Twoness, The Paradox of Parenthood
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Thomas Franklin is new (11-17) to thefiresidepost.com. He has no experience with being published as an author. He has a fondness for reading and an appreciation of words. His curiosity is insatiable. He carries the burdens of his youth like Marley dragging his chains of bad deeds. The difference is that Marley's burdens were a result of his behavior. Life just happened to Mr. Franklin. These life burdens shall be the topic of Mr. Franklin's writing. Be kind for he is quite sensitive.

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Twoness, The Paradox of Parenthood

I am a young Senior citizen.  As such one might deduce that my parents were part of “the greatest generation”.  That would be correct.  My parents grew up during the depression.  My father fought in World War Two.  Have I mentioned that there were seven children in my family?  My mother stayed home to raise the children.  My father worked two jobs.  Our home was saturated with the stress of financial struggle.  I don’t say poor because we had a roof over our head and something to eat – It might have been milk toast but at least there was milk and bread.

My mother was a simple person.  A die hard romantic she day-dreamed about living on a farm and every day her hunter husband would come home with rabbits or squirrels for supper.   This dream bypassed the need for money.  My father, a brilliant man in many ways, did not understand the monthly budget.  He never wrote a check in his life.  He worked hard and gave his money to his wife for her to manage.

One day a few years ago, after he had retired, I wandered into their house.  They asked me to help them with a math problem.  They had been notified that they were to receive a 2.7% increase in their social security.  How does one figure out how much this is, they asked.  They were hardworking simple people.  Both of my parents were very intelligent but their intellect was focused like a laser on the daily ritual of managing a crowded home. My mother had graduated from high school but my father never attended high school.

There is not enough praise to go around for the daily battle my parents fought to keep our heads above water.  And thus the paradox of honorable people living in poverty is staggering.  I noted at a young age that my father was unpredictable given the information at hand.  He would come home from work and I stood back (after a few hard lessons), watching to see which man had entered our domain.

He could be a content man happy to see his family – or – he could be the nasty brute suffering the consequences of a hard day.  He brought home his temperament rather than his teaching. The poet, Robert Bly, wrote about this in his book, Iron John.  The fathers left the fields of agriculture and entered the factories of the industrial age – the agrarian taught his sons to be men by example, the industrial man had only his frustrations of a hard day of monotony.

We were seven hungry little birds in the nest, chirping at our parents for more food.   There were too many of us to sit at the kitchen table together for a meal so, in our home, the children ate first, then my parents would have what was left for themselves.  Again – the twoness of parenting, sacrifice and terror, honor and brutality, kindness and anger.

It is this story I hope to tell on the pages of thefiresidepost.com.

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