Tough Love

Ali - Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Entered on September 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Have you ever been asked by someone that you care for to accept an apology, but you can’t give it to them? My parents divorced when I was three months old, because my dad couldn’t handle being a full-time father. Instead of trying to be a part-time father, he just pretended I didn’t exist unless it was a convenient time for him. Those convenient times came maybe twice a month. All through my adolescence, I was forced by court orders to make biweekly visitations to keep a good relationship with my dad. However, when I went to his house, I had a better relationship with the television than my dad.

This situation has formed my belief in tough love. We have a quote on our fridge at home, “Loving someone is loving them enough to tell them no.” Many times a loved one does something that makes us mad and when told sorry we give in because we love them. There is no rule saying that because you love someone you always have to forgive them. More often than not, we forgive them and are able to move on almost like nothing happened, but there are some situations where forgiveness doesn’t come easy. Although it is perfectly fine to forgive someone, there needs to be a line drawn between forgivable and unforgivable situations. To me forgiveness is being able to discuss a situation with the person and work things out. It’s being able to define what caused the problem and discuss what you can do in the future to prevent that situation from happening again. I know that being able to forgive is a trait that everyone should possess, because you can’t live life hating everyone over one incident. I also know that you can’t forgive everything.

I’ve heard that you should “forgive and forget,” but I think there are certain situations that just aren’t forgivable and impossible to forget. To me a forgivable situation would be someone ignoring me on Friday night. Yeah, I would be mad but most likely the relationship could be saved. A perfect example of an unforgivable situation would be the way my dad neglected me for nearly all of my life. To me it is unacceptable for my dad to have a child and dedicate almost no time to me, and then ask me to forgive him, and to give him yet another chance.

A second chance is something that everyone deserves; I know that no one is perfect and that I will grant many second chances in my lifetime. I also believe that someone should not expect a third or fourth chance . There is a line that I have to draw, or a time to say no. If after the second chance they haven’t learned from their mistake, then I have to wonder if they ever will.

My so called relationship with my dad has come to prove my belief that tough love is ok and many times a necessity. Just because I love my dad does not mean that I have to forgive him and his actions over the past fifteen years. I have come to learn that there are situations that aren’t forgivable. Like many kids hear from their parents daily, “Sorry isn’t going to cut it this time.”