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I Had to Hold the Flashlight For My Dad

So No, You Can’t Hurt My Feelings About My Writing

By Jason ProvencioPublished 27 days ago 5 min read
I tried to hold that damn flashlight still, but it was never good enough. Image by Ray Shrewsberry • 💙 💙💙 from Pixabay

I woke up this morning to see that I’d reached 7200 followers on Medium. That’s awesome. I appreciate everyone who is following my Writer’s Journey, and I’m jazzed to meet new, awesome people.

However, I’ve noticed that with this larger following that’s growing daily, I’m seeing more and more negative, sometimes ignorant comments on the writing pieces I’ve published. Stuff like that can put one in a negative mood if they allow it to happen.

There’s an expression that I have heard frequently, perhaps you’ve heard it, too. It goes a little something like this:

“More money, more problems.”

More followers equate to more views, reads, and income. So I see the validity in the above statement. But I’m not going to let it get me down. Not when I’ve had the upbringing I had.

I’m sure many of you can relate. As a 48-year-old man, I had parents that were born in the Baby Boomer generation. I think many of us are aware of the challenges that come with being raised by Boomers.

Boomers can be fun, but being raised by them could be rough at times. Image by Rudy Anderson from Pixabay

My difficulties with my upbringing were solely based on the way we were treated by my father. My mother was kind, chill (unless her two boys were playing WWF wrestling with each other, and jumping off her couches), and quieter. She taught me the enjoyment of sitting with her and reading our own books together. Those are great memories.

My father was more up and down with his moods. He was an authoritarian and the disciplinarian. He took the whole “Spare the rod, spoil your child” thing too seriously. He’d remind us of this as we lined up for the belt, after being told twice to cut the shit.

As a pastor, he felt he was doing what he thought was right to keep us out of jail and Hell, both. He’d say that his father used the expression, “Get ’em in the playpen, keep ’em out of the state pen.” I’m not sure I would have liked my grandfather all that much.

He could be fun, too. He took us places, played sports with us, hugged us and kissed us, and told us every night that he loved us AND liked us. I always enjoyed that part of our relationship. Though I wished his actions showed us that he liked us a bit more than hitting us with a belt.

I look at the way my parents were both raised and theorize what their family lives were like at home. I see the pathology as to how my father could at times be angry and impatient, while my mother was close to being a saint.

She was raised by two college-educated parents. They had two children, my mother, and her younger sister. My grandfather was very much like my mother, as I casually observed during the times we spent with him.

My mother’s family only had two children in it. My father’s had six. I see the differences in their parenting styles due to this. Image by Petra from Pixabay

He was quiet, but also funny. He could sneak a zinger in there against my Grandma who was loud and hilarious but had tendencies to nag and be negative. They raised two daughters and we got the more relaxed, kindhearted loving one for our mother.

My father was raised with 5 other siblings. Neither of his parents were college educated and they had six children before my Nana was 30. I’ve heard my dad’s father was an authoritarian, a swing-first-and-ask-questions-later kind of father. He also used a belt but didn’t justify it because of what the Bible said.

I’m certain that his brand of parenting influenced my father’s.

We were raised in church from birth until early adulthood, so I heard the same song and dance about having to spank your children. However, the insults and bullying shouldn’t have been part of my father’s parenting plan.

I recall the first time I was invited to help my father fix our family car. I was excited to help. As an intelligent, detail-oriented kid, I figured that by the 3rd or 4th grade, I was ready to help. Perhaps I’d even have some advice or feedback I could lend to my old man.

Negative, Ghostrider. He just needed me to hold the flashlight outside, as it was getting dark.

It didn’t go well. I can tell you from my experience of attempting to change parts and repair my carpet cleaning machine, it can get frustrating during the process. Ask my kids this question, “When is your Dad at his worst?” and they’ll likely tell you the following:

1. When he’s driving

2. When he’s working on his carpet cleaning machine

Mooch and my kids can confirm that repairing my carpet-cleaning machine makes me moody.

So I get it. Having your 8 or 9-year-old son holding the flashlight on a small area of the car you’re attempting to repair can be a dicey proposition. Asking him to grab a certain tool from the toolbox when he has no clue about tools due to his inexperience in using them, it’s going to be frustrating.

I’m not going to go into the things that were said. I won’t talk in-depth about the insults sent my way or the names that I was called. But it hurt. I’m glad we were in the dark while I aimed the beam of light at the car. I didn’t want him to see my eyes tearing up.

My daughter has always been a sensitive, caring, empathetic kid. Especially during grade school and junior high. She’s still that way, as she approaches her 18th birthday in July.

But she’s toughened up to some degree. She’s part of the LGBTQ community. As a gay young woman, she’s learned to have thicker skin when dealing with ignorance and intolerance.

My sister-in-law, daughter, me, and my daughter at the 2021 Boise Pride event.

The negativity I had to deal with, and the bullying behavior I endured from my father toughened me up. But I’m glad to have had a completely different parenting style than my father used with my own children.

I’ve never made them feel stupid for not knowing how to do something. I’ve never called them names because they were slowing me down when helping me with something. I’ve taught them to have a thicker skin when dealing with people similar to my father and other bullies of the world that they will encounter someday.

I always welcome others to my Medium page. I want to reach far more people than the 7200 followers I’m at. I know that the insulting, angry comments will come more and more often as I grow.

Bring it. You can’t hurt my feelings. I held the flashlight for my dad. Your insults don’t mean shit. &:^)

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About the Creator

Jason Provencio

Husband, father, writer, and poet. I love blogging about family, politics, relationships, humor, and writing. Buy me a coffee? https://ko-fi.com/jasonpro9

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