JohnJohn turned 3 yesterday. Despite the national pandemic, it turned out to be one of the most memorable moments this year. JohnJohn goggle chatted with his family. He and I baked his cake instead of purchasing a store-bought one. Rather than blowing out the candles, we waved the flames goodbye. Age 3 brings new challenges. Let me be honest, the essence of my son is good, sweet, righteous, and lovable, but at age 3 he is learning to test boundaries, and fight for his way. Sometimes he gets mad at me and I hate it. Sometimes I get mad at him and I hate it. I hate being upset with my son and all I want him to know is how much I love him. Why is my Dad So Mad by Seth Kastle illustrated by Karissa Gonzalez-Othon understands the deepness of a parent’s love for his or her children.
In the story, the Father lion is a war veteran suffering from PTSD. The father often gets mad at his cubs for things like being loud, whining, and fighting. The dad, in turn, seeks to explain his anger and how it connects to the war overseas. The Father explains how he changed since his return to the states; and how it affects him. Despite these challenges, the father wants his son to understand how much he loves his son.
This story is for children that have unique issues with veteran parents who are suffering from PTSD. This story gives a clear understanding of how PTSD presents challenges for families. It is written like a love letter from a father to his children. As you read it, the emotion is palatable. You feel the pain of the cub’s discouragement and the father lion’s frustration. The story helps the youngest reader understand the idea of rage by comparing it to fire. It is clear how rage can consume anything, but like a fire it can calmly die down. The honesty and vulnerability of the father lion deserves respect. There is no such thing as a sitcom, perfect parent. Trauma, no matter how it presents itself in the family, affects children. What is to be appreciated is how honest the writer is in illustrating this trauma. The audience is left with a simple truth. That no matter what happens, this father will always love his children.
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