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How do you handle confrontations?

You would ask a soldier this? I would wait for the command, draw my sword, and plunge ahead into the battle. Never ask a simple soldier a complicated question!

Well, that’s one answer. But I am not always a soldier though. I am also a father, and while Bergil is a son to make any man proud, he’s also got a stubborn streak that I swear he must have gotten from his mother’s side. I recall the day he filled his pockets with winter apples. I caught him stuffing the last apple down his tunic, and asked him if he planned to eat all of those for his supper. He knew the rules – do not take more than you can eat, leave enough for the next hungry ranger. He looked me dead in the eye, and said "yes", the defiance quite unmistakable in his features.

We all go through those phases of growing up when we feel we must push the boundaries. It helps us know where they are, and what we are capable of. Bergil was pushing, and I think we both knew it.

I smiled, and filled my own plate with my supper. "Wonderful! It’s good to be able to share supper with my son for a change, my shift does not start for another hour." Bergil knew full well what this would mean. He sat down, resigned to his fate, fully prepared to eat fifteen apples just to show the old man he’d taken a proper supper.

By the time he got to biting into the fourth apple, he was not a happy boy. I polished off the last of my stew, and rose to get a slice of pie. "Would you like some apple pie for your dessert, once you’ve finished your dinner, Bergil?" He nearly started to cry, so sick of apples, and put off by what until today was his favorite dessert. "Or perhaps you would find more pleasure in an apology and the placing of eight apples back in the barrel?"

My fatherhood techniques worked that day. But I know a day will come when simple tricks are not enough, and I can only hope I have raised him well, and that the confrontations that will no doubt arise between my adult son and myself will be able to be resolved through thoughtful conversation and reasoning. And afterwards, we can have apple pie.

Beregond: Captain of the White Company, the Guard of Faramir Prince of Ithilien.
Fandom: The Lord Of The Rings
Word Count: 400


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May 2004

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