american idad

Occasionally, I find myself Dad watching.

I look at Dad’s interacting with their kids (or not) and judge their performance. Depending on the kind of day I am having, I can look at the same situation and interpret it in different ways. I try to take everything that is apparent into consideration when forming my opinion. Then there are the unknown factors that play a roll as well. If you are lucky enough to sit next to them in a restaurant or movie, as opposed to a simple breeze by in the mall, you can pretty much figure out the kind of parent they are, regardless of the unknown.

There will be people that will argue the “unknown” factor and tell me “I just don’t understand”. Others will give me a “shame on you for judging”, but here it goes anyway.

Example (the short version):

I’m in a restaurant / a family sits next to me / little girl has no “quiet voice” / Mom yells at her 345,681 times to “be quiet” / girl says “no” half of those times / the other half she just ignores her Mom / the girl orders everything, eats nothing /  the Dad sits on his lazy butt and stuffs his face with his Grand Slam / the girl throws things at her parents / everyone in the restaurant wishes them dead / except of course me, being a Christian and all.

RandySo out comes Randy Jackson:

“You know “dawg”, I just aint feeling your Dad vibe. I mean, you know “dawg”, you just didn’t “bring it”. This wasn’t your best performance, my man. Your daughter was a bit “pitchy”, and your wife’s performance rhymed with that. I don’t know, “dawg”, I don’t know. You know? I don’t know. Journey and Mariah Carey.”

Then Paula:

Paula“Hi, mystery Dad. You really look nice today. I see that you were kinda sorta having a tough time with your situation and you made the best of it. I have to give you credit for being able to make it through your meal while your wife and child displayed the agony you must go through every day of your life. Next time, I would like to suggest that you maybe prepare a bit more before you attempt another performance. This Dad thing may not be your cup of tea, but I wish you the best. Did I mention that you look nice today?”

SimonThen Simon:

“That was deplorable. You are a disgrace to all men, regardless of if they have children or not. I understand that there was little you could do in the situation that you were in, but let me tell you what I saw. The only difference in your “family stance” on any given day must be what is lying in front of you at the moment. Today it was breakfast; tomorrow it will be a newspaper, TV, computer, work, etc. If you are doing anything, it is ineffectual or wrong and possibly doing more harm than good. Your wife is not helping the situation by acting the way she did, but I can only imagine that it is a sign of her frustration because you refuse to step up at home. Your child showing her inconsideration for everyone around her is an indication that she is either starving for your attention or just as uncaring as you are teaching her to be. You obviously have offered nothing further that the fluid it took to get the project started. You are a disgrace. You don’t belong in this competition.”


“Ok America, if you like “Grand Slam Dad”, please phone in at 1-555-DEADBEAT”

Now that I got that out of my system…

All I could think was, “Where is Jesus in this guy’s life?” Then I felt guilty because I thought Jesus was too busy holding me back from backhanding that guy until he woke up, to help him with his family. Maybe my responsibility was not to judge? Maybe it was to pray? Maybe we could all loosen up Christ’s workload by handling situations with a bit more compassion, love, understanding, and forgiveness? Maybe I should apologize to that guy for being a part of the problem, instead of his solution?

I am not sure how I could have been used to help that guy? I’m not sure if that was even my roll at all? I think next time something like that happens I will try to keep my thoughts a bit more Christ-like and see if I can’t be less of a pessamist, and more of a “blessamist”.

Hey Grand Slam Guy! If you’re out there…

May God bless you “dawg”.


12 Responses to american idad

  1. Anita Marie says:

    So here this kid was just begging for attention and her Dad is pretending like she doesn’t exist?
    What a message old Dad is giving her.

  2. jolenemartin says:

    This guy reminds me of our old neighbour and I have to say I believe there’s not a thing that we could have said or done to make that man a better father or neighbour. He was the way he was and I guess he had to realise for himself that he wasn’t doing great at his job of being a good role model for his kids. Unfortunately he had drank too much alcohol on any given day to be able to gather himself together enough to change his ways. I wonder if he’d had a better opinion of himself would he have been a nicer person?

