Go To Your Room

"To Kill a Mockingbird"

Yesterday afternoon, I terminated my relationship with an important client. It was a very difficult decision to make, but it became an inevitability. It wasn’t because he wasn’t talented, employable, or recognizable. On the contrary, he was all of those things and more. I ultimately ended our working relationship due to his uncontrollably bad behavior. I had great hopes for the next stage in his career and I had worked tirelessly to help him achieve his goals. But now, as I sit here sifting through the rubble of this disaster…I’m completely exhausted from weeks of negotiating on this client’s behalf, which have now gone to waste. And, I am disheartened by my failure to recognize and aid a client who was on a downward spiral of his own doing.

There is a lesson here and I’m still trying to figure out what it is. Many questions keep coming to mind – What steps can I take to prevent my sons from becoming men who are not ruled nor ruined by their own demons? How do I impress upon them that their actions (both good and bad) will not only affect them, but greatly impact those around them? And, how do I instill enough confidence in them so that they never have to rely on their vices for strength?

I’ve tried to show Justin “right” from “wrong”, encouraged him to demonstrate acts of kindness and compassion, and I’ve demanded that Justin show respect to all those around him. Whenever Justin has misbehaved, he has been reprimanded. Even at this young age, he understands that his actions had consequences. If he did something wrong, he got sent to his room. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t have the answers I’m looking for.

So, here is a note for “Future Garrett” and “Future Justin”:

Boys – Sometimes life is going to be harder than you expected it to be. It’s at those moments when you will be judged by your actions. It’s easy to be “good” when everything is going well and it’s very easy to be “bad” when the dark clouds come and nothing is going the way you expected. There will be moments when you want to run away from your problems and there will be other times when you may want to seek solace where it should not be sought. I promise you that if you stay true to your word, put your faith and trust in those people who love and support you, and stay honest  – you will never be judged poorly.

As for my former client…he is not my child. I cannot “ground” him or send him to his room without supper. I can simply say, “thank you.” Without his actions, I would not have begun to think about how to shape my boys into honorable men.

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