I'd be curious which books you're using. Not all of them are actually good. Also, not every book is appropriate for everyone.
You didn't specify your age, so I'll assume you're well under 18. I started learning when I was about 8.
When I was a kid, I took advantage of lots of resources when learning to program. I had the manuals that came with my TI 99/4A, which contained lots of fun programs to draw images and animate figures. The internet wasn't available to me, but there were even computer magazines that targeted kids, with programs that I could type in and get immediate feedback on, and articles about how to solve other kinds of challenges. I was very fond of a spy novel series that let me type in and debug programs that were included as part of the story. Unfortunately, I don't think that this kind of resource is still around, but there are a few programming books that target younger people, like the Hello World book on Python, and Land of Lisp (though that's fun for adults too).
I don't know about you, but there was a time when I got quite a kick out of writing programs that do things very similar to what you just described. Eventually I moved on to more advanced things. I wrote a few mediocre games, some demos that played various sounds and animations in reaction to keystrokes, and some study aids. When I was around 10 or 11 I wrote a program that helped me memorize the periodic table of the elements by repeatedly quizzing me. (At the time, my memorization skills were better than they are now, so I got almost as much out of typing in the data the first time as I did playing the quiz, but the point was to make progress).
Your father may not realize it, but books are only part of the process when you're learning to program. Finding a little problem and trying to figure out how to solve it is the other half of the equation. Finding a book that teaches you a little bit at a time and lets you get something fun to happen on the machine is the other half. In my case, books that emphasized graphics and animation were the ones that won me over.
As a kid, my eyes glazed over when I read books about sorting algorithms and complex data structures, until I had learned enough to see how they applied to problems I actually cared about. Not every word in the books you'll read will be riveting. That's ok. You'll get to that stuff when you need it; some problem you'll want to solve will remind you of that technique you didn't think was interesting three weeks, three months or three years ago and you'll go back and review it and figure it out.
A month is not a very long time to learn programming. I've been writing code in one form or another for about 30 years, including during childhood, and I still learn something new every day. I'm pretty sure in the first month that I had my first computer, I spent a lot of time playing Munch Man and a much smaller number of hours trying to make sense of the sample programs in my reference book. Learn at the pace that works for you. There's no pressure right now, and that's great.
"Screwing around" is what you're supposed to do when you're first learning to program. Hackers (the Paul Graham kind) poke around, trying to understand how their system works, how their programming language works, how their tools work. You try something, you fail, you reason through the problem you're facing, and you try something else, until you get something working. Don't worry about it so much.
Unless your father's working through the same books, he probably doesn't understand how much you've learned so far. I wouldn't expect to be able to design a house or a skyscraper after reading a book on architecture for a month, especially as a teenager.
To put things into perspective, over the last four weeks or so I've been working in some esoteric corners of the Ruby on Rails framework's Engines feature. As of today, I finally have something to show for it from the user's point of view. I learned a ton in that time and developed a lot of critical foundational code that works pretty well, but is my professional equivalent of allowing users to type in some stuff and get something else back out: not that impressive at first glance to a casual user, but a whole lot of work went into it. If someone told me I'd been screwing around for four weeks, I'd be pretty disappointed, but I'd also know they have only the slightest understanding of what went into making things so "simple."