Ask any parent and they'll tell you that at one point within the last week or two they've felt like a failure. Well, Sunday was the day for me. We woke up Sunday morning, and decided to ditch church. This happens on occasion, usually to do family activities, but this time, we had no agenda. (mistake number 1). We decided to go out for a walk, then on to the mall for some school shopping. (mistake numbers 2, & 3). Laura couldn't find the proper shoes for trail walking, & The Somerset Collection always makes me crabby. (I may tackle this in another post). When we got back, Laura & I did some housework, while the kids played with their friends inside, and out.
I should note that having the neighborhood over to play usually ends up with the Laura & I cleaning the shambles that our house becomes. To nip this in the bud, we decided to force the children to go outside and play. While discussing this preemptive action with the wife, it was at this time that I realized that we were both snippy, and probably should have taken naps. On, we trotted.
Fast-forward. The neighborhood kids have left, we are getting in the van to go to a group meeting, and there is stuff all over the yard, my truck, and the driveway. I don't like stuff strewn about the yard, especially while we're gone. I manage to bite the heads off all three kids to pick up their stuff, all within a couple of minutes. It struck me as a pretty-shitty-thing-to-do when I watched my once, chipper daughter, mope her way back to the van after reluctantly walking in the house to put away a water bottle. I had broken her spirit.
Laura has brought to my attention that this is one thing she wants to avoid: breaking their spirits. I agree with her. It's a line that's difficult to see while you're trying to shoehorn your children into being “responsible”. Once you cross it though, you see that joy escape from their eyes. Seeing that rips a hole in my heart.
I am realizing these last few months that, with regard to parent/child relationships, no amount of apologizing can take away the damage that's been done. You might be forgiven, but the only way to escape damaging your children, is to avoid the damage in the first place. It's in this, that I realize I am unable to do this on my own. The only way I can parent properly is to have God by my side.
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