My Path to Gerontology
by Jacqueline Campbell< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >
Setting a Good Example
When Father came to stay I was married with two children, aged 8 and 10. Bringing up children as they move into their adolescent years is a test of patience and commitment for everyone. Doing it in front of one’s own parent is fraught with peril.
My father was an alcoholic, and the effects were more pronounced as he aged. He provided an extremely negative role model to my children, making no attempt to fit in with such routines of the household as dressing for the day in the mornings, or being present for mealtimes.
When he did join us for meals he made vituperative comments about the food. He slept late, stayed in his dressing gown until late afternoon (when he would switch from tea to beer), burnt electric kettles dry, and would never share the newspaper until he had completely finished with it.
He was an unrepentantly bigoted man, and frequently commented on my family's friends, current news items, or on the editorial leanings of the Globe and Mail in thoroughly derogatory ways which my children could not tolerate. When he was not making inflammatory comments he spoke very little, except for answering “how are you?” with such original responses as “all the better for seeing you, my dear”, or “no harm comes to steady men”.
Twice he made a pilgrimage to England to see it for the last time. Each time I was on tenterhooks as to whether he or those around him would survive the expedition.