Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Message from Tyler Perry - Forgiveness this Father's Day

[After plugs for the TBS show HOUSE OF PAYNE and the DADDY'S LITTLE GIRLS release on DVD.will be out on DVD...]

Speaking of fathers and father's day. A few years ago I wrote an article for Essence magazine about forgiving my father for all he had done. For so many years I was angry with him. I do believe that when I was growing up this man hated me to my core. I don't remember any happy memories with him. And I'm sure there had to be some, but it's funny what a child will hang on to. Like the times when I would be in my room sitting, reading or playing and the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up. I would turn and look at the window in the door and there he would stand staring at me as if he could kill me. I used to pretend that I was somewhere else (I think that's where my imagination and story telling was born). He would call me profane names all of the time. He would beat me with anything that he could get his hands on. He would play terrible mind games with me all the while beating and abusing my mother-- especially when she tried to protect me.

Needless to say I had a lot to forgive. And I needed to because the first 28 years of my life were filled with so much torture and turmoil that I wanted to die. All I wanted were answers. I wanted to know why he hated me so much and what did I do as a child that was so wrong that it would warrant that kind of mistreatment. Although my answers never came I knew that I had to move on, because all of the things that happened to me as a boy were affecting and defeating the man that I was to be. So, at 28 years old, I prayed and asked God to help me to find the strength to forgive my father. He was sleeping peacefully at night while I was enraged. I knew that I had to forgive him, not for him but for me and my future. After a bitter argument with him one day I told him all that I'd wanted to say to him, then I forgave him with all my might. The moment I did that, my life changed. All that I had been trying to do started to come together. I knew that something had changed in me and I could see it outwardly.

Even though there were so many things that I had forgiven, there was still so much more that I needed to learn. I found myself getting angry again when I realized all of the things that he didn't teach me.
He didn't teach me the little things that fathers should teach their sons--things like how to ride a bike or how to tie a tie or even about sports. And what made me the most upset was when I realized that he didn't teach me how to be a man, or a husband or a father. In the midst of my complaining, frustration and feeling sorry for myself God spoke to me and said, "Your lessons were in reverse. If you do the opposite of what he did then you have your answers."

My question to you today is this--"What lessons have you learned in reverse? And is there anyone that you need to forgive?"

Forgive them, forgive yourself, and then God will forgive you.

God bless. Happy Fathers Day.

Tyler Perry

1 comment:

Taiji218 said...

That's what I had to learn to do as well--except I phrased it that my father was "an excellent negative role model." He taught me a lot of what not to do to live a successful life. While he was diagnosed as suffering from manic depression, I suspect he really had an anxiety/panic disorder along with a deep sense of inferiority based on his poor upbringing. As a result, he believed he always had to act the role of the big shot, even if he couldn't back it up. As a husband he acted like a little Hitler towards my Mom, until she divorced him at which point he went back and forth from being a little Hitler to very pathetically whining to her to let him back--and trying to get me to continuously tell her "I want my Dad back" (when I really didn't). For the first few years after the divorce he broke into the house repeatedly, causing the police to be called and him to be dragged out kicking and screaming. As I grew up with him, he always wanted to try to show me he was a big shot, which came off as play acting most of the time.

On the plus side, I never questioned his love for me or for the family, simply his ability to carry it off. I loved him back, but he was no role model. As a young adult I was strapped with the pressure to "exceed your father's accomplishments," which meant to me at the time to be crazier than he was. It was only when I rejected that pressure and realized I could love my father while refusing to grow up to be like him that I found my own path.