Of Onion Burgers, Baseball and Parenting

My son Vince, actually my step-son but to me my son, had the misfortune of having an alcoholic mother and father. When I entered his life, he was shaking from being on speed. He was an addict at age 15 and had been arrested for stealing motorcycles. He had little respect for authority, his real parents, me, and worst, little respect for himself.

I made him accountable for his actions. I started to ground him, to raise him the best as I could. I remember once taking him to the church softball team and playing with them. After playing ball (he was a great centerfielder with a superb arm), I took him to a small onion burger dive. When he got his hamburger, I noticed he was crying. I asked him, “What is the matter Vince?” His response astounded me.

“My father never played ball with me.” He continued. “He never even bought me a hamburger.”

I was dumbfounded. How can a father not play ball with his son? Not take him out for a burger? Incredible. Vince grew up and now has a family and is no longer on the drug scene. He works just like ‘normal’ people and is content with his life. I visited him his past weekend to find out Vince, my kid, is dying from a liver disease.

His attitude about his situation made me proud. He is living his life, working and doing what he wants to do, riding a motorcycle, being a dad, a husband and to me, a son. He tells people, he is my legacy and his children are my legacy, the legacy of being a proper parent of how to live life. I will probably preach at his funeral one day, but as I have told him many times, it is not where you are in life, but where you are going and the principles you use to reach your goals. I taught him the real goals in life are peace of mind, learning about the spiritual side of life, conquering your fears and building your dreams.

To you Vince, I say well done.

BJ Cassady BJ.Cassady@af-group.com Guthrie, Oklahoma

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