s not just in your heart. And whom you honor says a lot about you… as well as whether or not you might live a long and happy life.

Powerful stuff. Happy belated Father’s Day! Honor someone special today.


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