By Dr. Eddie Capparucci, Ph.D., LPC, C-CSAS
What will be your legacy as a father? Would your children say if someone asked if you were a good dad? Would that person hear how you take time to play catch in the backyard, attend dance recitals, serve as a Boy Scout leader, make the world’s best grill cheese sandwiches, and are always willing to buy your kids the latest toy or electronic device?
Let me share a story about a dad like this. Jim is a 55-year-old UPS driver who has been married for 31 years and has three children arranging from ages 29 to 19. Jim was recognized by many to be a good husband and father. He was active in his children’s lives, and his wife felt, although their emotional intimacy was never strong, they had a successful marriage.
Two years ago, Jim was struggling to program a new app on his smartphone and ask his then 17-year-old daughter for assistance. Taking Jim’s phone off to her bedroom to work on the problem, she soon made a startling discovery. Her dad’s phone was filled with pornography. And not just any porn, but much of it involved transexuals. To say she was devastated would have been an understatement.
And Then it Happened, Legacy Destroyed
But instead of confronting her father or informing her mother, Jim’s daughter instead copied his browsing history and installed an app where she could follow his future browsing history.
Fast forward two years. Jim’s entire family had gathered together to celebrate his wife’s birthday. In the midst of the excitement, Jim’s 7-year-old granddaughter, who had been in his office playing a game on his computer, runs to her mother – Jim’s oldest child – crying and distraught. When asked why the tears, Jim’s granddaughter replies, “There is something scary on the computer in Grandpa’s office.”
Jim’s daughter rushes to investigate what scared her daughter, while Jim, who is busy grilling, is unaware of the commotion. That will be short-lived. Within seconds, pandemonium has broken out in Jim’s home. His daughter rushes through the house seeking out her mother and father. When she finds them, she lets loose. “Dad! Do you know what Chelsea saw on your computer,” she cries out. “Pornography! Pictures of men having sex with transexuals! What the hell Dad?!”
In just one moment, Jim’s world and his reputation as a stellar husband and father came crashing down. He is about to experience “legacy lost.”
Tip of the Iceberg
I wish I could say this story is unique. Not true. Scenes like this occur throughout the world and take quiet and peaceful home environments and turn them into chaos and upheaval.
Unfortunately, there are many men like Jim who are hiding a secret life riddled with pornography and other problematic sexual behaviors. It is a life of deceit, lust, and a high level of anxiety. The effort to maintain the secret takes an enormous toll on these men, and often they become sloppy and make a mistake that brings their dark and covert lives into the light. When exposed, they are seen as fallen men who:
- Robbed their wives of intimacy and security by not honoring their vows.
- Behaved hypocritically, going against the moral standards they taught their children.
- Failed to protect their families by allowing pornography into their homes.
As we approach Father’s Day, let us reflect on our character as fathers. Do we have a secret life that we hope will never be exposed? Are we engaging in activities that, if disclosed, would result in great embarrassment? If the answer is yes, then perhaps now is the time to seek help. If so, the first step is taking your problem out of the dark and bringing it into the light. It is much better to admit a problem than to have it discovered by others.
Our legacy is what we leave behind and how people will remember us. This Father’s Day, take the steps necessary to ensure that when you are gone, people remember you as a man of integrity. Your legacy demands it.
About the Author
Dr. Eddie Capparucci is a licensed professional counselor and works with men to help them manage their problematic sexual behaviors. He is the creator of the Inner Child Recovery Process™ for the Treatment of Problematic Sexual Behaviors and is the author of the book “Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction.” Dr. Capparucci has appeared on numerous webcasts, podcasts, and radio and television programs over the years. Among his clients are pro athletes and television personalities. You can learn more about him and his Inner Child Recovery Process by visiting www.innerchild-sexaddiction.com.
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