David Kuo – in a fit of self-hatred I know only too well – tells his five-year-old son the truth:
The [soccer] game starts. My boy kicks the ball into his own net — even as the coach is telling him to turn around and go the other way — and is happy. He thinks he’s just done something awesome.
I’m fuming. Fuming. I want to yell, “LISTEN, AIDAN! LISTEN!”
But I don’t want to be one of those dads – the insane ones at their kid’s sporting events – so I sit in my portable seat and fume. There’s been no outward evidence of my ass-ness. It’s an inner rage.
I continue watching. My boy stands looking at the clouds as his coach yells out his name. He turns and instinctively kicks at the air. The other team runs by him … Moments later, he runs over and asks if he did great. Kim says yes. The coach says yes. Me? I’m half way between, "Awesome!" and "You suck!" I want to go for the former, I cannot say the latter. After the tiniest of pauses, I say no.
Nanoseconds feel like hours. He looks blankly at me. I suddenly feel bile in the back of my throat. What did I just do?
The rest of the story is here. But, David, my dear friend, you are not an asshole. Just human. Which is why grace exists. But sometimes it doesn't feel like grace at all.