by Steve Gaines

Several years ago, as an adjunct teacher of television production, I was responsible for a tutorial in the fine points of distance learning while with the University of Nebraska Lincoln. I had two post doctoral students from India who were both physicists. Both these very intelligent students could not understand how I was so interested in their field of study, but still so incapable of understanding its finer points. I wrote the following piece for their benefit. I must admit that it did not help them accept my ignorance in any way. But it did occupy me for a day or two. And its basic sub-text still rings true.

There is no greater crushing experience — or necessary duty — than when a father must tell a son he is not good enough; he does not measure up; he is not the man he was born to be:

FATHER: I know you tried, but you did not make the football team.

SON: But Dad! I went to every practice! I did my best! I did everything you and the coach asked.

FATHER: Yes, you did everything you could but it wasn’t enough, son. There are other boys who play ball better than you. You just don’t have the talent. I’m sorry.

SON: You lied to me! You told me I could do anything I wanted if I only tried!

FATHER: You just aren’t good enough to play football but that doesn’t mean we can’t try something else.