To Be A Good Son

If I bend my beliefs,

To what you hold as true,

Would you consider me,



If I reshape my will,

To meet your desires,

Could I be counted as,



If I seek after goals,

Of your choosing,

Will my life and times,

Bring you pride?


If my knee remains bent,

In submission,

Can I be called a,



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About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on March 17, 2016, in Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 76 Comments.

  1. Some tough life questions. Great read 🙂

  2. Yes you can! JK..always best to be yourself and true to your
    Own convictions. Great work!

    • Thank you! 🙂 It’s never a good idea to be who anyone else thinks you should be but to be exactly the person you are. It took years for me to understand this.

  3. Every good parent wants to see their child adopt what they hold as important as their own. It’s a process every son must go through, sorting through what they’ve been taught, deciding what to keep and what to throw out. It’s excruciating for parents too and many parents don’t know how to cope with this process and go back to the old default of their son’s childhood. At the end of it all, the boy is a man and there’s is no other choice but to love him as is. Individuation is psychological and emotional surgery.

    • Thank you! 🙂 So well said. You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. When a child becomes someone other than who the parents intended them to be or when they hold different beliefs or ideals, it can cause a lot of problems. But each of us has to be who we are and what we are and even our parents shouldn’t be able to change us. Thank goodness for unconditional love. 🙂

  4. Well expressed. Better for you to be you.

  5. As I’ve always encouraged my children to be themselves, to blaze a new trail, your poem makes me want to make sure they take that to heart. Their happiness in life should not be based on how they think I see them, but in themselves. Good words. Very thought provoking.

    • Thank you, David! 🙂 Allowing them to be themselves will help them a great deal. We naturally seek our parents’ blessings and validations of who and what we are but in the end we have to be ourselves. It’s great to meet you!

  6. TheUnspokenWords

    I am feeling this

  7. This one really touched me. Thanks for sharing.

  8. A @ moylomenterprises

    Living to please others often leads to quite a deal of misery. Bend this way and that, and they’ll find something else to be unhappy about just to see if you’ll bend some more. Will all that back and knee pain be worth it in the end?

  9. Face with life
    The only way is the process by which you learn
    Experience and exposure
    There lessons to be learned from parents
    But the school of hard knocks rules

  10. Very powerful. Much is said with a few words. Sally

  11. You’re one of my favorites. Maybe not what you’re loking for, but maybe it counts for something.

  12. Dare you, to ask God to reveal himself. God Bless.

  13. To be a good son–or daughter–one has to spread their wings and fly from the nest to build their own. Good parents teach their children how to do this while standing tall and thinking for themselves.
    A great poem about a parent’s failure.

    • Thank you, Mary! 🙂 Not to sound like I’m judging but it seems all parents I’ve ever known fail at least a little. They are human and want their kids to be at least something like they are to have things in common or traits in common. But when that one kid that breaks the mold comes along they still want to force the round peg in the square hole. It’s only natural to ask why that one kid is weird or different but the answer is…they just are. 😉

      • I think most parents do the best they know how to raise their kids. I know my parents weren’t perfect because no human being is. I grew up before I realized it, though. I have one son, grown and long gone, and though I was only 17 when I had him, I loved him and did my best. I must have done okay since he loves me and visits often. 🙂
        And btw, I was the weird one too, and was luckily allowed to be my weird self.

        • That’s right. None of us are perfect so no parents will be prefect. It’s great to be the weird one sometimes though it can also be a bit of a burden. But when you’re free to be who and what you are it’s a great freedom.

  14. Oh my Lord – this alone has me following you.

  15. I have nominated you for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ ( Would you be interested?

  16. This is so relate-able to almost every young person out there.. craving to fit in the family. I myself ask these questions on a day to day basis. Your choice of words and writing as a whole, right in the feels! Great work! = )

  17. You managed to nail the emotional conflict in just a few but very meaningful words, which are impeccably structured! Love it!

  18. So real! I get this…

    But in the end, when my father died last year, I carried that feeling that I had always been a disappointment right to his grave site. And it was there I began to wonder how much of that perceived disappointment I felt was my own… As in, I disappointed myself.

    This poem reminds me of that; of how often I shift my behavior in anticipation of others’ disapproval, rather than waiting to see if they actually disapprove…

    Sorry, rambling. Apparently this poem makes me think. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lisa! 🙂 My condolences first. I lost my moth years ago and I know it’s hard to lose a parent. It’s a loss we never get over because it leaves a void that no one or anything can ever fill.

      As for being a disappointment, it’s likely you never did disappoint him. I’m not sure even given the subject or how I wrote this poem that I’ve disappointed either. But if we turn out differently than they thought we should or if we go in some new or unusual direction with our lives, we do naturally ask if we’ve been a disappointment. But the best thing anyone can be, besides being who they are, is to be true to themselves.

  19. Hmmmmmm …..interesting ….with a teen of my own I now realise what I put my own parents through ……it’s just bloody awful to see them on the cusp of high risk behaviours which you KNOW could lead to them closing off their options in life ….I’m finding have to just keep communication open …loving is a given ….just try to point out the options and that ultimately the responsibility of ‘choice’ AND consequences is now their own …it’s not easy tho ….a child is indeed for life and not just for Christmas:D:D:D
    Great ‘food for thought’ poem …Thankyou

    • Thank you, Fijay! 🙂 You’re doing the toughest job there is – parenting a teen. I don’t envy that because it’s a grind considering the changes that teens go through. I’m glad I didn’t have to raise a kid exactly like I was during those years. 😉 But it’s hard to let them go, to say go and live and be yourself. I was fortunate that I was let out of the nest and allowed to go but when I went against the grain after finding new ideas or new beliefs that’s when I found that I didn’t “fit in” as well anymore.

  20. I think it all depends on what kind of parent one has: whether they prefer an independent-thinking child or a submissive one. I think my parents realized after I insisted on being myself and not making a mess of my life despite of that, that they could trust me and that I could take care of myself. They accepted me, considered me faithful, were proud of me, and might have been their favorite (not sure about the last one though)

  21. Old man look at my life
    I’m a lot like you were
    I need someone to love me
    the whole day through
    Neil Young responds
    loveLoveLOVE ….. Double U

    • Thank you! 🙂 Very well said. He wrote lyrics that said things so many of us were thinking and dealing with. Neil Young spoke well of me in those lyrics. 🙂

  22. I am loving this whole thread, instigated by your amazingly concise and emotional poem. Obviously it struck a chord in many, and continues to be one of those issues that parents and children deal with. I was a people-pleaser from the womb, striving to deserve love by doing it all right. Not until I was 55 did I really get free to be me, and it’s so worth the journey. Thank you for your gift of poems.

    • Thank you! 🙂 In some ways I was the anti-people-pleaser since I was a bit of a stranger child yet it’s hard to be different when raised strictly. Emerging as who you actually are, the real you, is a challenge but, you’re right, it’s well worth the journey.

  23. This is very thought provoking. Very simply & beautifully expressed. i enjoy reading your posts always.
    I am sure all of us at some point feel this way. I certainly dont fit in the mould my parents made for me. But bending backwards is not the way to be. That might make you a good (and unhappy) son, and make your parents seem really mean.. as a parent, i know no one would want that equation 🙂

    • Thank you, Isra! 🙂 Bending and attempting to fit a mold or to be something you’re not can be confusing and exhausting. Finding out who you are later in life can be a real challenge.

  24. Very nice. Thank you for sharing.

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