Posted by on Dec 27, 2011 in Articles, Blog | 2 comments

Spiritual Jujitsu and Other Fighting Tips for the Poorly Fathered

By Mike Poff

  Sometimes growing up is the battle of a lifetime.  All too often the very one who should be our trainer, coach and mentor is in reality our first adversary. With or without intent, by abandonment or in person a Bad Dad is the first high hurdle some face. Sadly, many may never clear this obstacle. Still, I have learned a trick or two bouncing off the mats towards maturity and I am not afraid to share.

 

 I say I am not afraid because someone can perhaps spin a sadder tale of woes and struggle than you or I can. The value in the story is not simply the height of the mountains faced and conquered. More important are the techniques that enable victory and the reason for fighting in the first place.

 

 My personal heartrending yarn begins with my mom and dads break-up in 1964. Dad was a truck driver, rarely around. It seems he was a good time kind of guy. Guitars, honky-tonks and hillbilly music so to say. 

 

 In a few years, my mom re-married and I had a step-dad. Interesting chap always had a 25-caliber pistol in the small of his pants. Under his careful watch, I learned how to load rocks and gravel properly on a wheelbarrow, proper concrete mixture techniques as well as the fine art of stonewall construction. For a five year old, this seemed fun for about six minutes.  

 

By middle school, it was accepted knowledge in my “family” that I was a stupid, worthless, talentless and ugly oaf whose laziness was the stuff of legends. Anger had long ago grown into bitterness and whole hearted hatred for me. So when a second round of parental infidelity and divorce erupted I was well equipped to embrace the dysfunction.

 

During this period, my mom had a nervous breakdown. For the better part of this time, she took her pills, drank cheap wine and cried. I hated watching her suffer all the while not quite able to understand much beyond the hate or to help beyond refilling her glass.

 

I share this sob story simply to point out that I have not recreated the hurts and chaos I was born and bred to continue. In fact, I have been married for nearly 20 years to one wonderful woman. I have seven children who range from high school to toddlerdom. Four of which are currently six-year-old quadruplet and I have been their at-home dad for some seven years.

 

What happened you wonder? Well, a bit of spiritual jujitsu, you might say. Oh, I spent a wayward youth and young adulthood. However, one night, Valentines Evening 1987 to be exact, I found out that God cared. That was the crazy evening that He put a snowplow in my path. While I was going 60 miles an hour!

 

 

No this is not an illustrative verse, an allegory, metaphor or what ever. I hit a snowplow! I hit it good and I hit it hard. I should have died but I did not even bleed. I later saw pictures of my car. If you had been in the back, you would have died, if you were in the passenger seat they would have had to bury the whole car to make sure they got all of you. I had only a big bruise right over my heart. Now there is your metaphor.

 

Now I am not an evangelist. I am just your average at home dad of Quads plus three. My goal is not preaching. It is simply to share the flat out in your face truth that turns all the anguish and hurt aimed at you, now and over the years, across your hip, over your shoulders and flat on it’s evil ass. Learn this one simple move and you will be able to toss the weight of the world off your back.

 

 It is as simple as just plain FORGIVENESS! Yea I had a messed up dad and an even more messed up step-dad. Sure mom lost it and I was a messed up dude who made many bad choices. Nevertheless, the anger, the bitterness and wholehearted hatred I carried for them and I was nothing more than a chokehold from hell itself.

 

Our culture is dying one poorly parented child at a time. There is no government solution to this. Nor any social redefinition of marriage or family that will make a thimble full of difference. This all takes places in the heart and soul of guys like you and me. This is the battle of our lifetime. The reason to fight straddles the gulf between our own personal eternity and the hearts and future of the children we father. 

 

It is easy to forgive when you know you have been forgiven. It is also easier to follow an example than make it up on your own. This is where Christ made the difference for me. Now I am not an evangelist but I have seen and been a part of a miracle. Come to my house for a day and you will see it too.

 

My dad, he was drafted at 18 into the first wave of the Korean War and drove a truck for the Marines. By age 20, he had three Bronze Stars and accompanying Purple Hearts. That means he went through hell in a hat basket. He never got all the way over it either.

 

My step-dad was raised with an alcoholic father that beat him for sport. By 19, he had enlisted in the Navy and went out on liberty only to tie on a blind drunk that ended in a killing. From age 20 to 31, he was on the chain gang in the Georgia State Penal system for manslaughter. By age 33, he was parenting my brother and me.

 

Mom had lost her dad at 13 and developed a heart to help broken men. She did not realize that some wounds need a savior to truly mend the damage. She paid a high price for her well-intentioned efforts.

 

You see I know all this now and I can look back with compassion and love. I can let them all go and leave the hate and the hurt behind. This is the reason I purpose to be a dad like none my families history has ever seen. Forgiven, whole and aware of his place in the chain of fathers, sons, daughters and destiny. 

 

This guys, is my lesson in fighting the battle of your lifetime. It can be done and won. Spiritual jujitsu, bending like a reed in the wind and letting the pain blow away. Sound too simple but it takes time and practice. If you need an example that is my hope. Look at me and see a tiny bit of Jesus and the heart of the Father He and I share. In their care all the fighting ends and your own victory begins. Do not linger for your own snowplow to join us; your kids may not have the time to wait.

 

Mike Poff  

 

Byline:

 

Mike is the at home dad of quadruplets plus three as well as a freelance writer and columnist for Twins Magazine. He and his wife Pam live near the “Crest of the Blue Ridge” with their eight horses, seven children, six cats, five dogs and one guinea pig. He is perpetually working on his Master of Theology in his abundant spare time. 


2 Responses to “Spiritual Jujitsu and Other Fighting Tips for the Poorly Fathered”

  1. mommashappy says:

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.