June 25th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When I’m bent, at least half the time the problem lies with me. Sure, something real initiates the bending: some slight, a misunderstanding, plans gone awry. And because it’s real, I’ll tell myself that it’s their fault. Yeah, them. If they didn’t do this or that … My wife. My kids. Those people … yeah, them over there. If they understood … or if they would just listen. If people would cooperate and get with my program … you know, my idea of what my life ought to be then I wouldn’t be so bent. You know what? I take that back. It’s not “half the time” it’s most of the time. My problem.
Those real things cut something deep inside. A deep disappointment held, taut in fragile skin. Like a balloon filled, stretched thin with black paint. One little something and the spilling out. The bleed of black that darkens the eyes until hope that is already a distant blur shaken by the heat rising from the blacktop of reality vanishes on the horizon. That something inside is inside me.
A few posts back I suggested you as a father need to say to your kids, “I’m sorry.” Tell them you were wrong. Admit your mistakes. If you do this each time you become aware of your fault, then you’ll likely do it often. Good. Now, you can do more. Look inside. When you say “sorry” for raising your voice, you can tell them that often you raise your voice because of other things going on in your life. You can tell them that you misunderstood because you can’t stand to be wrong. Tell them your fears. Share with them your weaknesses.
By saying “sorry” you will strip your mistakes of the power to harm your kids. By availing to them your frailty, you will become a safe place for them – someone to whom they get to extend forgiveness, with whom they get to empathize. And if they can do that … if my kids can see me as no different than themselves, then when I get over … each time I get over my problem, I can inspire them. “Hell, if Dad can laugh with all his problems then so can I.”