    As you know I’m not a christian but I respect and admire your stance of where is Jesus in the lives of those who seem to have lost their way in life. If it had been me I would have sat there and judged and not given a thought to how this man could better himself because I’m afraid I see them all as lost causes. If I pretend to believe for just a second though I would say…perhaps Jesus is in this man’s life and he’s too blinded by the turmoil of his immediate situation to know that. It’s like the joke of the man who’s marooned and he believes that God will rescue him and turns down the help of several people because “God will come”. He dies of course and meets God and asks him where he was in his hour of need…God replies that he was there in the guise of the man’s rescuers but he was too blind to see it.

  3. Chantal says:

    Holy mack, Charlie…you have an amazing ability to highlight our daily struggles and challenges as human beings, to link them to something familiar and common, and then to tie it all up with an option that shines of hope (for others) and betterment (for oneself).

    Beautiful reflection on the power of compassion.

  4. Dawn says:

    I am not a parent, but know that many a child has spoiled a meal out for me. How do you teach your children manners or to behave in public seems to be the question here. If I misbehaved, my parents sent me to my room (where there was no computer, no t.v., no phone etc.) until I did behave like a young lady. I think you must lead by example and until that time, “stay home and practice” might be a great suggestion. The parents in question probably never learned manners from their parents – how to break the cycle??

  5. raincoaster says:

    You know, I wish I could put Simon Cowell on a leash and take him around with me like a pet rottie. People would hate me but I wouldn’t care because I’d be laughing so hard.

  6. Charlie says:

    AMM: Yup! Crazy! I was wondering in the repeated clacking together of her parents heads would sooth her into a mollifying state of rest.

    Jo: I have a much better understanding of your decision to move. That guy made me want to move to another town too; just so that I never see that restaurant again and stir up the painful memory.

    C-Tal: You comments continue to bless my day with reassurance. I go back and read them on days that don’t start out as planned. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    D: What a great question… I think we “break it” when we realize that we have a responsibility, to our kids, to improve. You know that it must be the right way, when it seems difficult to keep it up. Parenting is hard work, if you’re not sweating, you’re not doing it.

    RC: It would have to be one of those retractable string ones. This way you have the ability to allow him to pounce all over faces, without the inconvenience of moving toward them. What do you feed a Cowell Rottie? …perhaps “Kibbles and Twits”

  7. His Girl says:

    Charlie man first of all incredible gift of writing you have. Secondly as a single Mom some days I wonder if I can even teach my children anything but you gave me a boost. At least I am not a dead beat mom and I step up to the challenge and interact with my kids and do the best I can. We all need to be Simon and look in the mirror at times. We also need to speak the truth in love to those who may need a bit of a wake up call. Thank God for father’s like you!!

  8. Michael Grillo says:


    Your blog is very interesting and thoughtful. It’s nice to see that you are so committed to your family. When I observe the many married couples I know, I question whether I would ever be willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to make it all work, which I don’t think I am at this point. Though if I ever do get married I will definitely seek your advice.

  9. Charlie says:

    HG: Nice to see you back…”We also need to speak the truth in love to those who may need a bit of a wake up call”. I wish you would have said that two weeks ago! I could have used it.

    Dr. Grillo: Thanks for the kindness. I’m sure I could learn a bunch of stuff from your perspective, as well. I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished in your life, to date. I tell your story often.

  10. myderbe says:

    Good post. I’m not so sure our goal is to “lighten Jesus’ workload,” but I think I see what you were meaning. We probably should go for immediate compassion and prayer, rather than the frustration and annoyance we often feel at people who act like the dad in your scenario. I am sure there is a lot of back-story we never see, but -while that may evoke some compassion and understanding- I’m not so sure it’s an excuse for the way people behave.

    Your American Idol judging was really funny. :)

    And, finally, we have the “Next time, we’re going to go to the bathroom” or “Next time, we’re going out to the car to have a talk” reminders in restaurants a lot.

  11. Charlie says:

    myderbe: thank you for seeing through my humor and finding a message. sometimes i think that i’m the only one that understands my perspective.

    it was a pleasure to have you here. i hope you come back soon.

    p.s. i read “a vapor” 3 times, and each time it gave me more chills than the last. great post, great God, great lesson.

  12. myderbe says:

    Thanks, Charlie. Glad you found my place and hope you’ll be back. :)

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