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In September of 1992 and after having survived five failed marriages, I finally decided to try to get counseling. The county did not appear to be interested because I was not on the edge of "blowing my brains out." I was always under the illusion that it was a good idea to go to the fire station to get help on how to stop your house from burning down, before it actually happened. But I guess not.
I decided to go to another organization, one that might be able to put my family straight. After all, there was nothing wrong with me. After being accepted by this clinic and after attending five or six sessions, I began to pick up little bits of information that I thought might be helpful. I had always known that my way was the right way, mainly because that is the only way I knew.
In November, I was attending one of the sessions. I remember telling the counselor about my teenage son and what a bum he was. I talked about how my son would not clean up his room and how he never picked up after himself.
"This kid is a total waste of life," I told the counselor. This was a fact and I knew it to be true.
"How do you know that?" he asked.
"Because I deal only with the facts and nothing else. Black is black and white is white, and there is no in between," I replied.
Then the counselor asked me the following question.
"Mr. Kiser, you were raised in the orphanage and the reform school. Do you think they raised you in the correct manner?"
"NO!" I replied rather quickly. "The bastards were too strict on me and I was never allowed to be a child."
The counselor stood up, looked at me straight in the face and said, "Then why are you trying to do the same thing to your son?"
I nearly fell off of my damn chair. Those few simple words were the key that unlocked something in my brain. Everything became clear to me on that very spot. Those words made me realize that there was another way - another way, other than my way. Not just another way, but another way that might also be the right way. How could this be so? How could my way not be the right way? My way was not the right way because it was the orphanage’s way. Not the "real world" way. But that was the way I had been taught. It was all I knew.
Now I walk into my son's bedroom and see this ungodly pile of crap lying all over the place. But now I smile and shake my head, as I tell the lazy bum to clean up his room.
It is for the first time that I now get to see the mess that I was never allowed to have.
(I love you son.)