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Welcome to this episode of Friday Reflections by Dad.Work!

Every Friday I share the best of what we have been doing in the Dad.Work community, to provide perspective, new ideas, and motivation for you to continue on your journey to becoming the best man, partner, and father you can be.

In this episode, I share all of my most moving poems as a father with you. During a difficult time in Thailand, I played these poems over and over because of how badly I treated my son by not being gentle with him and expecting a lot from him.

I had forgotten that he was only a child!

Mentioned on this episode:

Father Forgets Poem


Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad Work Podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad Work. This is episode number 85 to poems her father's father's forgets, and if this is a Friday reflections episode where I share something that's been on my mind lately in the hopes that you find value in it as well. And guys, I'm going to get right into it here because I am going to read you two poems that have been very useful for me. The first one father forgets, brought a tear to my eye, pretty much every time I read it for months, and I actually had this in my calendar to remind myself to read it every day for a long time when I was struggling, and it really helped shape my perspective and change that for the better. The second one, if by Rudyard Kipling is one of my favorites, and it's just a fantastic balanced approach to life, from a father to a son, so I'm not going to do any other preamble today. If you've been enjoying this, I appreciate you. And I hope this will help to shed some more light on something you may not have thought about before. And if you have read these, well, hopefully you enjoy listening to them. Again, I love finding these in the wild and being reminded of them. So that being said, let's jump into it here. Here we go.

Alright, guys, we're gonna try something a little bit different today. And I want to share with you two poems that have been impactful for me and I do not read a lot of poetry, I don't care that much for it. Although it is obviously beauty, if it's done well. And I think we should be striving to do more beautiful things and appreciate more aesthetic beauty in the world. Now Father forgets is the first one I want to read to you. And I literally put this on repeat in my phone's calendar for weeks on end, during pretty trying period of my life when I was in Thailand. And I was not doing a great job being gentle or charitable with my son, I was expecting too much out of him. I was reacting poorly. I was being mean, I was yelling, I was being very angry. And I'm not even sure if this counts is a poem. It's a bit of a, I don't know, a very short one page story poem, whatever it's called, but I'm gonna share it here anyway, because it was so impactful for me, and it has been very impactful for the other men that I've shared it with. So I'm gonna read it here for you. And I encourage you to look up the written version of this and just read it every once in a while if this resonates with you. The second poem we're gonna be reading is called if by Rudyard Kipling that has been a useful one for me because it talks a lot about balance, and sort of teaches lessons to his son, which I think are important for us to understand so we can teach our son. The first one here is father forgets by W. Livingston learned. Listen, son, I'm saying this as you lie asleep, one little hand crumpled under your cheek and blond curls sticky over your wet forehead. I have broken into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guilty. I came to your bedside. There are things which I'm thinking son had been crossed to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face Amir dab with the towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast. I found fault too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. As you started off to play and I made for my train. You turned and waved a hand and called Goodbye, Daddy. I frowned and said in reply, hold your shoulders back. Then it began all over again late this afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you down on your knees playing marbles. There were holes in your socks. I humiliated you before your friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Socks were expensive and if you had to buy them, you would be more careful. Imagine that son from a father. Do you remember later when I was reading in the library? How you came timidly with sort of a hurt look in your eyes? I glanced up over my paper impatient at the interruption. You hesitated at the door. What is it that you want? I snapped. You said nothing but ran across in one tempestuous plunge through your arms around my neck and kissed me. Your Small Arms tightened with affection that God had said blooming in your heart, which even neglect could not wither. Then you were gone. pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands, and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault or reprimanding? This was my reward to you for being a boy, who is not that I did not love you. It was that I expected too much of you. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own yours. There is so much that was good, fine and true and your character. The little heart of yours was as big as the dawn itself over the hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me goodnight. Nothing else mattered tonight. Son, I have come to your bedside in the darkness. I have knelt they're ashamed. It is a feeble atonement. I know that you would not understand these things which I have told you in the waking hours. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy. I will come with you suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh, I will bite my tongue when impatient words come, I will keep saying is if it were a ritual, he is nothing but a boy, a little boy. I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. It as I see you now son crumpled and weary in your bed, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder, I have asked too much too much. This one knocked me on my ass the first many, many times I read it, because it was too real for me. And I saw my own failures. And so I want to let you guys know if this impacted you. And if you continue to read this and it impacts you. You were always doing the best you could with the tools you had. And you don't need to beat yourself up. If you have messed it up to this point that you that did the things that you might regret was probably a man who was hurting and you didn't have a lot of tools to deal with it. So cut yourself some slack give compassion to your former self.

Forgive yourself if you can. And remember to show up for your children via real daddy as he says tomorrow and every day thereafter and continue to come back to this if you find a motivating No, I'm going to read if by Rudyard Kipling. If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting to. If you can wait and not be tired of by waiting or being lied about. don't deal in lies, or being hated. Don't give way to hating. And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise. If you can dream and not make dreams your master if you can think and not make thoughts your aim if you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same. If you can bear to hear the truth you spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools. Or watch the things you gave your life to broken and stoop and build them up with worn out tools. If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss and lose and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss. If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they're gone. And so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them, hold on. If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue or walk with kings nor lose the common touch. If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you. If all men count with you, but none too much. If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run. Yours is the earth and everything that's in it and wishes more you'll be a man my son. Like I said before, I really love the balance of this poem being a little bit of this, but not too much being a little bit of that but not too much. Taking stock in this but not too much. Allowing for the ebbs and flow of life. Never being too rigid, but not being weak either. I really love this for fathers and I really love this for sons as well. I think these things, this poem specifically could be read to your son, before bed is part of the bedtime stories, or in a quiet moment. Now I don't want to lessen the impact of these by speaking too much more. So I'm gonna leave it at that. But guys, I would love to know if there are other poems that you have enjoyed that have impacted you in fatherhood or manhood along your journey. Please let me know send them to me by email Curt at Dad.Work. I would love to share them with the other men or on Instagram DadWork.Curt. Thank you guys for listening to this episode of The Dad Work podcast of Friday reflections. And we will be back here on Tuesday with another interview of another amazing man. Thank you guys so much for listening. And we'll see you next week

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL Dad.Work/Pod to find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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