A Story From Dr. Bill Pettit

Dr. Bill PettitMy father and I had had a lot of conflicts and did until I learned the Principles. And his parenting score, and my mother's went from about 22 to 98.5, and nothing changed except my state of mind and my level of understanding.

I was in a junior year at Creighton University in pre-med and I'd run out of money and there were six children in our family and I ran out of ability to get money. And I worked the last semester, my kids always get their little violins out, but the last semester of my junior year in pre-med, I worked from 11 at night til 7 in the morning as a hotel clerk, 14 blocks from the university where I walked back and forth to school, most of the time. And then I went to pre-med during the day studying embryology and comparative anatomy and organic chemistry etc.

So at the end of my junior year I was exhausted and I called up my father to tell him in no uncertain terms that I was going to quit, after three years of college I was going to quit. This was 1963, so the war over in Thailand was just starting up and I was going to quit and I was going to call the Marines' recruiter today and go down and join the Marines.

Now I was waiting for my father to tell me something like, "That's a stupid idea," and I was going to hang up, I was going to slam the phone down and show him who was boss. And instead my father listened and I got all through and my father listened and he said, "You know Bill, it seems sad..." I'm paraphrasing probably, but something to the effect, "You're so close, you're just one year away from getting your degree, it seems a shame that you're not able to find... I wish I had the capability to help you. You know I don't right now, but it seems a shame but I want you to know..." I can't even tell the story without getting choked up, "I want you to know that I love you with all my heart and that I totally respect whatever decision you make."

Wow! I thought the martians had taken over the planet and supplanted my father with somebody that didn't know our relationship. I was speechless. I said, "Thanks Dad." And I hung up and I said, I know there's got to be a way to finish this last year of school. And I did, I got a job living in a mortuary my senior year... picking up bodies in the middle of the night... and I found a way and I went on to medical school.

But I tell that because at that moment, wisdom guided him to... he may well have had the thoughts coming into his head, "I need to tell him that's the dumbest damn thing I've ever heard," but he didn't vocalize that thought. What he listened to was the love that he had for me and now that I was 21 years old, the respect that he had for me, that I had to make my own decisions. And I'll never forget that. I'll never forget the love that I felt from him and the respect. So I share that for what it's worth.

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