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I’m not going to do it for you

“I’m not going to do it for you.”

That was a phrase I had heard more than any other during my childhood. Whether it was directed at me or one of my siblings it mattered not. Maybe you had a similar upbringing, maybe like me you had parents and grandparents that taught you at a young age to take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Kids nowadays have it way too easy it seems, and as a grown man and established parent myself it’s no surprise I’ve found myself repeating this same set of words to my own children.

When my oldest boy was 10 he got into trouble at school because he had been mouthing off to the teacher. After leaving the principals office we walked with an invisible wall of silence between us. The principal decided that he should write a letter of apology, a decision I definitely agreed with. After getting home I sat him down at the kitchen table with a pencil and paper. He stared at them for a moment before looking up to meet my eyes.

“I’m not going to do it for you.”

When he turned 12 we got him a puppy as a birthday present. He had been asking for another dog for a few years since our other one had passed away. My wife and I both told him that we would as long as he agreed to be responsible for taking care of it. Not that we wouldn’t help when needed but we saw this as an opportunity to show us he could handle it. He did as he had promised and we enjoyed the puppy for sometime as a family. But one time he was careless and left some chocolate candy sitting out where the dog could get to it. We were all devastated, but it hit my boy the worst. We agreed to give the dog a proper burial in the backyard, but our son didn’t want to be the one to do it. I explained that this was part of caring for the dog, even in death. I handed him the shovel.

“I’m not going to do it for you.”

Then last night I was alone at home for the evening when the doorbell rang. My son, now a young man, stood on our front porch, hands and clothes running red in blood. His hair was a mess and he had tears streaming down his face.

“Dad…I’ve done something terrible. I didn’t want to…”

I looked past him to the car that he had backed up in our driveway. The streaks of red stood out immediately against the white of the trunk and bumper. I looked back at my son, who was now staring down at his feet.

“Back it up all the way to the garage.”

I grabbed some supplies from the basement and walked outside to meet him. He had stopped crying. I handed him the shovel.

“I’m not going to do it for you.”

submitted by /u/SA_Newman
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