written words from a father…

DSC01114
(an early blog pic / Julie Cook / 2013)

“[you have] demonstrated beyond refutation your slovenly happy-go-lucky harum scraum style of work.
If you cannot prevent yourself from leading the idle useless unprofitable life you have had during your schooldays and later months, you will become a mere social wastrel, one of the hundreds of the public school failures, and you will degenerate into a shabby unhappy and futile existence….”

These words were penned by a distant and aloof man who found no merit or worth in his eldest son.
His son had proved to be a miserable student which was of great embarrassment to the likes of this most well-do-to and one of the day’s most notably recognized politicians.

The boy’s school marks were so low that his father stated that he was “too dimwitted” to peruse a career as a barrister (lawyer), an assumed career path for a boy of his family’s social status, but rather was relegated to following a path towards a military career.
His father hoping for a bit of redemption in the boy, convinced himself that if the boy could succeed as an Infantry officer, all would not be lost.

However the embarrassment and disappointment only continued as the boy scored so low in school and twice failed the entrance exam to the prestigious military academy that his father all but gave up on the boy. On his third and final attempt the boy finally received a passing score, yet it was still considered too low to qualify for the revered infantry training…leaving the boy the only route of choice…. becoming a calvary man, much to the humiliation of his father.

Yet this emotionally harangued young man was undeterred by his father’s lack of affection, obvious disappointment, acknowledgement and support.

The father had always been bigger than life in the eyes of the young boy.
A stranger and hero to be worshiped from afar.

All of this even as the boy pined away homesick in boarding school…
With news that his father had actually come to the same town in which the boarding school was located in order to address a political function, the boy was devastated learning that his father made no attempt to visit or call upon the boy.

Crestfallen the boy wrote immediately to his father—yet rather than showing his very real pain and disappointment as one would expect, the boy merely states that he doesn’t understand why his father couldn’t visit yet in the same breath states that he knows him to be a very important and busy man.

The father, who had become quite sick while the boy was away at boarding school, died rather prematurely at the age of 45.
This sudden death of his father only heightened the boy’s sense of hero worship in a man who had remained distant at best and blatantly detached.

The boy would grow to be a man who always kept his father at the forefront of his thoughts and actions. His life’s goals and ambitions were always focused on following in the footsteps of his father.

One would only think that such words and actions by a man so detached and so vocally dismissive from his son would simply breed a seething loathing within a growing boy…allowing the seeds of resentment and hatred to fester.
Yet within this particular young boy turned man, anything could have been further from the truth.

Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, the particular boy in question, grew to be one of the West’s greatest men to have lived.
He had a long prolific, heroic and stellar career as a soldier, writer, artist, painter, statesman, historian, cabinet member, Prime Minister, world leader, husband and father.
He never cowered at the painful rebuffs of a man he idolized…never allowing the continued hurt and detachment of Lord Randolph Churchill to deter his quest to succeed at the things in which he tried his hand.
He always wanted to make his father proud…
dare we say, he most assuredly did…

Happy Father’s Day to all the men in my life who have overcome the obstacles in their paths in order to forge a life worthy of praise….

19 comments on “written words from a father…

  1. Melissa says:

    Just beautiful Julie

  2. davidkitz says:

    Excellent thoughts and a stellar example for FATHER’S Day. Thank you.

  3. Wally Fry says:

    Nice…I am sure he would be astounded at Winston’s later life

  4. Great post. I loved old Winston! I even named one of my cats Winston. 🙂 ❤

    • I’ve always said if we get a dog, I’m naming him Winston and if it’s a girl, Clementine after Mrs Churchill 🙂

      • If we get another dog or cat and it’s a female I’m naming her Clementine too. My great aunt and uncles that lived 2 doors down from us in California were like our grandparents and they went everywhere with us. They are still two of my most favorite people and I miss them so much. Their names were Walter and Stella so we had two cats for a while named Walter and Stella. 🙂 ❤

  5. David says:

    Thank you Julie. I didn’t know a lot of that. I should read more.

  6. atimetoshare.me says:

    What a great father’s day story. We should never underestimate the potential in our kids.

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Man now I have to go find a biography of Churchill…

    • Jim, shame on you! 😉
      Of all the history loving folks I know, you’ve not read anything on Churchill?!
      Well, let me help—
      A good one is God and Churchill by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley—the Sandys chap is Winston’s great grandson…there are the 3 volumes of the Last Lion by Willian Manchester—Manchester died before completing the final volume himself but a fellow author stepped in to do so—I think the middle volume the better of the three.
      Then there is Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham which leaves me loving Winston that much more but not so for Franklin as we see that Franklin was not as enamored with Winston as Winston was with FDR sadly…then there is Dinner with Churchill by Cita Stelzer and next Hitler & Churchill, Secrets of Leadership by Andrew Roberts–all good and very different places to start…
      as there are a boat load of books on the man—Stalin was not a kind to Churchill as he was to FDR and often enjoyed trying to leave Winston out of the big conversations when the three of them met—as he felt he could maneuver FDR better than he could Winston who would dig his heels in more on issues whereas FDR who was tired and sick was more willing to “give in”—

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