December 16, 2016

The Most Helpful Lesson my Bad Dad ever Taught me.

elle macpherson sports illustrated swimsuit

We were driving somewhere. In Denver.

I lived in Boulder, a little hippie college town a world away. He had visitation rights. He hadn’t been too good to my mom, or me.

But I loved him. We all make mistakes.

I was 12. I was talking about some girl I was in love with—maybe Elle MacPherson, the star of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues at the time.

He, relieved, said,

God, I’m glad you’re not gay. I figured [being raised by mom] you’d turn out gay.

I was only 12—but in that moment I knew I was hearing a sort of silly prejudice. It’s not that he was really prejudiced, maybe—he might have just wanted to be a grandpa. But I knew it wasn’t love, in that moment—it was conditional love.

And he taught me, by negative example, what love was.

You love your child or lover or parent or real friend. No matter what. That doesn’t mean you don’t give them honest feedback. But love is love, whether the object of our love fits our notion of what you wanted, or not.


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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.